Make the most of SID 2019 for your children/pupils!

Safer Internet Day (SID) is drawing closer, and people in more than 140 countries around the world are planning their activities in preparation for the big day (Tuesday, 5 February 2019). The campaign's slogan, "Together for a better internet", is a call to action for all stakeholders to join together and play their part in creating a better internet for everyone. Parents, carers, teachers and educators have a key role in this regard, as they are responsible for educating children and young people to the potential and risks of the digital world. 

Better Internet for Kids (BIK) and the Insafe network of Safer Internet Centres (SICs) have developed a significant amount of resources for adults interacting with children, both at home and at school, with the aim of enabling them to make informed decisions regarding their children's (or pupils) use of digital devices, and to organise fun and educational activities to teach them how to best use the Web 2.0. 

Manage your child's screen time

One of the main concerns of adults regarding children's use of online devices is the risks of overuse and the consequences associated with that, such as speech delays in toddlers, poor quality of sleep, and higher incidences of depression (especially for teenagers, who use social media more consistently). However, there is an ongoing debate about whether using digital devices is as bad as it is made out to be, and new research suggests that it is not so much the length, but the quality of the screen time that matters.

In any case, having an open discussion with children about their screen time is essential. You can find more information on how to deal with screen time for young children here and for teenagers here.

Device overuse is one concern particularly associated with gaming; the issues are addressed in this resource from the Norwegian SIC called "Do you talk with your children about video games?".

Teach your child good cyber hygiene habits

Just like the real world, it is adults' responsibility to pave the way and teach young users the do's and don'ts of the online world. Reckless online behaviour exposes children and young people to an array of risks that make the headlines far too often. But risks should never discourage anyone from benefiting from the digital revolution!

That is why teaching children the basic principles of cyber hygiene is an essential step to guarantee a positive online experience for them. Cyber hygiene consists of "the practices and precautions users take with the aim of keeping sensitive data organized, safe, and secure from theft and outside attacks ". Have a look at the European Cyber Security Month (ECSM) cyber hygiene resources and organise a fun game session with the CyberReadyGame designed by the European Commission! We also recommend this Educators Pack for Online Safety Awareness from the UK SIC, designed for teachers and educators, but also for parents and carers.

Protect your child's online wellbeing

Children and young people's emotional health and wellbeing matters, especially online. Have a look at our "Insafe Insights", a series of reports drawing on the experience and expertise of the Insafe network of SICs, on three topical issues affecting young users' online wellbeing: sexting, cyberbullying and inappropriate content.

If you want to organise activities on the risks associated with sexting, follow "Picture This", an educational sexting resource developed by the UK SIC, addressing the issue of sending sexually explicit messages or photos online, for teenagers. To gain a better understanding of why and how intimate pictures can end up being shared without consent, have a look at the Danish SIC's booklet "When sharing is not caring". Understanding consent online is also very important to ensure your children or pupils have a safe and respectful use of digital media. For SID 2019, the UK SIC has developed a set of educational resources on online consent for different age groups, including specific materials for teachers, and for parents.

On the issue of cyberbullying, read our focus article on the issue in a past edition of the BIK bulletin. While you are at it, subscribe to the BIK bulletin to stay up-to-date with the new trends and relevant topical issues in the online safety landscape. Finally, to talk about online respect with a younger audience (3-6), you may also want to consider reading the "Bibi story book" written by the Luxembourgish SIC.

Make the internet a place of opportunities for young users

The internet presents some risks for children, but it is also full opportunities: when used safely and constructively, it can be a real tool for empowerment. Digital skills are essential for all children, and will keep on becoming more and more so. Teachers, in order to implement digital education sessions in your classrooms, we suggest you refer to this very comprehensive guide "Education for a Connected World" for four age groups: young children to 7; 7-11; 11-14; and 14-18.
For children and young people to make the most of the opportunities offered by the online world, they need to develop a critical mind set and strong media literacy skills. The serious game "Info Hunter", by the French SIC, is a great way to teach young users how to think critically, to analyse information and to identify hoaxes and fake news. Two age groups are targeted: 9-12 and 12-15.

If you want to give children and young people the tools to own their online presence, why not dive deeper into the technicalities of the digital world, with some very fun tutorials on algorithms? These can be used in the classroom or at home. If having access to laptops at school is a challenge, consider a good old board game such as "Tubes", created by the Luxembourgish SIC to give children an understanding of the internet as a physical infrastructure.

Talk about us on social media

Last but not least, join the online conversation surrounding SID on Twitter by using the hashtags #SaferInternetDay and #SID2019 to unlock the exclusive SID emoji (available soon)! Share with us and with your community your perspective on a better and safer internet, how you plan on getting involved for SID 2019, or simply show some love!

You can also add a badge to your social media profiles using Twibbon to show your community that you are part of the better internet movement and watch a video message about the SID 2019 global rally for everyone to work "Together for a better internet". Feel free to share it with your friends, colleagues and family online!
Finally, why not update your cover photo or use our visuals, or use the infographic to spark discussion and debate in the classroom or at home on the role your children can take in creating a better internet.

Find out what others are doing in your country and join in!

SID is a truly global event. It is celebrated in more than 140 countries by millions of children, teenagers, parents, teachers, educators, social workers, policymakers and industry, all united to make the internet a better place where everyone is empowered to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively. See what is happening in your country and register your own support on the SID website.

Please note that we have only been able to feature a small selection of resources available in English here. Check out the SID resource gallery for a wide range of resources in many different European languages!

Show your support for SID and join "Together for a better internet" on Tuesday, 5 February 2019.

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  • Awareness
  • 18/12/2018
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