In the context of Safer Internet Day, celebrated annually on the second Tuesday of February, the importance of creating a secure digital environment for children and adolescents is emphasized. This initiative, supported by UNICEF, aims to raise awareness among parents, educators, and society in general about the challenges and risks that young people face in the digital era.
The rapid expansion of technology has transformed the way children and adolescents interact with the world. However, this digital revolution has also brought new dangers, such as cyberbullying, exposure to inappropriate content, and the loss of privacy. It is crucial to address these issues and ensure that young people can make the most of online opportunities in a safe manner.
In this context, UNICEF has developed a series of educational resources for parents and teachers. These materials provide guidance on how to protect children online, promote critical thinking, and encourage responsible use of technology. Additionally, the importance of establishing an open and honest dialogue about the risks associated with internet use is emphasized.
In addition to UNICEF’s initiatives, various organizations and companies join the campaign by organizing events and activities to raise awareness in the community about the importance of internet safety. Workshops, talks, and awareness programs are some of the planned activities to engage parents, educators, and, of course, children and adolescents themselves.
Safer Internet Day is not only an opportunity to reflect on online challenges but also to celebrate advances and achievements in promoting safe technology use. It serves as a reminder that, by working together, we can build a digital environment that benefits everyone and protects the well-being of future generations.
Some of the tips provided by UNICEF include:
Internet Limitation: Restricting minors’ access to the internet is not the solution, according to the Committee on the Rights of the Child. Instead, there is a need for states to require companies to provide guidelines for allowing children to access appropriate content and protecting them from harmful material. Additionally, the importance of educational institutions creating a framework that promotes care, skills development, and understanding of potential threats to children and adolescents is emphasized.
Education: Promoting a better use of technologies for students as part of education in children’s rights is crucial. This includes providing students, from early childhood education, with basic digital skills related to digital literacy, online protection, cybersecurity, and digital citizenship. It is also essential to enhance non-digital skills, such as participation and critical thinking. These skills can be acquired in the classroom, empowering students to create their own content and make informed decisions about their online freedom of expression. The importance of working with families through informative, training, and guidance activities to share concerns and educational strategies, and to address knowledge gaps that may exist, is also highlighted.
Family: Families play a fundamental role in teaching children to use technologies responsibly. This involves establishing an open dialogue about online issues, providing information through questions and answers, educating about the use of digital opportunities, and preventing risks. The importance of addressing the issue practically by introducing changes in the family’s daily habits is also emphasized. Additionally, the role of parents as positive online behavior models and participation in training activities when knowledge gaps about internet protection are detected is highlighted.