Modern technology gives us many things.

Today we celebrate Safer Internet Day

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Today is Safer Internet Day (SID) – a day to promote safe and responsible use of technology with the theme “connecting generations and educating each other”.

“Discover the digital world together …. safely” is Safer Internet Day’s slogan and is encouraging families to work together to stay safe online.

The internet is a part of our everyday lives and taking part in Safer Internet Day is an opportunity for younger tech-savvy users to help older users and share their online experiences.

And it’s not just the computer where families can get online. Our mobiles are on their way to becoming the most popular way to access the internet no matter where we happen to be.

Safer Internet Day also coincides with new research by the Sellenger Centre for Research, Law, Justice and Social Change released at Edith Cowan University which looks at issues around social networking and privacy.

The findings include the fact that 23 per cent of all teenagers are online for more than four hours on a weekday. And that’s not including the time they use the internet for schoolwork.

On weekends this figure increases to 40 per cent.

Among teenagers, 85 per cent use social networking sites with 41 per cent admitting to sharing personal details like mobile and home numbers and email addresses.

Alarmingly, 24 per cent of teenagers have shared their social networking site’s password.

“We need to guide the younger generation and the choices they make. Importantly any safety approach must be a combination of evidence-based behavioural strategies supported by cutting edge technological solutions,” said Sellenger Centre Associate Director Dr Julian Dooley.

Internet security company Trend Micro has some advice for staying safe online.

These include watching what you say online and checking the apps you download to your Android smartphone are trustworthy and are not secretly tapping into your private information.

“It is crucial that we educate kids and teenagers to use the internet wisely and safely,” says Trend Micro’s APAC product marketing manager Tina Su.

“The IT industry can help by providing the tools and information for parents to become aware of their kids’ online activities, to generate healthy family dialogue, and to prevent problems before they happen.

“Children are increasingly active on computers, and exposed to personal safety and financial risks as a result, but research indicates that parents are not necessarily taking steps to shield their children from dangers online.  

“According to one survey last year, 83% of parents reported strong concerns about what their children are exposed to online, but only 30% of parents reported visiting their child’s social media profiles.

“Education is key. Families need to gain a better understanding of how online risks look, act and feel so they can confidently reap the benefits of communicating and connecting online,” Ms Wu added.

Trend Micro’s tips for general internet safety

Trend Micro’s tips for social networking safety

Trend Micro’s safety tips on cyberbullying

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