For many parents and carers, the last twelve months will probably have included worries about how much time the young people in their care are spending on their devices. Whether it’s concern that they are spending too much time online, with limits on screen time going out of the window, or that they aren’t spending enough time studying online learning materials, the internet has suddenly become a talking point in many homes.
With all this in mind, it seems pertinent that Affinity Fostering have become official supporters of Safer Internet Day 2021, which this year falls on 9th February, and are working hard to increase awareness of the event across the whole of the Affinity Family. Safer Internet Day (SID) is a worldwide event, celebrated in over 170 countries with a core theme that we should all work together for a better internet. The internet and technology are constantly changing, so one of the main aims for SID is to raise awareness of emerging online concerns and to educate people about them.
Throughout the year we have published a variety of blogs focussing on keeping young people safe when they are online, from looking at ways to help keep young people happy when they’re using social media to our blog for 2020’s Safer Internet Day which included useful educational links and ways to have conversations about our online presence. In addition, we are also running a competition for our young people to design a poster about internet safety (every entry receives a £10 voucher) and we will be sending all of our carers resources that they can use on the day.
In fairness though, the idea of celebrating and working towards a safer online space for all of us shouldn’t be restricted to just one day. The ability to interact online, chat to people, play, learn, and dance if you’re into TikTok is something that we should all use responsibly, respectfully, critically, and creatively. In order to do that, we all need digital literacy skills.
While it’s quite funny watching locked down parents and carers embarrassing the kids that live with them with terrible dancing on platforms like TikTok, by joining in with the platforms that the younger generation uses, they are gaining a deeper understanding of how it works and are (hopefully) modelling ways to be kind and respectful online. There are undoubtedly parents and carers out there who have finally succumbed and have started playing Minecraft and Roblox with a view that if you can’t beat them, you might as well join them. Joining in in this way makes it easier to have a dialogue if a child finds themselves in trouble on a platform.
The team at Affinity Fostering wish you all a happy and safe Safer Internet Day 2021, and we can’t wait to see all the poster entries from our young people.