Tuesday, February 6th (today!) is Safer Internet Day 2024! I immediately knew I had to write about it for Ask Trish…
Hi there, and welcome back to another week of Ask Trish. Happy February! I hope you’re all well and having a wonderful start to the month.
Today is a REALLY big day in the internet safety world…it’s Safer Internet Day 2024 (aka my favorite day of the year)! I know that for many of you, today may feel like just another Tuesday…but in fact, it’s a day to celebrate the promise of a safer, more responsible digital world – and reflect critically on the role you play in realizing that vision. That’s why, in this week’s post, I share a bit more about Safer Internet Day and introduce some resources you all can check out on this #SID2024. There are a ton of internet-related topics that you might explore this year, but I think there are a few that are especially pertinent for young people. You can get my take (and check out the related resources!) below. Sound like a plan?
So, first and foremost: what the heck is Safer Internet Day? Safer Internet Day is an awareness-raising campaign that aims to shed light on the internet, its safety challenges, and what we can do as a global community to make the internet more safe, inclusive, and responsible. #SID started way back in 2003 in Europe, but is now celebrated in over 100 countries! In the US, Safer Internet Day is actually hosted by none other than ConnectSafely, one of Ask Trish’s partners/sponsors (whoo hoo)! So what actually happens on Safer Internet Day? Well, in communities around the world – and particularly in educational institutions – students, families, and teachers come together to learn more about how they can use technology more critically, respectfully, and safely. More than that, though, Safer Internet Day offers everyone a chance to reflect critically on the role they can play in building the online world that they want.
So what can you (especially as a young person!) do on this Safer Internet Day? How can you join in on these efforts? Well, particularly for those folks in the US (but also, for anyone, anywhere!), I would strongly encourage you to check out ConnectSafely’s Safer Internet Day Student Program. These are resources that are intended to be shared in a classroom, but you can also check out these resources individually/with friends and complete the lessons and tasks together. I know time is limited – and maybe you’re wondering what’s most relevant to you – which is why I’ve taken the time to outline the three topics I think are the most relevant for y’all:
- Generative AI: Generative AI and AI technologies are increasingly relevant to our lives. For young people, GenAI poses particularly interesting questions, such as: how can I learn from AI, while still drawing boundaries around my own work and education? In what ways can AI improve the world…and on the other hand, in what ways can AI be weaponized? How can I reduce any AI risks I might be exposed to? These are extremely questions…and questions that many young people likely don’t know the answers to. While Gen Z and Gen Alpha are definitely digitally savvy (#i<3tech), GenAI is a new phenomena, new to all of us. All the more reason, then, that you check out the resources linked above. I’d suggest looking at the slide deck and maybe a few of the posts (you’ll notice that we have plenty of #AskTrish representation!).
- Media Literacy: If you’re like me, like so many young people today, you increasingly get your news and information about the world, more generally, from a diversity of sources, including social media, specific creators, etc. But not all sources are created equal – and being able to distinguish between different types of information and identify who and what might be influencing your thinking is so, so important. Thankfully, ConnectSafely has got you covered – check out their amazing resources at the link above! I’d especially look at the Quick Guide and the brief video they’ve included.
- Cyberbullying: Finally, I’d strongly recommend you reflect on a topic that perhaps you’re familiar with…but one that remains extremely relevant today: cyberbullying. According to Pew Research, in 2022, nearly half of US teens reported being bullied or harassed online. Online hate remains a “silent pandemic” in the US and abroad – and it’s only become more complex as new technologies (like AI!) come on the scene. Maybe you’re wondering, how tangibly, you can stop cyberbullying. Well, ConnectSafely has got an awesome tip sheet for that. Or perhaps you’re interested in learning about how cyberbullying is affecting the LGBTQ+ community (which is disproportionately impacted) – I’d strongly encourage you to check out ConnectSafely’s guide on that topic. And if you’ve got a little extra time, revisit some of my Ask Trish posts on cyberbullying, from how to tell a parent you’re being cyberbullied to common cyberbullying myths.
From me and everyone at ConnectSafely and ReThink, thank you SO much for taking the time this Safer Internet Day to explore these resources and educate yourself. Pass those lessons learned on, and remember to put them into practice each and every day. Being a good digital citizen is about so much more than today – it’s about how you show up when no one is watching.
If you’ve got a spare minute (or 30 seconds!), I’d also really appreciate it if you’d share any internet-related questions, concerns, or worries with me here. It’s a win-win-win: I get to write about topics that really resonate with you all, you get handy advice, and our entire community learns and benefits. Thanks in advance for contributing.
Have a great week,