Safer Internet Day took place on February 5th 2019 and, with almost 145,000 participants, this year was the biggest and best one yet!
Marked across the world, the theme for Safer Internet Day 2019 was “Together for a Better Internet”, and in Ireland there was a huge range of activities, events, and campaigns by students, taking place in over 400 schools and organisations to promote online safety.
Some of the activities that took place on the day included online safety workshops, lessons, Garda talks and parent evenings. Students led the way in their own schools by running competitions, recording podcasts, making movies, creating colourful posters and online safety charters. Many schools extended Safer Internet Day to a whole week or month of activities.
Activity across Ireland
A host of organisations and industries across Ireland promoted safe online practices to mark Safer Internet Day.
Twitter Ireland hosted a panel discussion about the four R’s of online safety – Respect, Responsibility, Reasoning, and Resilience. Panel members Senator Aodhán Ó’Ríordáin, Andy Lee, Louise Bruton, and Ellie Kisyombe shared their professional and personal experiences on the topic. Google Ireland used Safer Internet Day as an opportunity to release new password and account protection tools for users, whilst tech giant Microsoft Ireland also marked Safer Internet Day by publishing its findings of its Digital Civility Index (DCI). The index shows how safe and civil each country is based on their online interactions. Results showed that Ireland ranked 11th out of the 22 countries surveyed. The UK was rated as the safest and most civil county, closely followed by the US.
Trend Micro launched its video competition, eir Ireland released new cyberbullying leaflets with each new device sold and Cybersafe Ireland published results of a survey on the digital habits of children aged 8-10 and also created a leaflet for Parents of young children.
To mark Safer Internet Day 2019, Webwise launched a new educational resource called ‘HTML Heroes – An Introduction to the Internet’. It is an interactive programme aimed at promoting safe online practices for pupils in 3rd and 4th classes. The programme contains 8 lessons and is supported by three colourful animations where Archie and Ruby, two USB characters, perform catchy and informative internet safety raps. The resource introduces students to the internet, explains how it works, and addresses key online safety topics such as privacy, cyberbullying and evaluating information online. It also looks at emerging concerns about technology including screen time, online gaming, online advertising, and social media.
As part of the launch, 3,100 primary schools received a free HTML Heroes pack which included a USB stick with the HTML Heroes animations, teacher booklet with activity sheets, instructions for suing the resource and animations and a copy of a free scripted parents online safety talk. It is free for all schools to access at www.webwise.ie/html-heroes