Today gives us an opportunity to come together and focus on how we ensure that everyone can benefit from the very best that the online world has to offer. And clearly online safety is a fundamental requirement – particularly for young and vulnerable people.
Digital technologies have been a force for good globally. Technologies have brought down barriers to education and knowledge and have brought the world closer together – connecting people from around the world without regard for distance or time difference.
The internet turns 30 this year and it is still growing and developing. Just like when we travel to a new city, a map, recommendations from trusted individuals and an understanding of how to behave help us make the most of it and enjoy our stay to the maximum. The same is true for the internet. We must equip our children and young people with these tools. Education is key to helping them navigate the online world safely so that they can benefit from the very positive opportunities that the digital world has to offer.
techUK supports the work of the UK Safer Internet Centre and organisations like ChildNet and Internet Matters. They play a vital role in promoting this national conversation in schools and homes up and down the country. It is essential that children are empowered and educated to navigate the online world safely – this is why we believe the safe use of digital technologies should form an integral part of mandatory PSHE education in schools.
Industry clearly has a central role to play. Many companies invest significantly each year on tools and resources to create a better online world for everyone. Whether this is through promoting digital literacy to taking down harmful content, our industry is committed to finding solutions to challenges where they exist and ensuring everyone has access to digital technologies.
And we continue to look at what more can be done. techUK members are working closely with DCMS and the Home Office on the online harms agenda to find effective solutions that work and make a real difference to the lives that people lead. There will always be new challenges and more that needs to be done and the tech industry is committed to working constructively with all those who care passionately about this agenda.
The reach of #SaferInternetDay helps us all speak with one voice and discover more about what others are doing to make a difference. Today, around the country, people will be starting important conversations, sharing stories and ideas. You can join in by tweeting your support using the hashtag and visiting the website which is jam-packed with resources to help start the conversation. Whether you’re a parent, teacher or young person – take some time today to discover and get involved. Together we can make a difference.