Safer Internet Day 2022 is on Tuesday 8th February and will be celebrated with the theme ‘All fun and games? Exploring respect and relationships online’.
Safer Internet Day inspires a national conversation about using technology responsibly, respectfully, critically, and creatively. Coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre, the celebration sees thousands of organisations get involved to promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.
Each year in the UK, Safer Internet Day explores a new issue or theme which is impacting the lives of young people in the UK. For 2022 the Day celebrates young people’s role in creating a safer internet and the ways they are shaping the interactive entertainment spaces they are a part of. The platforms young people use are spaces for connection, community and collaboration, which is why the Day challenges them to foster supportive relationships and respectful communities, whilst equipping them with the skills they need to keep themselves and others safe in these spaces.
Speaking with young people is key to exploring their experiences on platforms where they can play games, interact with their peers and others, and take part in ‘live’ experiences such as video streaming. These platforms play such an important and positive role, providing young people with the means to interact with friends and as a great pastime, particularly during lockdowns.
However, there are some emerging safety issues in these spaces as well as issues young people have been navigating for some time; particularly the lack of respect individuals display towards each other, groups ‘ganging up’ against other groups, and the sense that it is easy to ‘get away’ with negative behaviour such as meanness, bullying and swearing. They speak about hate directed at particular groups, particularly LGBT+ users, and misogyny on gaming platforms. They tell us the apparent lack of consequences for negative behaviour has an impact on their safety and wellbeing.
We need to address these issues so that all young people understand what constitutes respectful behaviour online, and know what to do if they encounter hate or bullying directed at them or someone else. Our theme for Safer Internet Day is
All fun and games? Exploring respect and relationships online