February 8th - Safer Internet Day 2011
Today is Safer Internet Day, an annual event in February to promote safer use of the Internet and technology that can get you online. This year is eighth consecutive year of the event and it has launched with the tag line "It's more than a game, it's your life!". Safer Internet Day is focusing on children are young people who are more vulnerable to online safety issues. Over 70 countries are taking part with events to mark the day.
The focus this year is in online gaming, and parents are encouraged to try to understand the attraction to gaming, and to talk with their children about it. For those taking part in gaming, there are some simple SMART rules:
- S - Safe. Do not give out personal information when chatting or posting online. Personal information includes your email address, phone number and password.
- M - Meeting. Meeting someone you have only been in touch with online can be dangerous.
- A - Accepting. Accepting emails, IM messages, or opening files, pictures or texts from people you don’t know or trust can lead to problems - they may contain viruses or nasty messages.
- R - Reliable. Someone online might lie about who they are and information on the internet may not be true. Always check information with other websites, books or someone who knows. If you like chatting online it's best to only chat to real world friends and family.
- T - Tell. Tell your parent, carer or a trusted adult if someone or something makes you feel uncomfortable or worried, or if you or someone you know is being bullied online.
Statistics released show that many people are vulnerable to attacks online. Nearly 31% of people in the EU27 countries reported that they caught a virus or other computer nasty in the 12 months prior to being surveyed, and 84% of these people also stated that they used security software such as anti-virus or a firewall in that time. 4% of people reported an abuse of personal information or privacy on the Internet, and 3% suffered financial loss through phishing, pharming attacks or fraudulent card payments (although the UK bucked this trend with the second highest in the EU at 7%).
With this information to hand, it is clear why promoting a safer Internet is a vital task and ensuring that new and younger Internet users are aware of safety precautions they can take online.