To mark Safer Internet Day 2023, Highland Council is providing individuals with advice and resources to equip them with essential knowledge to navigate the online world safely.
Safer Internet Day is a global campaign which calls upon people to join together to make the internet a safer and better place for all, especially for children and young people.
Executive Chief Officer for Education and Learning, Nicky Grant said:
“The internet is a powerful tool for learning, personal and group expression, and social interaction.
“However, as with all powerful tools, children and young people must be taught to appreciate its impact, how to use the tool safely, and to appreciate the level of responsibility that we all share when we are engaging online.
“It is understandable with the fast-changing nature of the digital and social media landscape, that parents and carers may feel overwhelmed when trying to keep up to date with new features and platforms.
“Confident internet users with a sound knowledge of safeguarding measures and practices, may be unfamiliar with language and popular culture terms driven by a younger generation.
“Therefore, to mark Safer Internet Day, we will be sharing helpful resources and advice on our Council social media accounts throughout the day.”
The Highland Online Safety Centre webpage contains a wealth of articles, videos, and safeguarding alerts with the latest online developments and awareness.
Many social media platforms have options which allow parents/carers to personalise the safety settings.
Video guides on each social media platform’s settings can be found on the Highland Online Safety Centre.
A helpful guide to adding parental controls directly from home Wi-Fi can be found on Internet Matter’s website and includes most of the popular broadband providers.
Ms. Grant continued:
“It is important to remember that while there are sophisticated parental controls and filtering systems in place, these alone cannot guarantee 100% safety.
“We must be proactive in educating children and young people on how to recognise potential danger, what to do if they come across something they find uncomfortable, and safe practices to adopt while online to minimise risk to themselves and others.”
Education Chair, Cllr John Finlayson added:
“The digital world is becoming increasingly more intertwined in our daily lives and so we all have a responsibility to educate children on how to navigate the space safely, just as we educate them on recognising dangers in the real world.
“The Council and schools take online safety and their responsibility to educate young people on the potential dangers very seriously, but support is needed from parents and carers to properly safeguard their children and young people by having conversations and open dialogue with them.”