techUK supports #SaferInternetDay 2021
The internet is an amazing place of connectivity where people are learning, socialising, creating and exploring online. It has played an unprecedented role in enhancing education and allowing access to information, all while enabling families and friends to stay in touch during challenging times.
In order for young people, families and professionals to realise the benefits of the online world, industry, civil society, Government and educators need to continue working in partnership to create safer and more secure online environments, ones which help young people feel confident and positive when going about their day-to-day lives.
techUK is a long-standing and keen supporter of Safer Internet Day. It presents a moment to pause and reflect on the benefits of the internet, while considering how collaborative efforts can be made in 2021 to promote media literacy and digital skills, as part of an ongoing and shared commitment to build #AnInternetWeTrust.
We are delighted to see so many of our members involved in Safer Internet Day. To name a few, BT has developed ‘skills for tomorrow’ courses available for families, TikTok has provided invaluable support for education materials while highlighting how ‘every day is safer internet day’ and Microsoft has written about ‘closing the digital civility divide’.
Many organisations and research bodies have taken the opportunity of Safer Internet Day to publish reports, including from the Oxford Internet Institute where they have found that digital detoxing does not necessarily improve personal wellbeing.
To coincide with the day and spark discussion, the UK Safer Internet Centre has also published a report into how young people respond to misleading content and how false information makes them feel, with some of the key findings including:
- 77% of 8-17s felt being online had been a more important part of their life in 2020 than before
- 73% of young people felt that being online had helped them through the pandemic and lockdown(s) supporting them emotionally
- 44% of 8 – 17s believe they are better able to judge reliable information online than their parents or carers
- 61% of 8-17s want to learn more about how to spot misleading content
- 59% of 8-17s agree they have a responsibility to report potentially misleading content if they see it
With such findings on how the internet is increasingly important to young people lives, it is critical that we support young people and empower them to navigate their online lives safely. We need to continue offering equal opportunities for the majority of young people who are eager to learn about how to spot misleading content and wish to take responsibility to report it if they see it.
techUK is committed to enabling positive online experiences for everyone and our members have spent the past few years developing digital skills initiatives and training to support children, families and professionals as they continue to use the internet in their daily lives.
The Government’s upcoming media literacy strategy, due published in Spring 2021, is a welcome opportunity to build on these ongoing efforts to boost literacy and skills, while considering how educational and resilience-based initiatives are as critical as any regulatory framework when it comes to keeping children and young people safe online. techUK fully supports the Government’s ambitions and will continue to work closely with DCMS on some of the detail of the strategy to ensure it achieves its desired outcomes.
As we look ahead to the publication of the Online Safety Bill and new online risks and opportunities inevitably emerge, we should take example from Safer Internet Day by continuing our work in collaboration to form effective and proportionate solutions which will help make the UK one of the safest places to go online.
Julian David, techUK CEO, said:
Tech innovation and digital skills initiatives bring enormous benefits to our day to day lives. Our members are working on the products and services which enable young people, families and professionals to work, socialise and learn online. techUK is proud to be part of Safer Internet Day to make sure that society can continue to be supported by innovation, while developing digital skills and resilience to stay safe and confident online.
Lulu is a Policy Manager at techUK, working across areas related to digital regulation, such as online harms and competition.
Prior to working at techUK, Lulu worked at social enterprise Parent Zone for a number of years, heading up the Policy and Public Affairs team. Working closely with technology companies, Parliamentarians and schools, her focus was on building digital resilience to help improve outcomes for children growing up in a digital world.
Lulu holds a MA (Hons) in Human Rights Law from SOAS, and a BA (Hons) in Politics from the University of Exeter.
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