Safer Internet Day - MP Calls on Parents to Discuss Online Safety with their Children

Basingstoke MP Maria Miller says online safety is a real issue and parents need to be at the forefront of making sure children and young people are kept safe online. Maria joined with more than 1,000 schools, charities, and businesses to pledge their support for making the internet a safer place for children and young people.
 
February 11 was Safer Internet Day, a globally recognised celebration promoting the safe and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.  The event, coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre (UK SIC), is celebrated in over a hundred countries.
 
New research by the UK SIC reveals the internet is a fundamental part of young people’s identity, and that online experiences are an essential part of who they are offline, with 38% saying it’s easier to be themselves online than offline. 
 
But, despite the positives the internet can bring, there are downsides too. UK SIC found a quarter (25%) of 13-17-year olds say they have been targeted with online hate in the last month because of their gender, sexuality, race, religion, disability or gender identity, with 45% of disabled teens and 32% of BAME teens reporting this. According to the research 62% of children aged 8 to 17 years old have said they are more careful about what they share online because of people being mean based on who they are.
 
Maria has welcomed the work being done by the UK Safer Internet Centre and called for everyone to do play their part in making sure children and young people are safe online. 
 
Maria said:  “Children are spending increasing amounts of time on the Internet and it is vital that they are more fully aware of how to stay safe online and particularly how social media can impact their mental and emotional wellbeing. I support Safer Internet Day’s aim to promote a more responsible and respectful online environment, to make the internet a safe place for everyone.”
 
“It’s really important that parents and carers teach children how to use the internet safely, and I would encourage them to have these conversations about online safety and know how their children are using the internet.”
 
The UK Safer Internet Centre is a partnership of three leading charities – Childnet, Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) - with a shared mission to make the internet a better place for children and young people.  Visit https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/safer-internet-day/2020 for more information.