UK Safer Internet Day 2022 - 'all fun and games?'

UK Safer Internet Day 2022

UK Safer Internet Day 2022

Today is UK Safer Internet Day 2022. Each year in the UK, Safer Internet Day explores a new area or theme that is important to their overall mission to keep young people safe online. Bright World is supporting this year's theme 'all fun and games?' by sharing online safety tips with our students, host families and guardianship parents.

We know that our guardianship students may choose to spend more time online gaming during their school holidays. Whether at home or with their Bright World host family, we want to make sure they are doing so safely and that they are respecting others.

online gaming

Video games have been around for decades, but the advent of online streaming platforms like YouTube and Twitch has introduced younger children to vast online networks of fellow players.

While playing games online can be a great way to make new friends for older children, it is important that they are taught to think about how much information they are sharing with strangers and how to keep themselves safe.

Who else is playing?

hands holding a gaming controller

Most online games are open to players of all different ages. This means that students may be playing with people significantly older or younger than they are. Different players also have different levels of skill at the game.

As games have become more popular with younger players, some people have started to use online gaming to communicate with children. They will try to build up a sense of trust and ask the child to keep their communication with them a secret. This is called grooming.

If a student is contacted by someone who is asking them to do something that makes them feel uncomfortable or to share images with them, they should speak to someone that they can trust, such as a parent, teacher or their Bright World Buddy. The player should then be reported and blocked through the game system.

Students should remember the following important features:

  • Abusive players can be muted and reported. Students should not engage with upsetting or unkind messages.
  • It is not always possible to tell who they are playing with.
  • Be nice to other players as may be younger or less skilled.

a reminder of some general internet safety tips

student thinking about online safety
  • Students should never share their personal information online. This includes password details for online accounts, their name, address, the name of their school or location. They should also avoid sharing images of themselves with people that they do not know.
  • Particularly important for younger students, but a good general tip is not to talk to strangers. This may seem like common sense, but it is important to remember that people online may not be who they seem. Students should never agree to meet in person anyone that they meet online.
  • Younger students should not use the internet without the permission of their host family.
  • If a student is talking to someone online that makes them feel uncomfortable, they should not respond and should immediately speak to their host family or Bright World Buddy.

protect your identity

student gaming

When creating a player name or gamer tag, students should avoid using their real name. They should also avoid creating a profile which shares personal information like their address, phone number, details of their school or their real name. Even a small amount of information can be enough to identify someone offline.

When information is shared online, even if this is in a private message, the original sender no longer has control of it. It can be resent or shared without their knowledge or permission.


cyberbullying notifications on a keyboard

Cyberbullying is bullying that happens online. Unlike offline bullying, it can be difficult for children to avoid cyberbullying as it can follow them wherever they go; social media, online gaming and mobile phones make it easier for bullies to contact their victims. Students experiencing cyberbullying should speak with an adult that they can trust, either a teacher, their host family or their Bright World Buddy. Common types of cyberbullying can include:

  • threatening or abusive messages - these can be text messages or messages online in chatrooms or on social media
  • sharing embarrassing images or videos
  • exclusion from online activities or groups
  • encouraging young people to self-harm
  • sending explicit messages

online challenges

child filming a video

Online challenges, often associated with the social networking platform, TikTok have taken the online world by storm in recent years. Viral stories, hoaxes, or challenges are designed to look enticing to younger users, who then feel pressured to participate or risk losing the respect of their peers. The challenges vary but often involve individuals harming themselves or others. These challenges can often fun or silly at first but this can quickly escalate.

If a student is being pressured to participate in an online challenge, they should talk to a teacher, their host family of their Bright World Buddy.

online safety policy

  • read the policy here

boarding school guardianship

  • find out more about bright world