Behind the scenes at Safer Internet Day

MadeForMums visited the Department of Education to discover ideas about making the internet safer for all the family

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MadeForMums paid a visit to the Department of Education for Safer Internet Day 2012. It’s an annual event, hosted by the UK Safer Internet Centre and Childnet, with the aim of raising awareness, not just about the risks of using the internet, but about the positive experiences your family can share online too.

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“Safer Internet Day is a great opportunity to remind children and parents about the help and support on offer to keep children safe online,” said Children’s Minister Tim Loughton, who opened the day.

“The internet is a brilliant education tool but technology is constantly changing so there is an ongoing need to inform parents and children about the potential risks in the online world,” Tim added.

The day was split up into three focus groups – one for teens, one for parents and one for primary schools – each with 12 users and a panel of industry experts. You can understand MadeForMums’ delight at being sat in a group with Microsoft, Lego and Facebook (though unfortunately it wasn’t Mark!). Even Moshi Monsters and Club Penguin were there to entertain and inform the little ones. We heard they got some great goodies…

Mums and dads’ biggest worry, it seems, is the way the internet has let the world into our lives. One mum shared her view on how she hated Skype as it allowed others to see into her house, while another felt she had control on what she posted on Facebook, but that her child posted family holiday photos without her consent. Do you worry about what people see about you on the internet?

At a later debate, chaired by Will Gardner and Lucinda Fell from Childnet, the primary school kids shared their top 5 safety tips for other children, while the teens expressed their views on how adults needed to support them more. For example, they want us to explain exactly why we sometimes restrict internet access.

One of the messages to come out of the day is that internet safety isn’t just something to be discussed on one day only, it’s something you need to speak to your children regularly about, from a simple “what are you looking at online?” to “let’s find the funniest videos”. The internet is a massive resource of information for us to explore and more importantly, enjoy.

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To find out how you can help your child understand the good, and bad, about the internet, read our guide to Internet, Smartphone and XBOX safety

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