Tuesday 6th February 2024 marks Safer Internet Day: an initiative coordinated by the UK Safer Internet Centre (UKSIC) to raise awareness and share key learnings surrounding internet safety.
“Through Nominet’s support, we have once again been able to bring together thousands of organisations to register their support for this iconic day and raise awareness of how to keep children and young people safe online.”
– UK Safer Internet Centre (UKSIC)
At Nominet, we’ve been funding the UKSIC’s important work since 2021, and will continue to 2025 as we want the internet to be a safe, inclusive and positive space for everyone – especially for children and young people. As a long-standing supporter and majority funder, we believe Safer Internet Day presents a fantastic opportunity to educate people far and wide about how to stay safe online.
This year’s theme, created in consultation with young people across the UK, is ‘Inspiring change: Making a difference, managing influence and navigating change online’. The day will cover:
- Young people’s perspectives on new and emerging technology
- Using the internet to drive positive change
- The changes young people want to see online
- Factors that can influence the way young people think, feel and act online (and offline)
We spoke with some of our Social Impact partners to find out how their vital work is helping to make the internet more secure and inclusive for young people – and how they’re celebrating this year.
Navigating an ever-changing digital landscape
As this year’s Safer Internet Day is about navigating change online, Internet Matters will be amplifying its Tech & Kids series, which explores children’s relationships with the ever-changing digital landscape.
The charity has created infographics based on key insights from the series, covering topics such as Artificial Intelligence and Wearable Technology, which will be shared on its social platforms.
“Over the last year, we’ve also been incredibly proud to partner with Nominet to develop innovative solutions to stem the spread of ‘self-generated’ child sexual abuse material online. We couldn’t be more grateful to lead this work with Nominet’s support, and look forward to sharing our findings shortly, in Spring 2024.”
– Internet Matters
Making young people’s online worlds safer
The Lucy Faithfull Foundation has a long history of working to deter online child sexual abuse, with an ongoing campaign that has been running for nearly a decade.
Project Intercept takes the insights from this campaign and brings it to the tech world, to encourage organisations to collaborate with the charity and develop the gold standard of warning messages for all kinds of online spaces: from social media to gaming, file sharing and beyond.
“We are changing the culture of internet warning messages, to make it accepted practice so that anyone searching for illegal content of children is met with the same blanket response: this is illegal, harmful, and there are serious consequences; but you can find help to stop through our Stop It Now helpline.”
– Lucy Faithfull Foundation
The project is an incredible example of working in innovative ways within the tech sector to make young people’s online worlds safer.
Exploring and combatting financial harms
Listening to young people is central to Parent Zone’s mission to improve outcomes for children online. In 2023, Parent Zone conducted a national survey and focus groups with 13-18 year-olds, during research into how they really spend and lose money online. The resulting report will help guide a consortium, supported by Nominet, in exploring the various financial harms impacting children and young people.
Parent Zone also consulted young people last year in developing educational materials for virtual reality and cyber security. Its sister organisation and youth platform, VoiceBox, helped ensure that resources chimed with young people’s experiences and needs. VoiceBox have also explored the impact of chatbots, in new research into the risks posed by generative AI.
“Young people help us co-design new resources that will help build everyone’s media literacy and ability to talk around their digital lives. For example, materials to assist those with speech, language and communication needs. In continuing to communicate, collaborate and co-design with us, young people can inspire us all to make positive changes to the online world.”
– Parent Zone
Inspiring digital futures with micro:bits
The Micro:bit Educational Foundation develops hardware and software for young people, including the BBC micro:bit device, allowing students to get hands-on with coding. For example, the secure messaging project allows micro:bit users to send coded radio messages from one micro:bit to another, using simple programming to learn about encryption.
In addition, the charity creates free, user-friendly educational resources to support teaching and learning. The ‘Introduction to cyber security’ unit of work contains three lessons aimed at Year 7 students, enabling them to learn more about the importance of cyber security. The lessons also provide pupils with the opportunity to write algorithms and programs to create their own ‘strong password generator’ using micro:bits.
Making a difference and navigating change online
At Nominet, we’re delighted to be taking part in Safer Internet Day 2024 in collaboration with our charity partners – raising awareness about some of the top ways to stay safe online.
From research into young people’s spending habits online, to warning messages preventing child sexual abuse material and cyber security awareness lessons in secondary schools, there’s so much hard work and progress to celebrate. However, there’s also plenty more we can do to make the internet a safer place for us all – especially for children and young people.
There are so many ways you can take part, whether it’s watching the official Safer Internet Day films, downloading the education packs, taking part in the quizzes or getting involved on social media.
To find out more, visit Safer Internet Day 2024 (UKSIC website).