Today is Safer Internet Day, an international event where people and organizations come together to work towards creating a better internet for all. Now, more than ever, it is essential that we all learn how to critically evaluate the information we see and hear. The last few years have been marred by allegations of political interference, misinformation, so-called “fake news,” and conspiracies—many of which are shared widely on the web. Because there are extremes on every side, it can be difficult at times to find safe, reliable information and see a balanced view. If we only listen to things we believe in, we risk becoming part of an echo chamber and never seeing or hearing other valid points of view.
This year, the themes for Safer Internet Day are “The internet starts with I & ends with T” (U.S.) and “An internet we trust: exploring reliability in the online world” (U.K.). In the U.S., “starts with I” asks everyone to think about “what I can do to make the internet better,” while “ends with T” reminds us that we’re all in this together. That includes families, companies, governments, and everyone else. We all have a role to play. Today’s also the perfect time to talk with your kids and teens about how they critically evaluate the information they see online. How do they check facts? Here are some ideas:
- Suggest that they look at multiple sources of information.
- Ask a trusted person, perhaps a family member or teacher. Get a few opinions!
- Visit news fact-checking services, such as Snopes, which they can easily access.
- Talk about specific topics such as understanding the difference between bias, opinion, word of mouth, and academic research. How might they impact your decision making?
Here’s how Roblox is playing its role
For Safer Internet Day, we wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the ongoing work we’ve been doing to promote the safe and responsible use of technology.
In 2020, as part of our Digital Civility and Education efforts, we launched an activity for schools where young people can play a scavenger hunt game on Roblox and test their critical thinking skills. For Safer Internet Day, why not take some time to have fun, play together, and check your fact-checking abilities?
We also have another new collectible item available for a limited time to mark the event again this year. Encourage your kids and teens to wear this hat with pride and help us spread the message while they play their part to be “together for a better internet.” The more people that get involved, the more impactful the day will be! We’re also encouraging all our employees around the world to help raise awareness on their social channels by using the hashtags #AnInternetWeTrust and #SID2021 and talking with their families about this year’s themes.
In the background, we’ve been recording a new podcast with Jordan Shapiro, author of The New Childhood: Raising Kids to Thrive in a Connected World. This will be launching in the next few months on all your favorite streaming platforms. With guests including game developers, some of the world’s leading academics, pediatric specialists, educators, and people dedicated to making the internet a nicer and safer place, it promises to be a great resource for anyone interested in “the digital future.”
Lastly, ConnectSafely hosts Safer Internet Day in America and kindly asked us to help raise awareness by participating in a special event dubbed an “Industry Insight.” We joined multiple big tech companies to talk about our efforts to build safe, healthy communities. You can watch it here.
What can you and your family do to make the internet a better place in 2021?