Today, Tuesday 11th February, marks this year's Safer Internet Day. On this day each year, schools, charities and organisations from across the globe pull together to raise awareness of any emerging online issues, and to encourage everyone to use the internet in a more positive way. The objective of each campaign is to provide a safer internet for young people all over the world.
Each year, the initiative is based on a topical focus. This year, in response to growing public concern about internet safety, the theme of the campaign is online identity, and in particular how young people manage this. The hashtag #freetobe was chosen with the view to celebrating difference, and helping us work towards creating a truly inclusive internet.
When communicating online, we believe all young people should be #freetobe safe, happy and judgement-free.
The intention of this campaign is for young people to explore what makes up their online identity, such as facts or characteristics, and how other people perceive these. It will also examine how offline stereotypes and discrimination are challenged or reinforced online.
By opening up conversations around online identity, Safer Internet Centre aim to inspire young people to support each other in being who they want to be.
This initiative is coordinated by the group UK Safer Internet Centre, an amalgamation of three charities; Childnet International, Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and the South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL). Inaugurated in 2004, the campaign is now supported by millions of people each year, in approximately 150 countries.