As efforts continue worldwide to improve digital inclusion, online safety has never been more important.
Safer Internet Day, developed and founded by Insafe and the European Union, encourages more responsible use of online technologies and services. This year’s theme, “Connecting generations and educating each other,” inspires organizations to highlight online safety messages relevant to local initiatives, and drive awareness activities accordingly. As efforts continue worldwide to improve digital inclusion, online safety has never been more important.
As part of Safer Internet Day, Microsoft and the Newcastle University social inclusion through the digital economy (SiDE) program hosted a discussion in Newcastle, England, among country, regional and local leaders. This Newcastle event is just one of a number of activities the company supported across Europe.
So, why Newcastle?
Newcastle is one of only three digital economy hubs in the UK, along with Nottingham and Aberdeen. It is the only hub focused on disaffected youth, individuals with disabilities and older adults. The aim of the event was to discuss how individuals – children, adults and seniors – might achieve greater online safety in the future. The event brought together a diverse group of individuals and representatives to discuss online safety and connecting generations.
The discussion included results from the international Microsoft Computing Safety Index along with tools and guidance provided in our interactive Digital Citizenship in Action Toolkit. There was also a mention of the new Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre browser for IE9 announced earlier in the day.
It was interesting how many of attendees suggested some of the same practical advice Microsoft has assembled to help protect Internet-connected devices, information and families’ online activities.
Similar to respondents in the States, Newcastle participants were interested in learning more about how to stay safer on line. If you’d like further information, about Microsoft products with parental controls see: Microsoft Tools Help Keep Families Safer Online and our interactive Digital Citizenship in Action Toolkit.
Finally, Microsoft also discussed a joint Microsoft/AARP research project fielded in in the US, which revealed multi- age groups are connecting more with one another – 83 % of each age group considers going online to be a “helpful” form of communication among families. This “Connecting Generations” study included participants ranging in age from 13-75. One interesting point, while most respondents across ages – teens, parents, and grandparents – wished they knew more about how to keep personal information private (58 percent) and how to safeguard their devices (50 percent), the younger generation wants more information than the older generation about using social networks more safely (38 percent of teens/young adults and 27 percent of adults ages 39-75, respectively).
Supermondays’, Ross Cooney and Newcastle participant painted his hope for the future: “We listen to what our plumber recommends. We follow the prescription given to us by our doctor. If we all followed what is learned on Safer Internet Days we’d have to figure out something else to do on the second day of the week of the second month of each year.”
Microsoft continues its commitment to help make the Internet safer for people of all ages and abilities through investments in family safety technology, key partnerships, and consumer education about safer online habits and practices. Online safety is ageless, and we all have an active role to play in helping to protect our family, information and devices.
Let’s build on this year’s success and all work to be safer online.