Today marks the 10th anniversary of Safer Internet Day which is held to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology, particularly with the increasing accessibility of the internet on mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, mostly amongst the younger generations across the world.

Parenting on Female First

Parenting on Female First

Safer Internet Day is coordinated by the Insafe network of Safer Internet Centre’s across Europe, and co-funded by the European Commission, the day will see stakeholders including Norton coming together across the globe to celebrate this day. The theme for this year is ‘Connect with Respect’.

Insafe Coordinator, Janice Richardson, said: "Over the years, Safer Internet Day has become a landmark event in the online safety calendar, and an action that has been taken up across the globe.

“With this year's theme of online rights and responsibilities, we aim to engage all stakeholder groups - children and young people, parents, carers and educators, and industry and the third sector - to raise awareness that we all have a shared responsibility to make the internet a safer, and better, place for all."

‘Connect with Respect’ was created to help inform, educate and advise users on how to improve their personal safety while surfing online, taking responsibility for their own actions while also respecting the rights of others. One of the main issues of online safety is cyberbullying, which is increasingly becoming a serious concern and can happen online or on mobile phones.

It’s important for adults to educate their children in online etiquette to ensure they avoid talking to strangers or accepting friend requests from people they don’t know, and to limit their time allowed online or by restricting the apps they download on their mobile phones to prevent such things from happening.

Marian Merritt, Norton’s Internet Safety Advocate, has provided the following top 10 tips for parents and care givers for ensuring young people remain protected online:

1. Don’t give out your personal information: Don’t put personal details such as your home address, telephone numbers or parent’s work address online as cybercriminals can use this information to create a fake profile with your details.

2. What goes online, stays online: Use privacy settings to make sure only your friends and family can see photos you post. Avoid posting holiday plans as criminals have been known to track your movements.

3. Check your security and privacy settings: Make sure your social network privacy settings are secured so only your friends can see your personal information and use your privacy settings to restrict who can see your posts, videos and photos.

4. Password safety: Sharing your password with your parents is a sensible idea, but avoid sharing your password with your friends, even if they promise they won’t tell anyone! Also, when setting your password, make sure it isn’t something people may guess such as your pet’s name. Use a mixture of letters, numbers and upper and lower case characters.

5. Always protect your mobile device: Make sure your mobile phone is pin-protected so all your personal information stored on it is safe. Download a security app which allows you to remotely wipe any personal data, should your mobile be lost or stolen.

6. Don’t talk to strangers online or offline: Don’t meet up with strangers and let your parents know if a stranger has tried to get in contact with you online. Often people you speak to online may not be who they say they are so only share your personal details on social media sites with friends, family and people you already know in the ‘real’ world.

7. Listen to the adults who know: Adults will always be worried about you. Help set their mind at rest and avoid chatting online with strangers or using the internet so long you neglect your real world activities and real world friends.

8. Be wary of unsecured or unknown websites: When shopping online, use reputable and known retailers. Make sure any transactions you make only take place across secure web pages which you can identify from the padlock sign in your browser address bar and where the address says https.

9. Be careful what links you click on: Avoid clicking links in an email, Instant Message or on your social network unless you are sure the message is from someone you know. Cybercriminals have been known to hack into your friends’ email accounts and social networks to send emails or post messages claiming they are in trouble and asking you to transfer them money. Don’t believe it if it sounds suspicious or offers something unrealistic.

10. Make sure your security software is up to date: Security software is now available on all types of devices; mobile phones, tablets and PCs. Make sure you have the latest security software on your devices to stay protected at all times.

Marian added: “Safer Internet Day is an annual reminder of how careful we need to be when we are online.

“Norton is encouraging individuals to manage their children’s growing online independence by educating them on the many serious dangers on the Internet and to ensure they can surf the web knowing they are protected from the threats out in cyberspace today.”

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