Safer Internet Day 2024 – with the theme of “Inspiring Change? Making a difference, managing influence and navigating change online.” Have you heard of Safer Internet Day? I had the pleasure of being involved in the Safer Internet Day celebrations run by IT for Education Services company EduThing Ltd and its sister company Mint Education.
What is Safer Internet Day
Safer Internet Day is the UK’s biggest celebration of online safety. Each year they cover an online issue or theme that speaks to the things young people are seeing and experiencing online. The theme is created in consultation with young people across the UK, this year’s theme covers:
- Young people’s perspective on new and emerging technology
- Using the internet to make change for the better
- The changes young people want to see online
- The things that can influence and change the way young people think, feel and act online and offline
In a consulting capacity, I worked with eduthing to create and craft an event that started in January, to prepare and support teachers, to deliver a success SID2024 that would be remembered by pupils and would also increase parental understanding and engagement around #onlinesafety matters.
The result was an #eduSafe2024 South conference in Walton Upon Thames, Surrey and the following week a #eduSafe2024 North conference in Wakefield, Yorkshire.
Working with the staff at EduThing, we reached out to a rich tapestry of organisations and speakers to provide invaluable information to teachers around ideas, strategies and resources. Here are my highlights from this two location, two day event:
Childnet – Will Gardner and Phoebe Moriarty
The events were opened by speakers from national charity Childnet. Their mission is to work with others to help make the internet a great and safe place for children“. A few takeaways from their session that stayed with me are:
- Youth Voice is very important in understanding online safety issues. Ask students what they like doing online, listen ad have an open dialogue
- The Digiduck series to support reading about online safety matters. The series is also available in multiple languages.
- Top tips if you want to know what young people think and do online
- Sending out surveys that can be filled in anonymously
- Setup a digital leaders programme (staff and students)
- Embed online safety conversations in lesson starters
- Actively have online safety lessons and activities built into the school calendar
- Make a change!
The Childnet website has lots of resources to support
Some of you may recognise Sue Atkins from a range of TV programmes. Sue supported on the parenting angle. This is usually an area that many schools struggle with as parents can be quite “hard to reach” regarding #onlinesafety awareness. A few tips from Sue are below.
- Put tech into what you are already doing
- Have parent tech ambassadors
- Encourage #families #parents and #children to commit to digital detoxes
- Give parents tech talks in different languages
- Have a standing blog entry in your school newsletter around online safety
- Add a tech element to school Christmas and summer fairs – such as face painting with a tech focus
These are just a few of the tips shared on the day. They are much needed, as highlighted in figures shared by Childnet, just 37% of parents had heard of Safer Internet Day. To aid in raising awareness – Eduthing are also running a FREE #onlinesafety webinar with Sue on the evening on #SID2024 to support with awareness and engagement. Sign up here!
Creating an impactful Safer Internet Day Celebration – Beverly Clarke
Next up was my session where, I took teachers on a dive into interacting with the theme of safer internet day as shown below.
*examples of new and emerging technology are Artificial Intelligence, additive manufacturing, self-driving technology etc
I encourage you as you are reading this article to do the same and answer each question from your viewpoint. Then conduct the same activity with colleagues, family members and friends. It will make for increased awareness of the issues related to online safety.
I also encourage you to consider what you do on the day of Safer Internet Day and what will be embedded within your school/organisation to ensure that this is not a one day event but a year long talking point
Artificial Intelligence and the web
Edtech Specialist Naomi Gale who works at eduThing, held our attention as she took us on a journey of Artificial Intelligence, Bias and Influence – alongside asking us to consider online safety. My key takeaways were around “representational harms”.
Consider the effect that stereotyping and negative portrayal is having on genders, ethnicities, socio economic groups and more.
We can all do a bit more to question what we see online. Legislation needs to be in place, and my call to action for you is to call out any representational harms that you see online. This will help to make the Internet a safer place.
I was also impressed with the section on generative AI video generators and the ease with which a fake video could be created. Naomi demonstrated HeyGen – AI Video Generator and showed herself speaking in English and then HeyGen took over and she was speaking Spanish. All AI generated. Consider how would you know the difference between real and fake?
Gain a Mark to show you are a supporter
For schools ad academies seeking to make that change and to ensure that #onlinesafety is embedded, there was a presentation from South West Grid for Learning, presented by Ron Richards showing schools the steps and actions they need to take to achieve an Online Safety Mark.
This Safer Internet Day, I am encouraging you to share the message further (perhaps by sharing this article or messages from any of the other organisations/speakers in this article) and to help make the internet a positive space and place for everyone.
Want to work with me?
Reach out today to discuss how we can work together!