6 February 2015
Today is Safer Internet Day, which sees hundreds of organisations getting involved to help promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.
The day is all about highlighting the positive uses of technology and exploring the role we can all play in helping to create a better and safer online community.
Here at Virgin Media we believe the internet is a fantastic resource but we are well aware of the challenges our customers may face when surfing the web. That’s why we went on a journey in 2012 to listen to our customers concerns. We heard that the benefits of the web far outweigh the negatives, but parents wanted some extra support when it comes to keeping their families safe online. It was this insight that led us to create Switched on Families.
Switched on Families is about giving parents clear, honest, useful (and sometimes even fun) support to make sure your family gets the best from the web. It is a web platform that sits as part of virginmedia.com and covers information for parents on all the big digital issues like who to trust, digital addition, what to share, and how to play nice online.
But we didn’t stop there. The website also contains The Switched on Families Playbook - an interactive guide to help parents figure out what the web can do to support their child’s development, as well as the potential challenges and solutions. Parents and guardians will be able to try out practical and interactive activities such as a kids v adults quiz on digital knowledge or a fun device to check kids digital footprint.
In February 2014, alongside Switched on Families, we’re also introduced a new network parental controls application, Web Safe. Web Safe will work with any internet enabled device connected to the home broadband connection. It will help protect children online, by blocking access to certain types of websites. All new customers are given an active choice on whether or not to install Web Safe and the same choice will be rolled out to the entire broadband base by the end of 2014.
In October we went a step further and commissioned the Oxford Internet Institute to undertake ground-breaking research into building children’s online resilience, to better understand how children can get the best from the online world. The Institute’s findings supported what we already believed – that resilient children get more out of the online world. This was proof that filters alone will not keep children safe, they need to be combined with supportive parenting.
As part of our commitment to helping parents keep their families safe online we also joined forces with BT, TalkTalk and Sky to launch and fund Internet Matters, a world-leading child internet safety organisation, in May 2014.
Internet Matters offers information about many of the issues and technologies that children may come across in the online world, providing up to date and relevant information available about online safety to parents.
Liberty Global, our parent company, is also doing some great things for Safer Internet Day. They have partnered with Google and European Schoolnet to launch an extended teacher-designed educational resource to support the development of critical thinking and digital empowerment in young people. This builds on the youth-led handbook that the partnership produced last year.
These great resources are all available at webwewant.eu, which Liberty Global has specifically created for Safer Internet Day.
Happy Safer Internet Day!