Blog - 02 February 2023
Safer Internet Day (7 February) is a global event that brings together communities, families, schools and organisations from more than 200 countries to help create safer online spaces.
This worldwide initiative is celebrating 20 years in 2023, making it a great time to reflect on how far we have come, as well as look forward. This year’s key message for Safer Internet Day by the Australian Government and eSafety Commissioner is Connect. Reflect. Protect.
Here are top 3 tips to creating a safer online experience for your children, whether at home or school.
CONNECT with care – and carefully. Whether children are connecting with their peers through a social platform or an online network, you as a parent (or an educator) should teach them that the online space is not an outlet for negativity. This includes bullying, stalking, leaving hate messages and any other misconduct that they should not provoke or engage in.
It should be used with love, care and kindness to develop healthy relationships and create an environment where everyone feels safe to share and interact. An important tip for children using mobile devices is to keep their apps secure with protected access (PIN, passwords), and for parents to set up a ‘child-lock’ to ensure they are not getting access (or exposed) to inappropriate ads or apps.
REFLECT before you act. Children tend to react to digital content instantly, and quite bluntly sometimes. Whether it was intentional or not, comments and messages left online for someone can be misunderstood by the receiving end, and even hurtful with lasting scars – or cause trauma. Something to consider for parents (and educators) is to teach your children the ‘power of words’ and how they can affect others. It can even save lives in some instances.
Research has shown that when a group of cyber bullies were asked to read their own comments they had posted online, it was aimed to be a ‘shock treatment’ for them to realise how their ‘words’ would have affected others. A tip is to understand why your children are feeling negative towards something or someone, and what you could do to help them ‘resolve’ this feeling.
PROTECT your children by taking caution and action. The best way to protect your children online is to understand prevention. Sure, you can protect them to some degree by taking them off social platforms altogether, but that might be difficult in this digital-heavy world. The first step is to educate children about protecting themselves and reaching out to family and school if they are experiencing difficult situations that are impacting their life in a negative way.
At Camp Australia, we support Safer Internet Day. The world is more connected than ever before, making online safety awareness even more important. That's why our 2023 message is encouraging everyone to Connect. Reflect. Protect. Talk to your family and school community by asking what they could do to reduce the risks of harm online and make online safety awareness important.