First celebrated in 2004, Safer Internet Day (SID) is marked on the second day of the second week in the second month each year, which is Tuesday, February 9, for 2021. Over its 17-year history, Safer Internet Day has raised awareness of cyberbullying, online sexual exploitation and scams. Since 2005, Insafe has taken up the organization of Safer Internet Day, calling upon all stakeholders to work together in making the internet a safer, better place for everyone, especially children and young people. This year’s theme is “Together for a better internet,” which has inspired Insafe’s network of Safer Internet Centers to create activities, events and campaigns that spread awareness and encourage collaboration.
While Insafe is recognized as a European network, Safer Internet Day has expanded beyond these borders, and also comprises events in Africa, Asia, South America and more. To celebrate the occasion this year, ESET has looked at the activities planned in five countries across the world: Austria, Cambodia, Nigeria, Panama and the United Kingdom:
Austria: Promoting responsible use of digital media
In Austria, Safer Internet Day doesn’t just last for 24 hours… it lasts a whole month! Back in 2011, Austria extended the campaign from a one-day event to a "Safer Internet Month of Activity" throughout February. This year, they are publishing the results of a survey on the topic "self-presentation on the internet" amongst adolescents to increase awareness of the issues teenagers face online. They have also developed a digital scavenger hunt – a fun, interactive activity to encourage children to learn about online safety.
Cambodia: Tackling child sexual exploitation
Cambodia’s activities for Safer Internet Day are truly collaborative. Among the organizations working together are APLE – an international NGO working against child sexual exploitation – UNICEF Cambodia, the National Committee for Counter Trafficking, and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. Spearheaded by APLE, Cambodia will organize events to raise awareness of online child sexual exploitation, facilitate dialogues with youth networks on key SID topics, and launch an online social media campaign to raise awareness of online exploitation and promote ways to report it.
Nigeria: Reaching teachers, students, stakeholders and government organizations
Nigeria’s Safer Internet Day efforts are led by ICLDNG – the International Centre for Leadership Development Nigeria. Recognizing that internet security is a collective responsibility, ICLDNG is holding both an online webinar for teachers, civil society organizations and government agencies, and in-person events at high schools for students. Additional SID activities include a national campaign to increase awareness of both the positives and negatives of the internet – highlighting what is possible when everyone works together for a better internet.
Panama: Raising awareness of digital parenting
Panama’s Fundación Vida Segura works to make the internet a safer place, promoting good practices and healthy digital habits for individuals and families. In keeping with this goal, the organization’s SID activities for 2021 focus on raising awareness of digital parenting, and what it means to raise children in an ever more internet-centred world. The Foundation is also holding a webinar on this topic, and has worked together with government organizations and educational centers to produce a Family Safety Kit with practical guides and a family contract.
United Kingdom: Exploring reliability online
The UK Safer Internet Centre is championing two themes this year, both the global goal of working “together for a better internet,” along with a national focus on “An internet we trust: exploring reliability in the online world.” Recognizing the amazing opportunities that can be found online – especially when in-person activities are so restricted – this campaign focuses on how we can decide what to trust on the internet, and how to avoid fake news, misleading advertisements or phishing attempts. Working with young people across the country, SID 2021 activities are designed to encourage young people to question, challenge and change the online world for the better, exploring how influence, persuasion and manipulation can impact decisions and opinions.
For more blogs on how to stay safe online, and what you can do to help make the internet a better place for everyone, visit our blog page here. To find out more about Safer Internet Day globally, and what countries across the world are doing this year, head over to the website here.