The Safer internet day 2021 is focused on how to create an internet we trust. And it is all about exploring reliability in the online world. The internet is a powerful platform that provides information and connects billions of people globally. With this comes the responsibility for everyone, including parents and caregivers to raise successful digital citizens.
According to Google, approximately 346 million people came online for the first time in the last 12 months, and 376 million people have used social media for the first time during the same period.
Your children will invariably have various interests online. This could be video games, unboxing videos or trying out science experiments and much more. It is important they recognise that not everything they see or hear online will be true.
Parenting Tips on how to create an internet we trust
Become Digital Detectives
For younger children talk about it together and keep it simple. Start talking to them about being “digital detectives”. Therefore, let them know that the internet has a lot of information but it is important to note that not everything they see online is true or accurate. Some things might be a joke, an opinion, a mistake, or deliberately untrue.Remind your child that not everything they read online is true. Click To Tweet
Compare with trusted sources
It is important that your child knows that information online can be put there by anyone! They can compare the trustworthiness of content by checking out at least two other websites, to compare the information. Start by sharing websites that you know and trust, and those that have information specifically created for children.
Remember that not everything online is always what it seems. Information, photos and even videos can be edited, faked or may have more than one motive; such as trying to get you to spend money or share your personal information.
Being able to identify what it trustworthy is a critical part of creating an internet we trust.
Stay safe online
There are some simple actions we can take to help keep everyone safe online. This includes not sharing personal information. Remember that other people online may not always be who they appear to be, so be sure to check with an adult if you are ever unsure about what to share or who you are chatting to online.
Beware of strangers
There is a huge range of sites and services that allow communication between users. A good example of this is when it comes to playing online games. Explain to your child that it is safest only to talk to people online that you already know, like your family and close friends. Explore the apps that your children want to use and look for the safety/privacy settings available – they may include features that allow you to control who your child can interact with.
Remember, friends made online are still strangers and so all personal information must be kept safe. Overall, creating an internet we trust includes being aware of who we interact with online.
Reach out for help
Let your child know that the best way to address any problem they have online, is to tell a trusted adult immediately.
Let them know that the internet should be a safe place and if they ever feel unsure of something they see online, or if someone makes them feel uncomfortable, they can always speak to you about it.
Be a Responsible Digital Citizen
Remember that the online world is for everyone so always treat others with respect. If you see anything online that worries or upsets you, use the block and report buttons to take positive action to stop it and tell an adult what’s happened.
In addition, all social media apps and platforms should offer guidance on how to report situations. By working together, we can make the internet a place we trust and make it a better, more respectful and more trustworthy place.
Fact or opinion?
Always check whether there could be another side to the story…
Take the time to examine the information you see online and compare it to what you already know about that topic. Do you know enough to decide whether to trust it? If not, then do a little more research to find out more. Think about what the information is telling you and look for facts or quotes to support the argument. Is an opinion being presented as a fact?
Be aware that a lot of what we see online is other people’s opinions and that there could be another side of the argument. Remember that opinions you see online are just that, you do not have to follow them and your opinion is just as important.
If a celebrity is promoting a product it is likely that they are being paid to do so. Understanding the motive behind the things you see online can really help you to decide what to trust.
Look at the way the information or products are presented. Are you being sold something? Is someone trying to change your mind? Reviews can be useful but they cannot always be trusted.
Discuss your Online Behaviour with others
It can be hard to know what to do about false or misleading content online, but if you see something misleading, upsetting or worrying online then speak up and discuss it. The reality is that the more we speak out, the more we the internet we can trust becomes more achievable.
This is an issue that affects everyone – talking it through with someone who supports you can help you feel less alone. If something been presented in a way to deliberately create hatred and anger or is upsetting or worrying; it is important to speak out.
These are just some of the things to look out for and talking them through can help.
For more on how to stay safe while online visit the resources safety.google here
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