This year's theme for Safer Internet Day is 'Be the change: unite for a safer internet.'
- There are real advantages in maintaining an open dialogue with your child about their internet use, encourage them to talk to you about their time online; for example who they're talking to, what services they are using, and any issues they may be experiencing.
- Create a family agreement to establish young children's boundaries, and your expectations, when on the internet. Give your child strategies to deal with any online content that they are not comfortable with - such as turning off the screen, telling an adult they trust and using online reporting facilities.
- Consider using filtering software to block unwanted content. In addition to filtering, remember that discussion with your child, and involvement with their internet use, are both effective ways to educate them about the internet.
- Encourage your child to 'think before you post'. Online actions can impact not only yourself but the lives of others. Content posted privately can be publicly shared by others, and may remain online forever.
- Understand the law. Some online behaviour may break the law. for example when downloading or sharing content with others. Be able to recommend legal services.
- If your child is being bullied online, save all available evidence and know where to report the incident, for example to the school, service provider, or the police if the law has been broken.
- Familarise yourself with the age ratings for games and apps which can help to indicate the level and suitability of the content. Also see if online reviews are available from other parents as these may be helpful.
- Encourage your children to protect their personal information, and create strong passwords for every account.
S - safe: remember not to give personal information away online. Only use nicknames or usernames, never your full name.
M - Meet: remember never to meet up with people that you meet online. They are strangers!
A - Accepting: Be careful when accepting files from stangers; they may contain viruses or things that may make us feel uncomfortable
R - Reliable: remember not everything that you read online is reliable or trustworthy. You should always check different websites to
make sure that what you are reading is correct.
T - Tell: remember to always tell an adult if anything worries or upsets you online.
If you remind your friends and family about these SMART rules, that could be your good digital deed for the day. The internet would be a better place if everybody felt safe using it.