Tuesday, 7th February was Safer Internet Day which is an annual event organised by InSafe to raise awareness about Internet safety. The aim of the event is to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially for children and young people across the world. This year, Yahoo shared some insights into what it does to champion online safety.
Yahoo! Safely is a global resource to inform parents, teens, and educators about important topics such as managing your “digital reputation” and learning how to minimise risks on mobile devices. With 29 sites worldwide in 14 languages, the site offers videos, simple strategies, and advice from internationally known safety experts including Common Sense Media, ConnectSafely, NetSmartz, and iKeepSafe. Yahoo! Safely also provides safety guidance for sites such as Yahoo! Messenger, Flickr, Yahoo! Mail, and Yahoo! Mobile, all of which are designed to foster conversation and community among users.
Trends noted by Yahoo show that social networking in the most popular online activity in Malaysia, with online chatting and video files sharing close behind. As a cause for concern, the Yahoo! Net 2011 Index study show that 15-19 year olds expressed the least amount of concern for online privacy (only 25%). The main for worry amongst those who did express concern were cyber criminals (78%).
Jane Prior, Head of APAC Communications for Yahoo! Asia Pacific says that, “Teens are creating a digital footprint that can last a long time in cyberspace. Things they post can be forwarded by others and viewed by vast anonymous audiences. If you teach them to self-reflect before they self-reveal, their online experiences are more likely to be safe.”
Yahoo warns that young teens don’t yet have an “off” switch in their brains, which causes them to act impulsively. This lack of impulse control combined with online anonymity could lead them toward dangerous behaviours like cyberbullying, inappropriate uploading of pictures and videos, meeting strangers and even cheating.
Prior shared some basics of Internet safety that should be practiced by children and teenagers:
- Never share names, schools, ages, phone numbers, or addresses.
- Never open an email from a stranger – it may contain viruses that can harm a computer.
- Never send pictures to strangers or view pictures that strangers send to them.
- Keep passwords private (except to parents).
- Tell a trusted adult if something mean or creepy happens on the Internet.