On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security honored ‘Safer Internet Day 2020,’ a worldwide event every February that is aimed at promoting the safe and positive use of digital technology for all users, especially children and teens.
This began as an initiative of the European Union in 2004, which has now grown to unite millions of people from around 150 countries worldwide. Currently, Safer Internet Day is hosed in the U.S. by ConnectSafely, a non-profit organization that is “dedicated to educating users of connected technology about safety, privacy, and security.”
But it’s not the only non-profit tackling Safer Internet Day and online behavior, which requires even more cooks in the digital kitchen.
YMCAs and PTAs across the country have committed to hosting events on this day and throughout the month of February to continue advocating for the cause. Even Google’s Be Internet Awesome program is partnering with key organizations, including the National PTA, ConnectSafely, Scholastic, and YMCA to offer workshops and trainings for families.
The ‘Rosetta Stone’ for Promoting Good Digital Hygeine
Excitingly enough, Grit Daily’s partner and the renown Palo Alto-based nonprofit, The Cybersmile Foundation, have announced the launch of its newest Interactive Education Program that puts users in front of the very issues they are most likely to face online. The program includes twelve educational modules, including but not limited to positive gaming, parental guidance, LGBTQ+ awareness, livestreaming basics, digital civility, gender awareness, content authenticity, online safety, and using emojis and beauty to bully others.
Think Rosetta Stone, but for teaching people how to be kind to one another. And yes, this is absolutely necessary in today’s digital age, because for some reason, we still have trouble with this across social media.
Digital Hygeine On a Global Scale
Over the years, cybersecurity experts such as Robert Herjavec, CEO and Founder of The Herjavec Group and ‘shark’ on ABC’s Shark Tank and Mark Cuban have advocated for good digital hygiene. ‘Cyber hygiene,’ according to Herjavec, his means changing your passwords, having strong user access and control management in addition to course device management, and patching on time, managing your rogue assets, and of course, using multi factor authentication.
Dan Raisbeck, co-founder of The Cybersmile Foundation expressed his excitement about the program’s launch today:
“We are very excited about the launch of our brand-new interactive education program,” Raisbeck added. “Developing scalable education solutions has been something we have been focusing on for many years and today we are able to offer a meaningful education program that can scale almost infinitely.”
Educating Brands On Positive Promotion
The program in itself is suitable for all ages and free for schools and parents to use. Finding new, innovative ways to minimize bullying in the classroom and online, is a huge priority in the educational system. While you don’t get a certificate so to speak for completing a module, you do get a personalized social media post upon each passage of a program module.
What’s interesting about this program launch is the incentive for powerhouse brands to really take a stand and unite with Cybersmile in creating tailored educational modules that are relevant to its own communities.
In the social media communities, providing “value” is the ultimate goal when it comes to growing engagement. Forget the inorganic methods of growing your followers — it’s the value that truly resonates with one’s audience that is able to truly persuade the mind of a user.
I can definitely see these types of incentives attracting the attention for platforms such as TikTok, Twitch, and Fortnite, which have recently come under heavy pressure from the government, regulators, and of course parents.
Iain Alexander, Head of Engagement at Cybersmile went into the co-branded educational modules, adding that the company “can even work together with brands on joint research to ensure that modules are delivering the most current information and solutions possible” to internet users around the world.
The program content will be regularly updated and offers brands the opportunity to support existing modules or work with Cybersmile in developing educational modules which are perfectly aligned with their CSR objectives and brand purpose. The program also offers internal and staff training opportunities to companies of all sizes.
But really, this day is a testament to this year’s overall theme of advocating for a better, more secure internet that encourages everyone to play their part in creating a more digitally hygienic space.
So what can you do to help create a safer, better internet experience?
#1 — Talk With Your Kids
This is a good time to have a good ‘ole family discussion on the websites and apps your children are on.
#2 — Creating Guidelines and Boundaries
Informing your children on what kind of communication is and is not appropriate online only helps them understand why you keep using the word “no.”
#3 — Educate Yourself
You’re never too old to educate yourself. Ensuring you stay up-to-date with the latest apps and websites your children are using will keep you “in the know.” But, it will also allow you to better understand the risks your children face (or even you face) when browsing online.