Get involved in Safer Internet Day 2017

02 Jan 2017 BY Will Gardner, OBE

4 mins
Respect for IP
Respect for IP

In the article below, Will Gardner, CEO of Childnet and a director of the UK Safer Internet Centre, explains how educators can get involved in Safer Internet Day.

On Tuesday 7 February 2017, millions across the UK and globally will be celebrating Safer Internet Day, the theme of which this year is: Be the change: Unite for a better internet

Celebrated globally and coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre, the campaign sees hundreds of schools and organisations join together to raise awareness of online safety issues and run events and activities right across the UK. As a result of this collective action, Safer Internet Day 2016 reached 2.8 million UK children and 2.5 million UK parents. This year's Safer Internet Day is a fantastic opportunity for everyone to think about what they can do to 'Be the change' and make the internet a better place.

The Power of Image

For Safer Internet Day, we want to empower young people to use the internet safely, positively and responsibly, and this year the UK Safer Internet Centre will be particularly focusing on the power of image in digital youth culture today.

Over the last few years we have seen the growth in popularity of apps like Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube. The rise in image and video sharing has magnified some of the pressures and risks that young people face online, even as they also offer fun new opportunities for self-expression and creativity.

Empowering young people

For children aged 4-11 years, educators can use Safer Internet Day to teach them how be careful not to share any personal information online and to think critically about the information they see online, as well as encouraging them to speak to a parent or other trusted adult if anything worries them. It's also important to note that many social networks have a minimum age requirement of 13.

For 11-18 year olds, the discussion can become more nuanced, and educators can address issues such as respecting one's self and others online, cyberbullying, looking after your online reputation, and thinking critically about the content you see online.

How we post and respond to images and videos on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other social networking sites plays a key part in all this. To inspire schools to support Safer Internet Day 2017 we have developed education packs and films tailored for those aged 5-7, 7-11, 11-14, 14-18 and for parents/carers. These are available in English and Welsh and include a range of activities to explore the role of images and videos in young peoples lives. 

We will also be launching new research on Safer Internet Day that will explore the role of images and videos in young people's lives, alongside a photography exhibition of images created by young people exploring these themes. In January, schools across the UK will be invited to join this national photography project, so watch this space!

Exploring the power of image through film 

One way to explore the power of image is through film. Watching, discussing and critically analysing a film is an excellent gateway to reflect upon the power of images, both positive and negative. Into Film has guides to many films, including The Social NetworkInRealLife and, for younger children, Harriet The Spy or The Thief Lord, which can be used to start a broader discussion about the potential pitfalls of sharing information online and communicating with people we don't know.

Get involved and 'Be the change' 

For more resources, ideas and tips visit: You can also tweet @UK_SIC using the hashtag #SID2017

If you're running an activity for Safer Internet Day, remember to share what you're doing by joining the Safer Internet Day supporters list

Together we can 'be the change' and help make the internet a better place! 

Will Gardner, CEO of Childnet International

Will Gardner, OBE, CEO of Childnet International

Will is Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre and the CEO of Childnet, a children's charity working with others to help make the internet a great and safe place for children.

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