Safer Internet Day


01-March-2013

In line with the dangers, Seychelles continues to progress towards a safer environment in their support of Safer Internet Day. Parents are also becoming more aware of the potential dangers and threats posed by accessing the internet and are looking for ways to assist their children.

In 1999, the European Commission (EC) created the Safer Internet Programme, with the aim of promoting safe, responsible use of the internet by children and young people, and protecting them from illegal and harmful content and conduct on-line. Safer Internet Day (SID) is organised by Insafe in February of each year to promote safer and more responsible use of on-line technology and mobile phones, especially among children and young people across the world.

The theme for Safer Internet Day 2013 was On-line Rights and Responsibilities with the slogan Connect with Respect. Safer Internet Day 2013 took place on February 5, and was the tenth anniversary of the event (see http://www.saferinternet.org/ for maps showing the extent of the support for this good cause see http://www.saferinternetday.org/web/guest)

Over the years, Safer Internet Day (SID) has become a landmark event in the on-line safety calendar. Starting as an initiative of the EU SafeBorders project in 2004 and taken up by the Insafe network as one of its earliest actions in 2005, Safer Internet Day has grown beyond its traditional geographic zone and is now celebrated in more than 90 countries worldwide, and across six of the world’s seven continents.

This programme looks to educate people in areas of cyberbullying, responsible social networking and last year was concerned by self-generated, sexually explicit images and videos of young people on-line. Each year new material on emerging on-line issues and current concerns are reflected in the programmes. The programmes created include practical activities that develop young people's skills, self-confidence and a safety awareness when using social networking sites.

How can parents assist in protecting their children?
There are many programmes available on the internet that can restrict access to adult and unwanted material. Cable and Wireless Seychelles have recently added SafeNet as a safer on-line browsing programme (see story above) and there are many other programmes available both paid and free.

Microsoft Windows Vista and Windows 7already have several features that allow you to set up permissions and restrictions that could help in the on-line safety of your kids. Using the inbuilt Parental Control feature - activated from the Control Panel - you can set up separate accounts for your children; enforce when and for how long they can use the computer; which programmes they can use and even what kind of games they can play.

There is also WINDOWS LIVE FAMILY SAFETY which is a FREE download from the Microsoft website. Family Safety requires you to create a free Windows Live ID and will allow you to filter web traffic, specify sites you want to block and even monitor the web sessions of each of your children.

The programme filters your kid's surfing on the basis of either a pre-configured list of harmful sites, or the topic you have specified. If your children try to access any site that is harmful, they will see a message telling them that they need parental permission to view it.

Another good FREE site is K9 Web Protection, http://www1.k9webprotection.com which has obtained many Children’s Safety awards.
K9 works on both Windows and Mac. It can block web sites by category, including pornography, illegal drugs, dating, violence, hate, racism; enables safe search on sites such as Google and Bing; and even allows parents to put time restrictions and night guard on internet access.

The main point is that to protect our children, we must take an active role in what we allow them to view on the internet. The applications have been made simple and many of them are free but it still takes our time to invest into their future to ensure maximum safety in what is now a rapidly changing world.

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