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Safer Internet Day helps parents discuss online dangers with children

Article By: Julia Corbett, News Editor

Safer Internet Day is being marked today to raise awareness about the potential dangers the internet poses for children.

Parents are being encouraged to have more open and confident conversations with children about their online activity and find positive ways to spend time using the internet together.

A number of organisations have published guides to mark the day, including the UK Safer Internet Centre which has produced a series of conversation starters to help parents and carers ensure children are having good experiences online.

Will Gardner, director of the UK Safer Internet Centre, said:

“Everyone has a responsibility to make internet safety a priority.

Young people are increasingly becoming digital creators and we must equip them with the skills to continue to create and innovate by working together to make the internet a great and safe place.”

“This Safer Internet Day is the biggest one yet - the fantastic range of supporters really reflects how widespread and important this issue is, and we are delighted to see such collaborations where schools, civil society, public and private sectors are all championing the same cause.”

This year marks the 11th annual Safer Internet Day and has the theme ‘Let’s create a better internet together’ with the aim to empower users to make the most of the positive opportunities the internet has to offer.

Prime Minister David Cameron has shown his support for the day and said:

“I’m delighted to support Safer Internet Day and the work of the UK Safer Internet Centre. As a father of young children, I know how much parents worry about what their kids can see online. Under this Government, we have seen progress, with the introduction of family friendly filters and Google and Microsoft clamping down on child abuse images online. There is nothing more important than protecting our children; Government, industry, charity and parents all have a part to play.”

Olympic gymnast and Dancing on Ice star Beth Tweddle also pledged her support for this year’s Safer Internet Day.

She said: “It’s really important young people feel safe and empowered online and know how to report anything that upsets them or to tell an adult. It’s also vital that parents feel confident enough to discuss online safety with their children. It’s why I’m supporting the day to help raise awareness of what to do and all the help that’s available.”

The day has been marked by events in over 100 different countries including America for the first time since the awareness day began.

One event, run by the vice-president of the European Commission and safer internet network INSAFE, will see the launch of a Youth Manifesto which has been created using ideas from children on how to improve the internet.

Vice-president of the European Commission, Neelie Kroes, said: “This initiative is exciting – it’s young people speaking up directly about what they want from the most important infrastructure in our world today, the internet.

"I see children and young people doing amazing things with digital tools. We need to encourage that, help them to be safe, and give them ways to create a better internet themselves – and to stand up against cyber-bullies.”

The UK Safer Internet Centre is running a live TV show all day offering advice from experts such as Facebook and Twitter about internet safety issues including cyberbullying, parental controls, reporting and privacy.

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