By Rachel Ogbu
On Tuesday, Safer Internet Day 2015 was celebrated (10th February).
This year’s celebration being the 12th annual celebration was tagged with the slogan ‘Let’s create a better internet together.’
The UK Safer Internet Centre organised the celebration which saw more than 800 organisations involved in the UK and over a hundred countries participate to help promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.
According to a survey commissioned by the UK Safer Internet Centre to mark the day, 63% of 11-16 year olds say they are closer to their friends because of the internet, and 55% see kind, positive and supportive posts all or most of the time on social networks and messaging apps however, the report also notes that 13% of 11-16 year-olds feel that people post negative, mean, critical or upsetting things all or most of the time on these services, while one in 20 said they feel that people are mean to them “most of the time” online.
In South Africa, The Gauteng Department of Education, Department of Communications and Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services partnered with Digital You, Childline SA, Google, Media Monitoring Africa, SaveTNet and UNISA Youth Research Unit hosted an event which coincided with the launch of the Film and Publication Board’s Back-2-School campaign. “We have the power to create positive content, while influencing society and the organisations that create these remarkable platforms we use,” said SaveTNet’s Rianette Leibowitz.
The day offers the opportunity to highlight positive uses of technology and to explore the role we all play in helping to create a better and safer online community. It calls upon young people, parents, carers, teachers, social workers, law enforcement, companies, policymakers, and wider, to join together in helping to create a better internet. Ultimately, a better internet is up to us!