Telecommunications provider Flow is urging all stakeholders to make the Internet a safer place for all, especially young children and teenagers, as the world celebrates Safer Internet Day today.

This year’s theme is ‘Be the Change: Unite for a better Internet’.

“From cyberbullying to social networking, each year Safer Internet Day aims to raise awareness of emerging online issues and chooses a topic reflecting current concerns. The Internet provides excellent learning and communication opportunities but it also opens the door to some unwanted elements,” said Kayon Wallace, Director of Corporate Communications & Stakeholder Management at FLOW.

“Safer Internet Day is celebrated by hundreds of countries around the world, and at Flow, we are concentrating our efforts this year on promoting the healthy use of the Internet and connectivity among our young people, while also zooming in on the issue of human trafficking, sexual grooming and other illegal actions linked to online activities which are unfortunately on the rise,” added Wallace.

We will be spending the day at the Mona High School in Kingston where students from both Mona and other schools in the community will be engaged in topical discussions with influential persons and FLOW executives,” she said.

“Our children are spending more and more time online, and with this trend, we are seeing a diversification in the dangers they face.  Parents/caregivers must make it a priority to familiarize themselves with the devices and media that their children are using,” Wallace noted.

As part of Safer Internet Day activities, Flow is providing parents and children with safety tips on how to use the Internet more safely, as follows:

• Keep computers in a high-traffic area of your home and establish limits for which online sites children may visit and for how long. Most children also have mobile access so make sure to monitor cell phones, gaming devices and laptops as well.

• Remember to surf the Internet with your children and let them show you what they like to do online.

• Encourage regular dialogue with your children and make it your business to know who is connecting with your children online.

• Set rules for social networking, instant messaging, e-mailing, online gaming, and the use of webcams.”

According to research conducted by Internet security company ESET to mark Safer Internet Day, Flow said millions of children around the world are being exposed to a wide range of online threats at an increasingly young age, with less than half of parents using parental controls to block unsuitable material.

The research also noted that over the last eighteen months, almost 80 per cent of parents bought their children an Internet-enabled device. However, parental controls available within anti-virus software, online or the device itself are only being used by half of all parents.

[Source:-Jamaica observer]