Safer Internet Day 2024: the importance of online safety

This year, Microsoft and the National Republican Guard (GNR) have again partnered up to celebrate Safer Internet Day and to increase awareness about the importance of online safety.  This year was more special, as Microsoft and Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR) are marking ten years of partnership working together to promote a safer internet. 

Date 2024-04-16 Author Portuguese Safer Internet Centre Topic media literacy/education Audience media specialist, organisations and industry
Crowd of people in a room conference

This year’s Safer Internet Day theme is using new technologies like artificial intelligence and best practices for safer internet use.  

On Wednesday, 7 February 2024, a group of entities joined to celebrate Safer Internet Day. Cascais Shopping and NOS Cinemas were our hosts, providing a cinema room for 500 children between 8 and 10 years old and 100 elders brought by Câmara de Cascais. McDonald’s offered some snacks to young and older participants, and Microsoft and GNR delivered a session to raise awareness about online safety. 

In this session, we tried to explain basic concepts, such as privacy, digital identity, the potential, and precautions to take when using artificial intelligence tools. We tried to explain these concepts in a fun and pedagogical way and with language adapted to the participants' ages.  We used examples from everyday life, whether games or social media. We also shared security best practices everybody should use when accessing internet, like passwords, updates, or anti-virus. 

According to the Online Safety Survey 2024, an annual study conducted by Microsoft on 16,000 parents, teens, and other adults throughout 17 countries, the numbers are impressive: 67 per cent of respondents experienced at least one risk in the last year, with females reporting more of the various types of risk, especially in terms of sexual content, where the difference is 6 per cent compared to males (25 per cent vs 19 per cent).  

  • 66 per cent of teenagers reported at least one addictive behaviour in the past year. 
  • The distrust in the use of the internet increased by 3 per cent compared to 2023 and currently stands at 45 per cent.  
  • 87 per cent of respondents express apprehensions regarding the ethical use of artificial intelligence, especially when it comes to frauds or deep fakes. The main risks identified are misinformation (50 per cent); personal risks (44 per cent), such as hate speech, cyberbullying, harassment, abuse and threats of violence and violent content (34 per cent), such as graphic violence, terrorist, and extremist content. 

In the following months, volunteers from Microsoft and GNR officials will offer awareness sessions in schools for children, parents, and teachers, as well as educational materials and resources. Microsoft is committed to not only creating tools that are safe and inclusive by design but also raising awareness for online safety and making the internet a better and safer place for everyone. 

Find out more about Safer Internet Day in Portugal or learn more about the work of the Portuguese Safer Internet Centre more generally.

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