By Larry Magid
Tuesday, February 8th is Safer Internet Day but this year it’s Safer Internet Week. Rather than a single event, there will be resources available for use in schools and homes every day of the week and a live event with teens on Sunday, Feb. 6. Videos and other resources for families and schools are free and available at SID-USA.org.
This year’s U.S. theme is “Improving Well-Being Online,” with programs on a variety of topics including:
- Social comparison
- Fear of missing out
- Body image
- Youth activism
- Extended reality & the metaverse
- Free speech and moderation
We’re particularly proud of the experts and influencers we’ve lined up for this year’s program: Boston Children’s Hospital Digital Wellness Lab founder Dr. Michael Rich; author and activist Rosalind Wiseman; human rights advocate and virtual reality expert Brittan Heller; News Literacy Project education director Shaelynn Farnsworth; Cyberbullying Research Center co-director Sameer Hinduja; Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence director Dr. Marc Brackett; youth activist & entrepreneur Trisha Prabhu; social justice influencer Dani Coke; bullying and hate speech expert Beth Yohe and safety executives and experts from Amazon Kids, Discord, Instagram, Meta, Microsoft, Roblox, Snapchat, TikTok and Trend Micro.
Focus on Well-Being
While we explore several important topics around online safety, privacy and security, we focus on well-being, especially in light of the pandemic, school closures and the isolation that many of us—young and old—have experienced for the past two years. After years of progress, we’ve seen recent increases in cyberbullying, online toxicity, depression and other harms associated with online experiences. Some of that may be because we are spending more time online, but there are other factors, which we explore in this year’s videos.
There is also good news—families using video conferencing and social media to stay connected or reach out to friends and relatives who live far away. Young people continue to use social media to advocate for causes they care about and support their peers.
Our goal this year is not to dwell on the negatives but acknowledge the challenges and explore the solutions. It’s all about making the internet a better place and promoting resilience and positive online experiences. You’ll find all this year’s content at SID-USA.org.
History of Safer Internet Day
Safer Internet Day began in Europe in 2004 and ConnectSafely was appointed the official U.S. host in 2014 in collaboration with the European Commission, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo. It has since been celebrated in classrooms virtually and across the U.S. and in big, student-driven events in Austin, Philadelphia, Seattle, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. Past in-person speakers include Sen. Kamala Harris, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Sen. Chuck Schumer, along with other technology leaders and federal, state along with local dignitaries, including school superintendents and mayors.
Safer Internet Day U.S. is hosted by ConnectSafely with program support the National PTA and My Digital TAT2. Supporters include Amazon, Comcast, Discord, Google, Meta, Meet Group, Microsoft, NCTA — The Internet & Television Association, Roblox, Snapchat, TikTok, Trend Micro, Twitch, and Twitter.
ConnectSafely is a Silicon Valley, Calif.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to educating people about safety, privacy, security and digital wellness. Our resources include research-based safety tips, parents’ guidebooks, advice, news and commentary on all aspects of tech use and policy. We offer in-depth guides and “quick-guides” for parents, educators, youth and policymakers along with resources for seniors and other adults. We also produce webcasts, podcasts and special events along with the twice-weekly ConnectSafely Report for CBS News Radio.