Staying safe online

Young people’s offline & online worlds intertwine in almost every aspect of their day to day lives. They share huge chunks of their lives online through social media. it helps form their identity, it plays a huge role in their social interactions and it influences their educational outcomes for good and for bad. 

Its hard to keep track of the numerous apps and platforms that young people use to share photos or update followers on their latest news.  But this week, to mark Safer Internet Day, Spunout have launched an Online Safety Hub that has put easy to read information about staying safe on different apps, all in one place.

February 10th was Safer Internet Day – but really it is an issue that raises it’s head frequently through they year. Sometimes, because cyberbullying develops into something tragic and makes the national news, maybe because a celebrity or politician has been trolled on twitter, or because a photo or video has gone viral that has a major negative impact on someone’s life. When this happens parents freak out about what their teenager is up to online.

Safer Internet Day 2015 – I Like It [Official Music Video] from PDST Technology in Education on Vimeo.

A future blog post will discuss some of the issues around young people’s use of social media, but for now, this post is to flag up the availability of online support.

At the launch of the hub there was some interesting speeches from young people like Youtuber Melanie Murphy and young people involved with Spunout. They were keen to point out the usefulness in having all of the safety information in one place, rather than having to hunt for the information on each app.

Along with the SpunOut Hub, a number of other organisations had resource available, either in the run up to Safer Internet Day, or launched on the day.

The SpunOut Hub can be found at http://spunout.ie/onlinesafety

Webwise, an Irish organisation that is really useful when seeking online safety information and help, launched resources to mark Safer Internet Day. They can be found at http://www.webwise.ie/teachers/celebrate-safer-internet-day-2015/, and have a number of ‘explainers’ or guides to different apps. Included on their site is a nice downloadable primary school cyberbullying pack called MySelfie

WebWeWant is a European initiative http://www.webwewant.eu/web/guest

Ask.Fm have launched their own safety centre to beef up their own safety features.

The Net Children Go Mobile 2015 report was released this week too, detailing how children and young people used and accessed the internet in Ireland and across Europe. The Irish report can be found here. A useful summary can be found on the webwise site.

Googling Safer Internet Day will bring up sites from around the world, including UK, America and Australia, where you can find resources and information

The internet is a sometimes wonderful and sometimes scary place. It’s easier than we would like it to be to find trouble. Its great to see organisations taking online safety seriously, but all the tools in the world won’t matter if behaviour and attitudes don’t change. We need to take a look at digital literacy and digital citizenship and decide what kind of place we want it to be.

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