Safer Internet Day 2020

Coordinated by UK Safer Internet Centre, Safer Internet Day offers a great opportunity for us all to play our part in helping children feel safer to be #FreetoBe who they are online.

You’ll find advice and resources below to help children navigate the issue of online identities in a safe, responsible and respectful way.

Display video transcript
Online identity is the way we choose to portray ourselves online. Now it should be a simple thing, however, the way we are offline isn’t always the way we are online.

Online identity allows us to showcase edited versions of our lives, highlighting features that we feel others value.

So, when posting about an amazing holiday, for example, our posts reflect not only what's important to us but what we believe others expect from us.

Now having an online identity can be liberating as it encourages self-expression and allows us to connect with other people.

However, it can create a lot of pressure.

Kids can hide aspects of who they are or to try and live up to certain expectations in order to feel more accepted and this can be detrimental to their own sense of self worth and can impact things like body image and self esteem.

Parents should allow their child to express themselves online, however, it’s important we offer support to help them navigate this.
There are a few ways you can do this:
Firstly, start a positive conversation around online identity.

Have regular check ins and discuss what your child's online identity means to them and how they feel it reflects who they really are.

Secondly it’s important to speak about how and who they share their lives with online making sure to touch on what they should and shouldn't share by discussing issues around safety and privacy.

Thirdly, Help them think critically about how online and offline influences can impact how they see themselves and the world around them.

Get them to think about the intentions behind what people are sharing on online. Your child’s online identity is a self-expression of who they are and often it evolves and changes over time.

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Helping young people manage their online identity

This Safer Internet Day we’d like to encourage all parents, carers and educational professionals to get involved in the day to give children and young people the support they need to be #FreeToBe online.

For young people, building an online identity can be both liberating and challenging at times. With so many influences and platforms to use it can be hard to work out how to be yourself online and feel accepted. Offering young people tools to navigate this process can help keep their digital growth online healthy and positive.

Young people share their views on what online identity means to them
Display video transcript
What is online identity?

Online identity, it means being yourself online.

It means the ability to do what I like on the internet without being judged.

Online identity means, to me it's something where you can express yourself. You can be yourself and you can be what you want other people to see you as.

It means to show who you are and not to be afraid to be different from everyone else.

Online identity means a lot to me because some people don't really like who they are, but it makes them more confident with themselves.

I think it's representing yourself, your ideas, your interests, being who you are, being free to do what you want to do.

You can express what you're doing, you can show your hobbies.

Not afraid to show who you really are.

Being safe on the internet and having so much fun.

Fairly treated.

Represented.

Empowered.

Equal.

Join us on Safer Internet Day. Find out more at saferinternetday.org.uk #SaferInternetDay

Exploring online identity in the Insta age

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5 Things  you can do to help young people

1. Start with a positive conversation

  • Discuss what they enjoy and why (apps / Favourite vloggers/ website / social networks).
  • Talk about how and who they share their lives with online – make sure to touch on what they would and wouldn’t share.
  • Have a chat about what their online identity means to them and how they feel it reflects who they really are.
  • Discuss the issues they may face such as pressure to conform or encountering negativity and provide guidance and advice.

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2. Get them to think critically about online and offline influences

  • Encourage them to think about the intentions behind what people share and be sure to check sources of information if they seem too good to be true.
  • Make sure they have a varied digital diet to ensure they are exposed to a range of ideas that will give them a balanced view of the world.

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3. Highlight the importance of being #FreeToBe online

  • Discuss safe ways for them to stay authentic to who they are online. This could be only sharing certain content with people who offer positive encouragement and avoiding and reporting toxic environments online.

Mum and daughter sitting on a couch smiling at her phone

4. Encourage them to review their data and privacy

  • To ensure they stay in control of the information they share online, get them to regularly check who they are friends with online and what data giving away on the platforms they use.
  • Doing regular Google search on their name can be a simple way to manage what content is visible to everyone or remove content that may be incorrect or harmful to their reputation.

Scrolling on Google

5. Stay engaged with what they do online

  • Have regular check-ins about what they do online to be better prepared to offer your support.
  • Steer them towards apps and platforms that will support their passions and help them express who they are.

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Online identity resources

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Online Reputation tips

Top tips to help children manage their online reputation

See advice

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Body image advice

Top tips to help your child develop a positive body image

See guide

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Managing privacy on social media

How-to guides to manage privacy on social networks

See guide

Resources from UK Safer Internet Centre to support children

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Parent and Carer pack

See the parent and carer Safer Internet Day resource pack filled with activities, conversation starters to get involved this Safer Internet Day.

Download packs

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Education professional pack

If you work with children UKSIC has a range of impactful activities for Safer Internet Day we have created a range of free resources, including films, lesson plans, assemblies and more.

Download packs

Resources and advice from our partners to support your child

BT - Skills for tomorrow

Offering families new training, resources, and activities to help build their digital skills.

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Sky - Safer for kids

Use Sky’s range of practical safety tools designed to help parents keep their children safe online.

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TalkTalk - Supporting families online

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Virgin - parental controls

See how Virgin parental controls can support children online

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BBC Own It - Advice guide for parents

See how BBC Own it App can help children have a positive online experience

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Google - Safety tools for families

See a range of Google safety tools to help all the family develop good online habits

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TikTok - safety features

Learn more about the range of safety features on the app

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Samsung - family safety settings

Get children set up safe on a range of Samsung products

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