Internet Safety Week – Just whose responsibility is it?
So Internet Safety Week is upon us again. This wonderful, powerful, eye opening and educational resource comes at a price – as we know too well. So how can we reach a happy medium and enjoy this vehicle and all its merits without fear for the safety of our children?
The key – everyone needs to play their part in making the internet safer.
The Minister for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Matt Hancock, stated that the government was ‘working on making the UK the safest place in the world to go online’. If this is the case, some serious action needs to be taken, in conjunction with Social Media Platforms. The NSPCC has proposed that children who are at risk of online grooming should be sent automatic alerts. Using algorithms could be the key to flagging up those children at risk before they are contacted, by sending an alert to both the child and to moderators. The Government have to act to put practises such as this in place. In April, the new offence of ‘sexual communication with a child’ was introduced – until this point police were unable to do anything until a groomer had made an attempt at a face to face meeting with a child. Social Media Platforms Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are the most commonly used sites by offenders: they have an enormous responsibility, and it is vital that they work with the Government.
Many feel they are not investing and doing enough.
As well as educating their children, parents must also educate themselves to play their part in keeping the internet safe. Familiarise yourself with all the platforms your child is using, and look and set the privacy settings together. If you are unsure of what you are doing, get online and search for help, go on a course. Many schools now provide parents with information also. The best thing parents can do is be involved with your children’s online activity – talk about it openly, set clear rules and make sure you model the behaviour you’d like your children to follow.
If children want to, and are at an age where they can, access the internet with that comes responsibility. They need to accept that they have to learn the rules, and adopt strategies to stay safe, be kind to others and block any unwanted attention.
Schools now accept they have a responsibility to teach and equip children for the media age we live in, and they do take it seriously. Get involved and embrace your schools resources for teaching about safer internet usage. Many will be celebrating and highlighting Safer Internet Week. Online safety must be integral to our children’s learning in the 21st century.