Liz Thomas, Regional Digital Safety Lead (Asia-Pacific), shares tips and advice for online safety for all.
Today is Safer Internet Day, with a range of celebrations taking place across the globe. In keeping with the theme of “Together for a better internet”, Microsoft New Zealand is joining forces with Netsafe and a global network of organisations and schools to reaffirm our commitment to making the internet a safer and better place for all, especially for children and young people.
Microsoft has a long-standing commitment to digital safety. For us, it’s about empowering individuals to maximise their positive experiences online, while seeking to minimise the experience of what we call the “four Cs”: risks from illegal or illegitimate content, contact, conduct, or commercial activities. We have a responsibility to create online services and communities where people feel safe.
We also want to empower our users to keep themselves and their whānau safe online. So, for Safer Internet Day, we’re sharing some simple tips to help parents and caregivers talk online safety with their tamariki. It’s never too early – or too late – to get the conversation started:
- Pay attention to your kids’ activities online. When they’re really young, this might mean sitting with them when they’re on a device. As they get older, initiate regular conversations about the apps they’re using, the games they’re playing and who they are in contact with. Try to keep it open and non-judgmental. You know your children best, so keep an eye out for any changes in behaviour that might suggest bullying or other issues.
- Set clear rules. Negotiate these based on the age and maturity of your child and your family’s values. Have a family discussion about the kinds of apps, games and sites they can visit or use, designated hours for use, what information should be kept private, and on how to treat others online.
- Put technology to work. You can also use family safety tools to help you out – these are built into many products. For instance, check out this video on how the Xbox Family Settings App works and you can also try the Microsoft Family Safety App. These tools can help give you peace of mind, and kickstart safety conversations.
As a family, you can also consider taking our Digital Civility Challenge – joining others around the world to embrace “digital civility” and the need to treat each other with respect and dignity online. The Challenge is simple: do your part every day by living up to four ideals:
- Living the Golden Rule
- Respecting differences
- Pausing before replying, and
- Standing up for myself and others
And don’t feel daunted: there are lots of great resources out there, both globally and here in Aotearoa New Zealand, including from Netsafe.
You can find our collection of online safety resources here.
You can also find the latest results of our research into adults’ and teens’ perceptions of online civility here.
So, this Safer Internet Day, join us in coming together for a better internet for everyone. Follow the #SaferInternetDay hashtag to find out more!