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Keeping children safe online for Safer Internet Day 2024

Published: 5 February 2024

Tuesday 6 February is Safer Internet Day 2024.

This year we are highlighting the four key questions which children and young people should keep in mind when they are looking to share personal information about themselves online:
  • Who is asking?
  • What do they want to know?
  • Why do they want it?
  • Where will it go?
These four key questions form the backdrop to the ODPA’s children’s book ‘Warro goes on an adventure’, and feature throughout its outreach in local schools.

Children are spending ever increasing amounts of time immersed in the digital world and many communicate with their friends and peers through social media platforms, often before the recommended age limits.

The digital era brings with it many benefits to connect and engage online, but there are also risks which parents, carers, children and young people need to consider.

Just last week, Guernsey Police warned that children as young as seven were being encouraged to share explicit images of themselves in a local Snapchat group, prompting the ODPA to put out an advisory about the present risk to children and their personal information.

To repeat these key messages, the ODPA is advising parents to:

(i) have conversations with their children regarding the reputational and long-term risks associated with sharing personal information via such networks, including personal photos, that could then find an indelible presence online

(ii) ensure children are not using social networks or apps if they’re under the authorised age for those networks/apps (13 for Snapchat).

The Bailiwick’s Data Protection Commissioner, Brent Homan, commented, “Safeguarding children’s privacy rights is a collective responsibility calling for a community response.”

The ODPA are also reminding parents, carers and young people that there is a wide selection of resources and advice available on the ODPA’s website ‘Children & Young People’ area.

There are also quizzes for children, and top tips for parents/carers on UK Safer Internet Centre’s website. The UK Safer Internet Centre is a partnership of three charities: Childnet International, Internet Watch Foundation and South West Grid for Learning.