What is safer internet day, what is it, and why it matters?

10 min read
Adem Asha

Safer Internet Day, celebrated annually on February 7th, is a global effort to promote a safer and more secure online environment for all users, especially children and young people. This year, Safer Internet Day 2024 will take place on Tuesday, February 6th.

In the digital world, the internet has become an integral part of our daily lives and has revolutionized how we communicate, access information, and conduct business. However, with this newfound convenience and freedom comes significant risks and challenges, including online harassment, cyberbullying, identity theft, and exposure to harmful content. Safer Internet Day aims to raise awareness of these issues and promote responsible and safe online behavior, helping create a more secure and trusted digital environment for everyone.

What is safer internet day?

Safer Internet Day is an international observance that was established by the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) in 2004. The goal of Safer Internet Day is to raise awareness and promote the safe and responsible use of the Internet, especially among children and young people. The day provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations, and governments worldwide to come together and engage in discussions and activities aimed at creating a safer and more secure online environment.

Think of SID as a digital check-up for your online habits. Just like you get regular physical check-ups to maintain your health, Safer Internet Day reminds you to assess and improve your online behavior to keep yourself and your personal information safe.

It's a day to reflect on how you can use the internet more securely and responsibly, whether it's by setting privacy settings, avoiding clicking on suspicious links, or being mindful of the information you share online.

The internet is like a big city, and just like you wouldn't wander around an unfamiliar city at night without taking precautions, you should be cautious about the information you share online. By participating in SID, you can learn how to stay safe online, just like you would learn how to stay safe in a new city.

Why is SID celebrated?

Safer Internet Day is celebrated to raise awareness about the importance of online safety and to promote responsible and secure use of technology and the Internet. As the digital world continues to grow and expand, it is more important than ever to ensure that individuals, especially children and young people, have the knowledge and skills to use the internet safely and responsibly.

Safer Internet Day 2023 cover photo by GoDaddy

Imagine a world where everyone has the confidence to online experiences without fear of cyberbullying, online harassment, identity theft, or exposure to harmful content. This is the world that Safer Internet Day strives to create. By raising awareness and promoting safe and responsible online behavior, Safer Internet Day helps to create a digital environment that is inclusive, respectful, and secure for all users.

The internet is like a giant library, and just as you wouldn't want to stumble upon an inappropriate book in a library, you don't want to accidentally come across harmful content online.

Safer Internet Day celebrates the importance of being informed, knowing how to stay safe online, and reporting any suspicious or harmful content to the appropriate authorities.

Safer Internet Day is an opportunity for individuals, organizations, and governments around the world to come together and take a stand for a better, safer, and more inclusive internet. By promoting safe and responsible online behavior, Safer Internet Day helps to create a digital environment that is accessible and enjoyable for everyone.

Related: Increase your website’s security without hiring an expert.

What is the theme of Safer Internet Day 2024?

The theme for Safer Internet Day 2024, “Inspiring change? Making a difference, managing influence and navigating change online,” is a call to action for everyone who uses the internet, especially children and young people. Set to be observed on 6th February 2024, this theme emphasizes the dynamic nature of the digital world and the need for proactive engagement in shaping a safer online environment.

Safer Internet Day for your business

This year’s theme is built upon three key pillars:

  1. Inspiring Change: This aspect of the theme underscores the power of individual and collective action in driving positive changes in the online world. It encourages users, particularly younger ones, to not only be consumers of digital content but also to become creators and influencers who contribute positively to the online community. By inspiring change, we aim to foster a culture of empathy, respect, and kindness in digital interactions.
  2. Making a Difference: The focus here is on the impact that each person can have in making the online world a safer and more inclusive space. This involves understanding the power of our digital footprints and the lasting effects of our actions online. Whether it's standing up against cyberbullying, advocating for privacy and security, or promoting digital literacy, every action counts towards making a difference.
  3. Managing Influence and Navigating Change Online: As the digital landscape continually evolves, this pillar highlights the importance of being adaptable and resilient. It involves educating children and young people about how to manage the influence of social media, discerning between helpful and harmful content, and making informed decisions. It also means equipping them with the skills to navigate through the ever-changing online world safely and confidently.

Safer Internet Day 2024 aims to answer crucial questions in line with its theme:

  • How can individuals, especially young people, become agents of change in the digital world?
  • What strategies can be employed to manage the influence of digital content and creators?
  • In what ways can we adapt to and navigate the rapidly evolving digital landscape to ensure a safe and positive experience for all?

By addressing these questions, Safer Internet Day 2024 seeks to empower individuals to not only use the internet safely and responsibly but to also become proactive participants in creating a better online world.

Safer internet centre in your country.

The official Safer Internet Day website has a list of locations per country and initiatives going on, educational resources, and other functionalities for internet safety.

What are the top ways to protect yourself online?

Safer Internet Day for your business pt 2

As the online world continues to connect us in new and exciting ways, it's important to remember that there are also risks associated with our online activities. SID, celebrated on Tuesday, 6 February 2024, is a great opportunity to reflect on how we can protect ourselves online. Here are the top ways to do so, based on advice from experts at the UK Safer Internet Centre, stakeholders at the European Commission, and online safety organizations such as ConnectSafely and Insafe.

  1. Media Literacy: A crucial aspect of online safety is media literacy, which involves being able to critically evaluate online content and sources. By developing media literacy skills, we can identify and avoid misinformation, scams, and other forms of harmful content.
  2. Strong Passwords: Using strong and unique passwords for your online accounts is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect yourself online and increase your cybersecurity. Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts and consider using a password manager to keep track of your login information.
  3. Careful Sharing: Be mindful of what you share online, especially on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, X, Tiktok, and LinkedIn. This includes personal information, photos, and opinions. Consider the potential audience for the content you're sharing, and think about how it could impact your mental health, self-esteem, and relationships.
  4. Keeping Up-to-date: Stay informed about the latest online safety news and trends by following reliable sources and providers, such as the UK Safer Internet Centre, the European Commission, and ConnectSafely. You can also consult the online safety calendar on saferinternetday.org for a list of events and activities related to Safer Internet Day.
  5. conversation starters and resources to help families and friends discuss the responsible and safe use of technology. These conversations can help to build media literacy skills, increase awareness of online risks, and promote a better internet for everyone.
  1. Online Safety Apps: There are a number of online safety apps available that can help you monitor your online activities and protect your privacy. Some popular options include Net Nanny, Qustodio, and Norton Family Premier.
  2. Reach Out for Help: If you encounter an online safety issue or need support, there are a number of resources available to help you. The UK Safer Internet Centre helpline provides free and confidential advice on online safety issues. Additionally, many online safety organizations, including Insafe, offer resources and support for children, young people, and carers.

By incorporating these tips into your online activities, you can help to create a safer and better internet for everyone. Safer Internet Day is not just about a single day of the year, but about promoting a positive and safe online environment throughout the year. Policymakers, stakeholders, and individuals can all play a role in creating a safer online world, and it starts with having these important conversations and taking steps to protect yourself and others.

Safer Internet Day frequently asked questions (FAQ):

Is Safer Internet Day real?

Yes, Safer Internet Day is indeed a real and globally recognized event. It began as an awareness-raising campaign in Europe in 2003 and has since expanded to be celebrated in over 100 countries worldwide. This initiative is coordinated globally by the Brussels-based Insafe/INHOPE Network, with support from the European Commission, and has been officially hosted in the U.S. by ConnectSafely since 2013​​.

The primary aim of Safer Internet Day is to create a safer and better internet, where every user is empowered to use technology in a responsible, respectful, critical, and creative manner. The day is marked by a variety of events and activities organized by different stakeholders, including schools, communities, and families, focusing on topics such as generative AI, media literacy, civility, cyberbullying, online wellness, and internet security​​.

Key aspects of Safer Internet Day include:

  • Protection, Empowerment, and Respect: These are the core values that the day promotes, especially for children and teenagers, who are among the most vulnerable internet users. The day focuses on creating an environment where young users are protected from online risks and are equipped with the tools and knowledge to navigate the digital landscape safely​​.
  • Involvement of Various Groups: The campaign reaches out not only to children and young people but also to parents, educators, social workers, industry professionals, decision-makers, and politicians. It encourages everyone to play their part in creating a better internet​​.
  • Global Participation: Over 100 countries participate in Safer Internet Day, reflecting its international scope and the global importance of internet safety​​.

Who started Safer Internet Day?

Safer Internet Day was initiated as part of the EU SafeBorders project in 2004 and was further developed by the Insafe network starting in 2005. Insafe is a European network of Safer Internet Centres (SICs). Each national centre implements awareness and educational campaigns, operates a helpline, and works closely with youth to ensure a multi-stakeholder approach to creating a better internet.

The day was originally established within the European region but has since gained global recognition, now celebrated in approximately 190 countries worldwide. The initiative has grown significantly over the years, highlighting various online safety issues such as cyberbullying, social networking, and digital identity.

Additionally, the concept of Safer Internet Day Committees was introduced in 2009 to strengthen bonds with countries outside the Insafe network and promote a harmonized approach to the campaign globally. These committees work closely with the Safer Internet Day Coordination Team, based in the European Union, to facilitate the global celebration of this day