Safer Internet Day, an awareness day run by the UK Safer Internet Centre, is a great opportunity to explore what you like to do online and think about ways to stay safe.
This year, the theme of Safer Internet Day, held on the 8th of February, is ‘All fun and games? Exploring respect and relationships online’.
During the pandemic, online gaming saw a huge increase. According to the latest research from OFCOM, seven out of ten 5-15-year-olds played games online during 2020. Gaming continues to be a hugely popular way for young people to connect with friends and it also provides opportunities to learn new skills. But there can be risks involved.
While gaming and the internet play an important part in our lives and have been a vital lifeline during the pandemic, many young people have had a negative experience online.
This Safer Internet Day we want to highlight the tools which can help keep you safe when you are using the internet or gaming.
Games are a great way to make friends online, but it’s important to think about how much you’re sharing about yourself.
If you’re playing with people online, you could be playing with people much younger or older than you. Don’t share personal details, like your address, phone number, where you go to school or your full name. Make sure you pick a username that doesn’t include any of these details either.
Remember you can report and mute anyone who is being unkind or threatening towards you.
It’s important to check your privacy settings. These can affect who can see if you’re online, who you can play with and whether people can see what games you’re playing.
When you are online avoid uploading or sharing anything you wouldn’t want your parents, carers, teachers, or future employers seeing. Once you post something, you lose control of it, especially if someone else screenshots or shares it.
The NSPCC is supporting Safer Internet Day by challenging families to get together for a games night. Whether it’s Fortnite or FIFA that you love, why not take part in the quiz with your family and show off all your knowledge! You never know, you might even be able to tempt them to join you for a game? The NSPCC’s Safer Internet Day blog and activity sheet has more information on how to take part in a games night with your family.
Childline has lots of support and advice on how to navigate the online world and there is some helpful advice on what to watch out for when talking to people online.
The NSPCC is calling on the Government to make their Online Safety Bill stronger, and stop social media failing young people. Social media providers have consistently failed to proactively tackle grooming or take down inappropriate content, so we’re asking people to join over 30,000 campaigners and sign our letter to Nadine Dorries, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, at https://www.nspcc.org.uk/WildWestWeb.