Safer Internet Day – Cath Goulding

9th February 2016

It’s Safer Internet Day today. At Nominet we’ve been doing our bit to help everyone stay safe online, keeping parents informed about the risks, and how to beat them.

As the internet evolves, it becomes increasingly difficult for parents to keep up with the latest risks. As many as 59% of kids have used a social networking site by the age of ten, many of which aren’t even supposed to be available to them given their age limits on users. For most, it’s not a problem, but parents have a right to be concerned, especially when less than a third of parents feel ‘very confident’ about helping their kids to stay safe online.

Parents can be equally guilty though when it comes to accidental oversharing. On average 973 photos are posted online by a child’s fifth birthday, equating to an average of 195 photos shared by parents every year. This figure rises as children get older, with parents of those under the age of 16 sharing on average 208 images of their children online a year.

Many parents are in the dark about who has the rights to images being posted online, in fact, the terms and conditions of many social media sites, including Facebook and Instagram, state they have the right to use uploaded images to promote their services without explicitly asking the permission of the person that uploaded the photo.

Privacy settings on social media networks on computers or tablets aren’t just a ‘fix and forget’ issue. Sometimes they can change from the default. Make sure you’re only sharing images with the right people and avoid oversharing. It’s worth checking them regularly to make sure they’re protecting your youngsters as they should.

Our personal data is precious. Many people aren’t aware that by using your Facebook credentials to access another website or to download a simple game like ‘your most frequently used words’, you are essentially letting that website access all of the data you have stored on there.

Events like Safer Internet Day are a great way to raise awareness, and help us all to get the most out of the internet, safely and with confidence. But it only works if we all talk about it and get involved, both online, and at home.