On Tuesday, February 9th Ireland will join more than 100 other countries in celebrating Safer Internet Day 2016 to promote a better internet. This will be the thirteenth year of the event and this year’s call to action is, ‘Play your part for a better internet’.
Safer Internet Day is an EU initiative. It is promoted in Ireland by the Webwise internet safety initiative of the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) and aims to educate and raise awareness about protecting children online, so that they can responsibly enjoy the benefits of the internet, without compromising their safety and privacy.
Building on the success of last year’s Safer Internet Day #Up2Us campaign, which saw 216 schools across Ireland initiate their own anti-cyber bullying campaigns, a key component again this year will be to encourage more students to start their own youth led Safer Internet Day actions.
Over 50,000 young people have signed up to participate in one of the hundreds of events being organised across Ireland by Safer Internet Day Youth Ambassadors. Specific details of the events being organised locally can be found atwww.saferinternetday.ie/events. Celebrating Safer Internet Day in schools provides the ideal opportunity for schools to meet some of the requirements laid down by the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools in September 2013.
More and more schools are finding themselves having to deal with the fallout of sexting exchanges amongst students. To support schools dealing with this complex issue a new resource will also be launched on Safer Internet Day. Lockers is an information and education resource for schools that assists them in coping with and preventing incidents involving the sharing of explicit self-generated images of minors. It was produced by the Webwise internet safety initiative of the Professional Development Service for Teachers, in collaboration with the Special Education Support Service, the Inspectorate in the Department of Education and Skills, the HSE Crisis Pregnancy Programme, Pauline Walley SC, Brian Hallissey BL, and An Garda Siochána. Schools can order hard copies of the resource at www.webwise.ie .
Additional campaign elements of this year’s Safer Internet Day 2016 public awareness campaign include:
- To launch Safer Internet Day 2016, Webwise is hosting a symposium on Sexting and the Consequences for Schools for school leaders in the Royal Irish Academy on Monday, February 8th. The purpose of the symposium is to support schools dealing with the complex issues around explicit self-generated images of minors. There will be inputs from curriculum, policy, legal, and law enforcement experts.
- The #Up2Us Photo Competition encourages young people to use the internet to share positive content. To be in with a chance of winning a GoPro camera young people should share a photo to #UP2US on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram that shows what they are doing for Safer Internet Day. More information is available at:www.saferinternetday.ie/competitions/
- Saferinternetday.ie has a list of events and suggested classroom-based activities for marking Safer Internet Day.
- Webwise.ie educates and promotes dialogue between children, teachers and parents on safe and appropriate use of the Internet and new media, to ensure that they are aware of the benefits of the Internet as well as its risk. The website contain a range of internet safety information, advice and tools.
For further information, check out www.saferinternetday.ie