Families all around the UK will be encouraged to discover the digital world together today, as activities get underway to mark Safer Internet Day, 2012. It's the 9th edition of the annual global event and this year's theme – Connecting Generations – highlights the benefits of sharing internet safety know-how at home.
In the UK new research reveals children appreciate their parents' guidance in how to navigate the online world. Despite their reputation as clued-up Digital Natives, three quarters of 9-16 year olds (73%) feel they benefit from talking to their parents about their internet use 1. Contrary to popular perceptions that parents are the in dark, two-thirds (68%) of children say their parents always know what they are doing online.
Parents who talk to their children about the internet help to protect against potential online risks, according to the research. It reveals that an 'open dialogue and active mediation 2' can reduce children's exposure to safety risks without reducing online opportunities. The benefits of active discussion include: lower risk, lower harm, access to more online activities and access to a greater level of skills.
And according to new BBC research 3 launched to mark Safer Internet Day, this is a two-way street. Two thirds of young people (67%) help their parents or carers use the internet, including one in six (17%) who help with safety features like privacy settings and one fifth (21%) who help parents/carers set security settings to protect against viruses and spyware on the family computer.
To help families test out their internet safety know-how together, the UK Safer Internet Centre, which is responsible for co-ordinating Safer Internet Day activities in the UK, has launched a free, online quiz: the Internet Safety IQ Test.
The quiz covers safety issues related to social networks, online entertainment, internet-gaming and mobiles – and awards users with an Internet Safety IQ score. It also provides top tips on how to discover the digital world safely, from how to secure privacy settings, to how to enjoy film and music from safe, official websites.
The UK Safer Internet Centre website also offers five conversation starters to help parents and children discuss online behaviour together. Plus, a 12-hour radio broadcast will be hosted on the site throughout Safer Internet Day to help listeners share their inspiring stories and words of advice around popular online safety issues.
Will Gardner, Chief Spokesperson for the UK Safer Internet Centre, said:
"We know from our work in schools that some parents are unsure of how to initiate and approach conversations with their children about what they are doing online, but Safer Internet Day aims to help make that easier. We really hope today is the day families and generations truly connect, and enjoy open dialogues about safe internet use."
Children's Minister Tim Loughton said:
"Safer Internet Day is a great opportunity to remind children and parents about the help and support on offer to keep children safe online. The internet is a brilliant education tool but technology is constantly changing so there is an ongoing need to inform parents and children about the potential risks in the online world.
"The Department, together with Childnet and industry experts, is hosting an event today with 80 children, parents, carers and grandparents to talk about child internet safety. Children and young people will hear from real experts and we in turn will hear the opinions and experiences of children and parents first hand. Internet safety is a shared responsibility and it is important to empower parents and all generations in a family to talk to children about staying safe online."
Richard Allan, Facebook Director of Policy for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said:
"Conversations between the generations are one of the most important ways for people to stay safe online. Children benefit from the wisdom of parents and grandparents in understanding how to deal with people, while young people can really help older members of their families to adapt to new technology. Creating a safe environment requires everyone who's online or on Facebook – young and old – to get involved—whether by reporting abusive behaviour or making sure your account and passwords are secure."
Speaking in reference to the BBC's partnership with the Safer Internet Centre this year, Saul Nassé, Controller of BBC Learning said:
"The BBC's Share Take Care campaign is part of BBC Learning's commitment to media literacy. This partnership with The UK Safer Internet Centre is about helping everybody, from the CBeebies audience to the over 55s, giving them skills and knowledge to make their online activity safer and protect their reputation on the web."
Hundreds of high-profile partners are supporting Safer Internet Day, 2012 with free events, resources and programmes on offer both on and offline. Partners include the BBC; CEOP, Facebook; Google; Microsoft; Race Online 2012; the Industry Trust, BPI and many others. A full list of partners and what they are doing to support Safer Internet Day is available on the Safer Internet Centre website.
Many of the partners will be participating in an innovative parliamentary event on Safer Internet Day, which will gather together groups of young people, parents, grandparents and carers to share their experiences, needs and safety concerns with MPs and representatives from the internet industry. Discussion from the event will inform the development of future advice and support for parents.
For media enquiries please contact Laura Hegarty or Nicola Forysth at Blue Rubicon on 020 7260 2700 or
Martha Lane Fox, UK Digital Champion said:
"Last year Race Online 2012 launched a massive local volunteer 'digital champion' network aimed at giving offline people the essential advice, support and assistance they need to get started with the web. Safer Internet Day's theme of connecting generations and encouraging users to discover the digital world together compliments our agenda and provides a fantastic focal point for anyone to become a 'digital champion' and share online safety tips as they help others to get online for the first time."
Richard Allan, Facebook Director of Policy for Europe, Middle East and Africa:
"Many people at Facebook work hard to make our service one of the safest places on the internet. As well as having links on nearly every page of the site to report content or to block others, Facebook also provides simple and powerful tools to help people control how much information they share. Facebook's social reporting system also offers people the chance to share their concern with a parent or other trusted adult. We believe it's only by working together, and supporting initiatives like Safer Internet Day which encourage this sort of collaborative approach, that we can educate young people to make smart decisions online."
Liz Bales, Director General of the Industry Trust for IP Awareness:
"Our own research suggests that many parents are concerned about the safety and security risks associated with accessing illegal file-sharing and streaming websites, which can range from computer viruses to identify theft. We're delighted to be supporting Safer Internet Day by raising greater awareness of the host of official websites where parents and children can access film, TV and music safely and legally."
Adam Liversage, Director of Communications at the BPI:
"We know that many parents feel their children know more than they do when it comes to their internet activities. The Internet Safety IQ Test is a great tool for helping families to put their digital know-how to the test. It includes helpful tips on social networking and internet gaming as well as how to enjoy music legally online, directing parents to resources to find helpful, relevant information on these subject areas."
Safer Internet Day (SID) is organised in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre/ Insafe in February of each year to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially among children and young people across the world. Safer Internet Day 2012 – the ninth edition of the event – will take place on Tuesday 7 February 2012, centered on the theme 'Connecting generations and educating each other', where we encourage users young and old to 'discover the digital world together ... safely!'.
The 32 national centres in the Insafe network (the 27 EU member states, plus Iceland, Norway and Russia) and partners in more than 35 other countries will bring children, young people and adults together in local, regional, national and online events all around the world to reflect on the issue. Join us in celebrating Safer Internet Day by visiting our dedicated website at www.saferinternetday.org, by registering online or by contacting your national Safer Internet Day committee.
The UK Safer Internet Centre is a partnership of three leading charitable organisations, Childnet International, the South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) and the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). Collectively, these organisations have operated for 38 years in online safety; all working to make the internet a better environment, mirroring the conclusions of Professor Tanya Byron in her report to UK Government, by reducing availability (of illegal content), restricting access (where appropriate) and increasing resilience (through education, awareness and empowerment). All partners recognise the unparalleled opportunities the internet offers and actively encourage its positive use for social, leisure, economic and educational advancement. The partners all work towards the Childnet target; to make the Internet a great and safe place for children.
The BBC's Share Take Care campaign is part of its commitment to media literacy and online safety for young people. Working in partnership with The UK Safer Internet Centre to support Safer Internet Day, (Tuesday 7th February), the BBC's campaign aims to raise awareness of the issues around safeguarding reputation online. It is designed to alert parents and young people to the risks of over-sharing information, photographs and video material online.
Empowering young people and parents with the skills and knowledge to take control and make informed choices about their online activity and potential consequences, the campaign will also encourage parents to foster a dialogue with their child and agree together how to use the technology safely and responsibly.
Representing the film, TV, video and music industries, Industry Trust and BPI have supported Safer Internet Centre's activities this year by co-funding the educational and interactive internet safety IQ quiz. This activity builds on previous partnerships with Childnet International, as part of their ongoing commitment to promoting good digital citizenship.
1 EU Kids Online Project, Sonia Livingstone, first conducted in 2010 with new data for Safer Internet Day, February 2012
2 'Active mediation' coves the following: parents talk to their child about the internet, stay nearby or sit with them while they go online, encourage them to explore the internet and share online activities with them.
3 A specially commissioned online survey for BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 5 live prepared for the BBC by ICM. Survey sample 1,000 13-19 year olds. Survey carried out January 2012.