Several organizations urged parents to guide their children in their online activities as the world commemorates Safer Internet Month this February.
Safer Internet Day, celebrated last February 9, is an initiative of the European Union SafeBorders project in 2005 that was eventually introduced outside Europe in 2009.
Now on its 18th edition, this day aims to raise awareness on the emerging online issues and current concerns across the world “from cyberbullying to social networking to digital identity.”
It is also “the day called upon all stakeholders to join together to make the internet a safer and better place for all, and especially for children and young people.”
This year’s theme is “Together for a better internet.”
Advocates for children’s rights focused on campaigning against online exploitation of children and teenagers in the Philippines amid the standing quarantine phases imposed due to the ongoing pandemic.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, UNICEF Philippines called on parents to ensure that their children are kept safe from “predators.”
“Ngayong panahon ng lockdowns, mas maraming mga bata ang nahaharap sa panganib online, tulad ng mga predators sa internet na pinagsasamantalahan ang kahirapan ngayong may pandemya,” it said.
“Tuwing Pebrero ay #SaferInternetMonth. Tinatawagan namin ang bawat magulang na gabayan ng mabuti ang mga gawain ng kanilang mga batang anak online. Huwag hayaan mabili ng pera ang dignidad at pagkatao ng inyong anak at sinumang bata. #SaferInternetDay #ForEveryChild,” it added.
Child Rights Network Philippines, meanwhile, launched an open discussion on “tips” to keep their children safe.
A colorful graphic was attached with the question: “What are your tips to keep children safe online?”
The responses in the comments section of this mostly revolved on proper education on privacy, content restriction and consent.
“For parents: Talk to your children about body boundaries and consent. Body safety empowers children to also be safe online,” one Facebook comment read.
“Be cautious in accepting friend requests from people you barely know, too. Avoid sharing any private information about your child, such as whereabouts, school, sns accounts,” another Facebook user said.
“Be respectful to everyone and at all times,” a user commented.
Acronis Cyber Foundation, a global cybersecurity firm, also shared steps to protect children from damaging and distressful content on various social media platforms.
- Change the account to private.
- Think before you post
- Explain the “Report” and “Block” functions of social media websites.
- Review the settings.
- Listen to any concerns or issues children might have in their online interactions.
Twitter, one of the largest social media platforms, also shared tips as as well as features that parents or children could use for their safety.
- Activate the two-factor authentication system.
- Protect your tweets through the settings.
- Choose “advanced filter setting” to disable notifications from certain accounts and curate who you wish to interact with.
- Be cautious in the information you choose to share in the “Location” of your profile.
- Report content to Twitter.