Is Safer Internet Day a waste of time. Yes, Here is Why

10 years into Safer Internet day, is anything better?

Safer Internet Day started in 2012 when the US Department of Homeland Security and the European Commission agreed it was time to do something about phone addiction, especially for kids, internet safety and online behaviour. The iPhone introduction in 2007 with the combination of music, internet and phone doubled internet use in a year. Smartphones made it easy for us to hide our screens. iPhone made using Facebook, and Twitter way more interactive and fun. Snapchat was still 6,7 years away.

safer internet day 2023, Is safer internet dat a waste of time
COVID-19 showed safer Internet day completed outdated. 

The ConnectSafely organisation leads the effort in the US. Each year, they chose a new theme to build better online habits. The EU and the UK also support #SID. Britain is easily the most forceful in bringing new laws for internet safety, social media, and cyberbullying. The first Tuesday in February is usually Safer Internet Day. The concept is outdated, a little twee and behind the times. For example, social media and online gaming are now two huge and separate subjects on their own. Internet safety is longer one topic. Time to step it up.  

  • Online Safety
  • Games On Device, Online Games & Public Server games
  • Social Media

In 2022 the theme was #TalkListenLearn intended to get parents and kids talking about internet safety and building better habits online regularly, not just twice a year. First, have parents cover the basics themselves and are they comfortable with simple questions, such as, what is Snapchat, what games does my kid enjoy, and do we have any rules at home? Here are some of the most frequently asked questions from parents.

  • When should I give my kid a device? 
  • What is the right age to give a child their first phone?
  • How much time should I let them have online daily?
  • What should I let them use?
  • Is YouTube still safe for kids?

It is different for every child, and each child needs to be treated separately according to their personality, but the basics remain the same. A child should not be sitting still all day on a device.

Schools pushing online issues back out the gate rightly

In 2022, we see schools actively seeking to move responsibility to parents. Teachers feel we left them to deal with all of these issues with no help from anyone, left to resolve bullying, online abuse and sexting without training, funding or resources.

  • Schools say much of the worst behaviour happens after school
  • Parents need to be more responsible
  • Parents should do more at home to enforce rules
  • If it did not happen in the schoolyard, why are we responsible?
  • Police and parents need to be more active 
COVID-19 added 10s of millions to gaming, internet safety online gaming
Something the teacher missed. The number of girls that now enjoy gaming since C-19. 

Things Safer Internet Day misses

  • Build School online safety portfolio into sections for Key Stages 
  • Safer Gaming, Better gaming habits, Know how to game
  • Games for device only, gaming with friends online privately & importantly, Public Servers 
  • Stop cyberbullying - Know when to report bullying & invite Police into school
  • No Sexting at all - tackle it head-on.
  • Introduce a standard social profile for social media
  • TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, etc - Show the kids how to build safer profiles
  • New thinking needed for phone addiction


  • Switch of In-App purchasing
  • X amount of time per day
  • No Public server gaming 
  • Consider a VPN
  • Check Pegi dot org for game rating, age, description
  • ​Playing with mates, not strangers.

Covid-19 changed gaming forever by bringing huge numbers of girls into gaming, which was not the case before C-19. Polling in classrooms in 2022 shows that girls are more likely to play creative games such as Minecraft and ROBLOX and less likely to play leisure-oriented games like FIFA, for example. That may change as games develop a focus on girls in the future. However, we found most schools this year were not aware of this change,

Social Media

  • Private Mode
  • Friends only
  • Friends not followers
  • Limited numbers of friends that you can validate.

At the moment, Safer Internet Day focuses School's attention briefly on internet safety. Schools Heads, Principals etc, organise an internet safety speaker for the school and or parents.  

At a minimum, schools ought to ensure kids and teenagers are briefed twice a month on online safety with a strong emphasis on common sense and being able to put the phone down. Social media profile for kids.

  • Gaming
  • Social Media
  • Addiction
  • General online safety incl. cyberbullying

Every child leaving school must be able to properly use Microsoft Office, especially Word & Excel, to write an email (not a block of text)

Articles of Interest

Articles, Links & Connections from the Internet Safety Talks site you might find interesting

  1. 5 things a child mustn't share
  2. What is Sexting
  3. Help, I just saw a naked picture of my teen on her phone


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