Safer Internet Day 2014 offers advice

Singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor and schoolchildren from St George's Hanover Square in London launch online safety sessions
Singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor and schoolchildren from St George's Hanover Square in London launch online safety sessions

Parents are being invited to join in this year’s Safer Internet Day (SID).

SID 2014, which takes place today [February 11] throughout the UK is a celebration of e-safety organised by Insafe and UKSIC.

It aims to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology, and this year the focus is on parents as well as teachers and young people around the world.

Ahead of a visit to promote SID 2014 to two Belfast schools - Saint Ita’s Primary School and Welllington College in Belfast - Junior Minister Jennifer McCann said: “I appreciate the challenges facing many parents. You want your children to learn the digital skills which are essential in everyday life but you do not wish to expose them to the potential dangers of the online world.

“The internet is a fantastic educational resource, however, it can also subject children to inappropriate or harmful material. Children can also through their behaviour inadvertently put themselves at risk.

“It is understandable if parents feel confused and daunted about how to protect their children from online risks. As technology becomes more sophisticated, the need to ensure appropriate e-safety messages get through to the right people becomes ever more pressing. All of us have a responsibility to protect our children and young people online. Today is a timely reminder for all of us that there is simply no room for complacency.”

Junior Minister Jonathan Bell added: “The theme for this year’s Safer Internet Day ‘Let’s create a better internet together’ offers the opportunity for everyone to focus on both the creative things children and young people are doing online, as well as the role that we all can play in helping to create a better internet. This involves not just children and young people but also parents, carers, educators, social care workers as well as industry, decision makers and politicians.

“Last year the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland commissioned a survey of all final year primary school children. And the results give us a very clear picture of how much a part the internet plays in their lives.

“I believe in Northern Ireland we can all work together to increase child internet safety. We can do this through the measures that we take within government, within our schools and within the home. We must all be alert to the dangers that exist online and be ready to take an active interest in protecting our children.”

Will Gardner, Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre said: “Everyone has responsibility to make internet safety a priority. Young people are increasingly becoming digital creators and we must equip them with the skills to continue to create and innovate by working together to make the internet a great and safe place.”

“This Safer Internet Day is the biggest one yet - the fantastic range of supporters really reflects how widespread and important this issue is, and we are delighted to see such collaborations where schools, civil society, public and private sectors are all championing the same cause.”

Safer Internet Day TV is being broadcast live from Belfast.

The show will contain practical information and advice on being safe online and using the internet to inspire learning and creativity.

SID TV will be broadcast live online at from 12 noon today offering eight hours of programming for children, young people, parents, carers and teachers.