This year, Safer Internet Day is to be celebrated on the 6th of February under the theme “Create, Connect and Share Respect: A better internet starts with you”. From humble beginnings way back in 2015, the SID event has grown into a global movement that reminds netizens and digital citizens about the importance of internet safety. This year’s theme is especially important as news and media reports suggest that cyber-bullying and online harassment are showing rising trends. The last year saw the world wide web dazed by the nightmarish Blue Whale Challenge. Apps such as Sarahah took the app-stores by storm, reveling in an atmosphere of unbridled emotional torment, under the veil of anonymity! There is nothing stranger than the online neighborhood we live in today. It has become an immense challenge for families, schools, and governments to protect the society from the negative externalities that arise from a world intermeshed by social media and the internet.
Over the years we, at Mobicip, have had the opportunity to research the norms and determinants that govern online interactions. And in support of Safer Internet Day 2018, we have released 3 fact-sheets that provide deep insights into some important themes surrounding digital life. These fact-sheets are useful resources for parents and children alike, containing key results and actionable tips from various research-findings and studies. They discuss in brief the effects of social media on your family, the interplay of technology in teenage relationships, and the hazards of child cyber-sexual harassment.
Lack of respect and civility, something that pervades the internet today, are the main reasons for all online woes. The digital landscape is replete with cyber-bullies, trolls, online-harassers and perverts who treat their fellow netizens as lesser beings, meant to be taken advantage of. The best defense against such online threats is awareness! It is very important for all of us, irrespective of gender, age and nationality, to be aware of the pitfalls of the digital era, and be extra cautious. Learn about the potential dangers that lurk in the dark alleys of the world wide web. Talk with family, friends, and peers about setting boundaries online. Always be courteous in online communication and relationships; informality is never an excuse for rudeness! Always remember that there are actual people, with fragile emotions behind those two-dimensional picture-perfect online profiles!