Today, Tuesday 11 February, is Safer Internet Day, and the theme this year is #freetobe, which is exploring whether young people feel free to be themselves online.
We’ve all had access to the internet for over 25 years now, and it has created many incredible opportunities for everyone. However, having access to speak to almost anyone in the world has created problems, and cyber-bullying is on the rise.
Many young people feel intimidated online by others, and don’t feel free to express themselves, so Safer Internet Day hopes to help change this, by inspiring people to speak freely online about their views without feeling scared of bullying.
Everyone has their part to play in making the internet a better place, including you. These are five tips, from the UK Safer Internet Centre, which can help you to get started being safer and positive online:
- Be free to embrace difference: broaden your feeds by making sure you follow a range of people who inspire, excite or interest you.
- Be free to care: reach out to people or groups who are being targeted online. A small step or action can make a huge difference to someone who has been targeted.
- Be free to express yourself: the internet is a place where you can express your ideas, thoughts and feelings. This is what makes the internet great.
- Be free to ask for help: it can sometimes be hard to ask for help especially if you don’t know what to say, or what might happen next. Find someone that you trust and go to them if something happens online that makes you feel confused or worried.
- Be free to explore and investigate: the internet is a place with so many different types of content. You can use it to find information on almost any topic that you are interested in! Whilst it’s great that there’s so much information, not all of it is trustworthy or helpful so use your critical thinking skills and talk to those around you to figure out what is reliable. Fake news is everywhere now, so be careful of what you read and make sure it’s from a reliable source.