Today is Safer Internet Day 2021, when millions of people around the world will join forces to help promote responsible and respectful use of digital technology, with the aim of creating a better internet for everybody.
Established in 2004, Safer Internet Day is organised by the Insafe/INHOPE network of European Safer Internet Centres with the support of the European Commission, and is supported by Ofcom. This year’s theme is ‘An Internet We Trust’.
Digital technology gives us a world of possibilities at our fingertips, with opportunities to learn, exchange, participate and create. In 2021, this has been truer than ever - over the past year digital communications have proven vital for our societies to keep functioning in the face of a global health crisis.
However, greater internet use also means greater exposure to online risks, especially for young people. Since the beginning of the pandemic, concerns have grown about issues such as cybercrime, privacy, misinformation and disinformation, hate speech, cyberbullying, exposure to harmful content and predatory behaviours.
As internet users, we are all faced with the same dilemma: how do we make the most of the opportunities provided by the digital world, while at the same time avoiding any potential negative side-effects?
Having grown in scope over the years, Safer Internet Day is now celebrated by children, young people, parents and carers, teachers, educators and social workers, industry, decision makers and politicians from over 170 countries.
As well as supporting Safer Internet Day, we have a range of tools and resources available to help parents and children cut through the some of the confusion and navigate news and information about Covid-19.
Lockdown has meant that our children are learning, exploring and communicating online more than ever. But while the internet can broaden their horizons, there are risks too - including whether the information they come across can be trusted.
As we gear up to take on new responsibilities to regulate harmful content online, working collaboratively with other expert organisations is crucial to our approach. We are proud to support Safer Internet Day and the invaluable practical resources it provides to help ensure that children are savvy and safe online.
Yih-Choung Teh, Ofcom’s Group Director of Strategy and Research