Thousands of US students, families, community organizations and businesses from Maine to Hawaii came together on Feb. 7 for Safer Internet Day, the global event now celebrated in more than 100 counties.
ConnectSafely is the official US coordinator of the international event, now in its 20th year. The global theme was Together for a Better Internet, and here in the US, ConnectSafely focused on five topics:
- Media literacy and critical thinking
- Picking on peers
- Wellness, identity and self-respect
- Scams, predators and creeps
“Safer Internet Day is a day when everyone can take some time to think about and talk about ways we can each help make the internet a better and safer place for ourselves, our families, our communities and the world,” said ConnectSafely CEO Larry Magid. “How we behave and treat others online makes a difference, and we all have a role to play.”
ConnectSafely worked with schools and community organizations across the country to sponsor local events led by educators and community leaders using resources from ConnectSafely. Based on preliminary reports, these events were on track to reach more than 20,000 US students and their families. Resources, including lesson plans, discussion points, videos, guides, tip sheets and other resources, were also available to additional schools, organizations and businesses to conduct events.
Our live events included a national virtual webinar for parents and guardians in partnership with National PTA and, working with My Digital Tat2, a live virtual event featuring a panel of teens from the San Francisco area.
History of Safer Internet Day
Safer Internet Day began in Europe in 2004, and ConnectSafely was appointed the official US host in 2014. It has since been celebrated virtually and in classrooms across the US and in large, student-driven events in Austin, Philadelphia, Seattle, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. In-person speakers have included (now) Vice President Kamala Harris, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Sen. Chuck Schumer, superintendents of local school districts and other local dignitaries.
Supporters of Safer Internet Day in the US include Amazon Kids, Discord, Google, Meta, Roblox, Snapchat, TikTok, Trend Micro, Twitch and ZEPETO.
Looking ahead to Safer Internet Day 2024
We are already making plans for next year’s Safer Internet Day, where we will, once again, offer grants to schools and community organizations around the US to use our resources to conduct local events. We will also offer live national virtual events and continue offering lesson plans, videos, guides and other resources on all aspects of online safety, including issues that may arise between now and February 2024. Next year we plan to expand our offerings to reach even more families, including those with very young children.
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