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Safer Internet Day: What It’s About and How to Get Involved

Ray Walsh

Ray Walsh

January 30, 2017

Safer Internet Day is organized by The UK’s Safer Internet Centre. It raises awareness of online safety issues like cyberbullying and social networking. The event aims to safeguard the internet for children and young adults, who can be vulnerable online. Here at BestVPN.com we are highly supportive of this event. We understand the plight of adults when it comes to protecting their offspring online.

safer internet dayWe know just how important digital privacy is for everyone, including young people. That’s why we so vehemently support the use of VPNs. These days, the internet can be a dangerous place. Hackers are everywhere, always waiting to pounce on any unencrypted data. With that in mind (and with so many young adults using portable connected devices), using a VPN to remain safe while using public WiFi should be a priority.

Even at home, where your internet connection is private, social media and online exposure can result in unwanted people accessing your family’s data. An IP address can give cybercriminals access to information about your location. With so many nutters around these days, a VPN is perfect for keeping your location under wraps.

Parental Filters

It is not possible to stand over your child 24/7. Thankfully, parental locks and filters can do a lot of the work that guardians would do themselves, by restricting which sites children are able to access. For this reason, it is important that guardians take the time to set effective parental filters. That will keep material that isn’t suitable for children well out of reach.

parental fliters

Software Updates and Passwords

These days, the Internet of Things (IoT) encompasses a huge number of connected devices for children and adolescents. Those devices often ship with weak default passwords. Thus it is the parent or guardian’s responsibility to update those passwords so that they are secure.

Strong passwords are a good start, but with connected products it is likely that manufacturers will sometimes issue vital security patches for vulnerabilities. Internet security is a fluid, ongoing process. As such, it is important that people download and install all updates. For that reason, guardians should keep a watchful eye over children’s devices, looking to see that any warnings about updates (that a child might ignore) are dealt with in a timely manner.

supervision

Supervision

While you should definitely take advantage of filters, supervision is also essential. This is especially so for children using laptops or computers. Children will (understandably) want to play games on sites like Miniclip. However, game sites can have adverts and popups that lead to spyware.

Hackers know that kids have a tendency to quickly click accept in their innocent desire to play a game. Sometimes, therefore, they clone game website pages and hide malware and spyware on them. This means that although adults may take great care not to click on spam, phishing emails, and other dodgy links, a child could very quickly undo all of those security practices.

online games dangers

If you do let a child run riot on your machine for hours at a time, there may come a time when you end up with ransomware or your credit card details stolen. Remember, it is not a child who will hand over the credit card details! If a child falls for a bad link and accidentally downloads unwanted malware, that malevolent software will sit dormant on your machine until a time when you make a purchase, stealing your credentials then.

Education Packs

For anybody interested in keeping the internet safe for children, an education pack is available from the UK Safer Internet Centre website. This is what the site says about the pack:

“To help schools, youth groups, police services, libraries and wider run activities for Safer Internet Day on 7 Feb 2017, we have created Education Packs and complementary SID TV films tailored for 5-7s, 7-11s, 11-14s, 14-18s and parents and carers. Available in English and Welsh these free packs include lesson plans, posters, presentations, activities and more!”

The pack is great. If you would like your child’s school to be involved (either this year or next), it might be worth talking to the headmaster about the event and the availability of the packs.

safer internet day 1

Social Media Campaign

To get involved more directly, people can spread news about Safer Internet Day on social media. The hashtag for the event is #SID2017. This is what the website says people should do:

“In January you will be able to join the Safer Internet Day Thunderclap to kick start a day of trending and everyone is encouraged to share positive messages to show their support for Safer Internet Day and to help inspire a better internet.

“This year we want you to give the internet a smile through our #giveasmile campaign. You can post a smiley selfie or fill in our specially designed emoji. Find out more about how to get involved.”

Emoji Charades

Finally, the team at saferinternet.org has devised a wonderful game of emoji charades, to involve children and young people in the day in an active manner. The game involves sharing internet safety tips using only emojis. Here is how the website describes the game, and when you should get involved:

emoji charades

“Emoji charades will take place on Safer Internet Day – 7th February 2016. We will be sharing our internet safety tips on social media and asking you to guess. And then we want you to send us your own too! So get them ready for 7th February and let’s make the internet a better place through the power of emojis!”

We really liked the website’s suggested emoji tips. Can you guess what they mean?

emoji charades guess

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