Today is Safer Internet Day, a mark on the calendar to help remind and educate people about the need for young and vulnerable people to surf the web with vigilance and safety in order to make the most of their experience.
Government ministers have even gone as far as to say that mobile phones should be banned from schools; children are becoming more and more versed in technology but this comes with it’s added risks – cyber bullying and online vulnerability are on the rise. The point behind Safer Internet Day is to encourage a wider national conversation about these issues to ensure that children are protected when using the world wide web which would hopefully encourage more people into technology and computing related careers as they choose their paths.
UK Safer Internet Centre
The UK Safer Internet Centre are a partnership of three organisations; Childnet International, Internet Watch Foundation and SWGfL with one mission according to them:
“To promote the safe and responsible use of technology for young people.”
The partnership, appointed by the European Commission as the Safer Internet Centre for the UK in 2011 is one of 31 centres as part of a wider “Insafe” network. They have three main functions:
- Awareness Centre: to provide advice and support to children and young people, parents and carers, schools and the children’s workforce and to coordinate Safer Internet Day across UK
- Helpline: to provide support to professionals working with children and young people with online safety issues
- Hotline: an anonymous and safe place to report and remove child sexual abuse imagery and videos, wherever they are found in the world.
Their key objectives is to make the internet a safer place for children and to ensure that there is a core platform to share and distribute resources to people; children and adults alike, to learn and benefit from a wider knowledge. The hope is that this will not only keep children safe online but also enhance their browsing experience and prevent a negative developing view of the online landscape.
Google’s Be Internet Legends
“Helping children be safe and confident explorers of the online world”
As a technology giant, Google have been pressured to help ensure that children have a safer online experience and as a result have developed their “Internet Legends Code” with advice for children to follow in order to remain safe online. The code states:
- Be Internet Sharp – Think Before You Share
- Be Internet Alert – Check if it’s for real
- Be Internet Secure – Protect your stuff
- Be Internet Kind – Respect each other
- Be Internet Brave – when in doubt, discuss
This code of ethics is setup to prepare kids for using the internet in a safe, responsible manner whilst also building up a resilience against potential fake news, scamming and false information; among other safety tips. It also encourage children to seek help and speak up if something online is bothering them, no matter what it is.
Google have also put together lesson plan documents to help teachers explain and work through this information in the classroom, with interactive learning objectives to help kids understand the information in a school setting with their classmates.
Finally, Google have created a cool interactive game for kids called “Interland” which allows children to become “Internet Legends” – they are tasked to navigate an online adventure which teaches them through the use of challenging, fun games to enhance the experience and make it much more memorable than it would be with just text and guides.
UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS)
“The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) was a group of more than 200 organisations drawn from across government, industry, law, academia and charity sectors that work in partnership to help keep children safe online.”
The Education for a Connected World Framework sets out the digital skills and information that children should be learning and have opportunities to develop these skills throughout different stages of their life. This is the government’s initiative and shows that there is definite parliamentary structures in place to safeguard the future of children using the internet.
What this means for future of children and internet/STEM
One of the benefits that is seemingly overlooked around Safer Internet Day is that of encouraging a positive use of the internet which will in turn promote a general happy feeling around using the internet and technology in Children. This will, eventually, begin to stop any negative feelings in children around using the internet and technology; ensuring that more children will begin to move into STEM and other computing or internet related careers. It is obvious that bad experiences will cause people to avoid certain careers so safeguarding the future technology use by children will lead to better, stronger talent eventually flowing into those careers.
Over at Kaleida we want to help encourage and grow the next generation of software development talent. We take great pride in developing bespoke software for businesses in and around Manchester and this isn’t possible without having exceptional people on board. If you think this might be of interest to you and is something you want to be a part of, please get in touch today.