Safer Internet Day is organized annually by United Kingdom Safer Internet Centre, and every year sees many organizations and individuals come together to promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people. Globally, Safer Internet Day is celebrated in over a hundred countries, coordinated by the joint Insafe/INHOPE network, with the support of the European Commission, and national Safer Internet Centres across Europe.
The day offers the opportunity to highlight positive uses of technology, and how we can all create a better and safer online community. It calls upon young people, parents, teachers, social workers, law enforcement, companies, policymakers and others, to come together in helping to create a better internet.
At Centre for Social Research, we have been working on the cause of safer online spaces, particularly Facebook, since 2015. Our initiative with Facebook, #SocialSurfing, has travelled across India, to over 100 colleges, to empower youth on the essentials of safe and effective online communication. #SocialSurfing aims to create a culture of counterspeech among the youth of the country, so as to make Facebook, a place where social change can be effected.
This year, we are marking Safer Internet Day 2017, with aplomb. We started our #PasswordKyaHai campaign on January 1st, which aimed to crowdsource ways to keep secure and safe passwords, an essential aspect of our online presence. With many entries from around the world, we are happy to announce that the winner is Bindu Chahar Sheoran, whose picture got maximum outreach. In December 2016, we also ran our #SochKeBol campaign as part of #16DaysOfActivism, to raise awareness about online safety, the sad rise of cyber crimes, and ways to prevent and end these. Additionally, from February 1st, we have shared a series of videos created by Facebook security, on various aspects related to one’s account safety.
While this was a weeklong campaign, we understand that online safety and the aim to create a safer internet is a continuous and ongoing process. This week was a reminder of various aspects of using internet, and the myriad of perils that we, as users, are exposed to. It is important to use this knowledge, and constantly educate ourselves on the changing ways of online communication. Ultimately, it is the user who needs to have control over one’s social media account, rather than being under the control of the internet.
Wishing you all a Happy Safer Internet Day! Stay Safe!