Today is officially ‘Safer Internet Day 2023’, and the UK Safer Internet Centre has organised a series of celebrations. They have also encouraged thousands of organisations to “promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.” Here we look at their efforts and outline some steps you can take to stay safe online.
UK Safer Internet Centre (UKSIC)
UKSIC was established in 2011 as a global partnership designed to help make the internet a safe place for everyone. They pride themselves on offering support to children, young people, and professionals working with children. They also provide services for adults who are “facing online harms”, and act as a bridge between Government, industry, law enforcement and society. Three charities form UKSIC: Childnet, the Internet Watch Foundation and SWGfL.
- Childnet: Launched in 1995, Childnet is a UK-based charity whose mission is to make the internet a safe place for children and young people
- Internet Watch Foundation (IWF): For over 25 years, the IWF has worked diligently to protect children and child victims of sexual abuse. Their mission is to hunt down and remove any online records of the abuse, thus making the internet a safer place for everyone
- SWGfL: This not-for-profit charity is dedicated to empowering the safe and secure use of technology. Their experts advise schools, public bodies and industry on appropriate actions to take to safeguard positive online safety policies
These charities work together to identify threats and harms online. They then deliver advice, resources, education and interventions. The work they carry out is based around four functions: An awareness centre, three helplines, a hotline and ‘A voice to young people’. This latter function is a Youth Advisory Board which nurtures youth participation.
This year, UKSIC is celebrating Safer Internet Day by putting children and young people’s voices first. They are encouraging them to shape the online safety support that they receive. They are also asking parents, carers, teachers, government, policymakers and more to really listen to children and young people and make positive change together.
UKSIC, Working to combat online issues
The issues faced by UKSIC are vast and include:
- Coerced online child sexual abuse
- Online Bullying
- Online Challenges
- Parental controls
- Social Media
These issues are very serious and UKSIC have produced a number of guides and resources to help tackle them. This year’s Safer Internet Day theme for them is “Want to talk about it? Making space for conversations about life online”. You can find out more about this on their website and also register your support for this very worthy cause. The day is not just one celebrated in the UK, however. Campaigns have a truly global reach and no matter where you are based, you can get involved by visiting https://www.saferinternetday.org/. For now though, we will round this article off with some general tips on how we can all take steps to stay safe online.
Stay safe online
Whether or not you will be supporting Safer Internet Day 2023, you will undoubtedly have an interest in enjoying the safest online experiences. Therefore, our cyber security experts have compiled a basic list of things to do:
- Always use strong and separate passwords for email and other accounts
- Make sure you are using the latest software and app versions
- Regularly update your software and apps (updates contain important security aspects)
- Consider using 2 Factor Authentication / Multi-Factor Authentication (2FA / MFA)
- Back up your data to an external hard drive or cloud-based storage system
So there you have it, another February 7th, another Safer Internet Day. A day where you should definitely reconsider your own security efforts. In fact, perhaps this is the day where you start to really take online security seriously. That is not an indictment against any person or any specific attitude. Instead, it is a simple suggestion, but one which we believe is worth considering!