The internet has been a boon and a curse for teenagers.
– J. K. Rowling
The Internet has been an amazing invention that has undoubtedly change the world in more ways than we can think of. Not all of those ways, unfortunately, have been positive. We can connect to people faster, find things easier, and transfer information at the speed of light. These very boons of communication can become the bane of safety. So much of our private lives and information get transferred over the internet, Safer Internet Day reminds us to protect ourselves from the dangers there and make the internet a little safer for everyone.
History of Safer Internet Day
Safer Internet Day came to exist officially in 2012, when the US Department of Homeland Security and the European Commission decided it was time to help shepherd the growing beast that was the Internet into a playground that was safer for our youth. In America things got really going in 2013 when ConnectSafely.org was appointed to coordinate the efforts in the American theater, and they’ve been driving it forward a little more every year. Each year they choose a theme to help promote, and a goal that they intend to reach. What kinds of goals?
In 2015 they began to promote that year’s theme “Actions & Activism Toward a Better Net & World”, where they focused on concerns like bullying and integration with the National Parent Teacher Association, and working to use technology to help effect social change. This is a particularly powerful use of the tool, given that people from every walk of life and culture from around the world can connect and communicate in ways they never could before. That’s what the Internet was for, what it brought to us, and the world it helped bring together.
How to celebrate Safer Internet Day
The first thing you can do to Celebrate Safer Internet Day is work towards expanding your own online safety portfolio. Know what to do if you see cases of cyberbullying, and how to connect and communicate with people all over the world in areas of shared interest. Make sure your identity is solidly protected, and that the people who are in your life are protected as well. Even better, take a stop by connectsafely.org and check out the newest apps for protecting yourself and your children, and follow up on the breaking news about internet security.