The internet – a heaving mass of information and connectivity integral to the functioning of millions of people’s daily lives. It’s often said, but it really is difficult to imagine what life would be like without it? Similarly to many areas of life, something with great benefit is often associated with drawbacks – in the case of the internet, it means vast quantities of personal data and information available for anyone to see.
Media coverage of Safer Internet Day earlier this month was indicative of the importance of the issue on the government agenda, with David Cameron stating it as one of his ‘personal priories’ in a recent conference.
His concerns are driven largely by the dangers surrounding the ‘speed at which children grasp new technology’ and therefore the increased risk of them accessing unsafe material and vulnerability to potential predators.
Last weekend, in a continuation of the discussions around internet safety, Emma Rubach, Head of Editorial from TheSite.org was invited to join a Radio 1 Sunday Surgery panel for an ‘Internet Safety special’ with debates around topics such as the sharing of information, phishing, trolling and cyber-bullying. One of our TheSite.org Peer Advisors was also on hand providing additional support to listeners through the Radio 1 Facebook page.
The broadcast sparked a great deal of discussion amongst young people, who shared personal experiences of the challenges they faced with protecting their privacy following break-ups with ex-partners and friends and conflicting views as to what kind of information is deemed ‘private’..of which there are many!
Undoubtedly, discussions around internet security will continue to generate discussion within government and Internet Service Providers long into the future, alongside the development of plans for more stringent guidelines and rules for accessing content such as Talk Talk’s new scheme – but it will largely remain in the hands of the user to ensure their and their childrens personal information is safe online.
The most important thing for young people is that they have the facts about internet safety, through trusted sources of information like TheSite.org which offers advice around the issues but also signposts young people to other sources of support if they need it.
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