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Educators, businesses and parents are being encouraged to help make the internet a safer place as part of Safer Internet Day 2016.
The annual events promotes safe and responsible use of online technology and offers tips and advice to parents, educators and businesses as part of an ongoing commitment to improving online safety.
The day of action follows the release of a new study commissioned by the UK Safer Internet Centre which reveals that more than 80 per cent of young people have seen or heard online abuse in the past year. The study highlights that more needs to be done to protect vulnerable young people from hate speech and abuse online.
Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre and chief executive of Childnet, Will Gardner, said: “The volume and range of support we’ve seen for this year’s Safer Internet Day is truly inspiring. With activities taking place right across the UK and young people coming together to share their perspectives and ideas, Safer Internet Day is an opportunity for us all to stand together and show what kind of internet we want - where kindness is the norm and everyone is treated with respect.
“While it is encouraging to see that almost all young people believe no one should be targeted with online hate, and heartening to hear about the ways young people are using technology to take positive action online to empower each other and spread kindness, we were surprised and concerned to see that so many had been exposed to online hate in the last year.
“It is a wake-up call for all of us to play our part in helping create a better internet for all, to ensure that everyone can benefit from the opportunities that technology provides for building mutual respect and dialogue, facilitating rights, and empowering everyone to be able to express themselves and be themselves online – whoever they are.”
Internet service provider Yahoo have worked with the UK Safer Internet Centre to produce a series of age specific information packs to help engage and empower children, their parents and teachers to help make the internet a safer place. They include activities and resources to help teach children how keep themselves safe online.
Safer Internet Day is celebrated globally and uses the slogan ‘Play your part for a better internet’. This year the event is being supported by more than 1,000 organisations across the UK, including: the BBC, BT, Disney, Facebook, Google, Instagram, the NSPCC, Instagram, as well as schools and the UK Government.
Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, Nicky Morgan, said: “As a parent I understand the real importance of internet safety in protecting our children. The internet is a powerful tool which can have brilliant and virtually limitless benefits, but it must be used sensibly and safely.
“We are working hard to make the web a safer place for children but we can’t do it alone and parents have a vital role to play in educating young people. Events like Safer Internet Day will help to highlight what actions parents and children can take so children are able to safely enjoy all that new technologies have to offer.”
Minister for Internet Safety and Security at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Baroness Shields, commented: “There is one internet for everyone, whatever their age, and that means we need to ensure the rights and needs of children are protected so that they can explore, create and dream without fear. Safer Internet Day is about everyone doing their part to empower children and give them the skills to interact safely and responsibly and get the most out of the connected world.”
The UK Safer Internet Centre is a partnership of charities: Childnet, the South West Grid for Learning and the Internet Watch Foundation.
For more information on the day and the access the education packs, visit: www.saferinternet.org.uk.