Searching news websites for stories about children and cyber safety can make a parent wonder about throwing the modem out the window.

It can be a scary cyber world out there, but it doesn’t need to be. Knowledge is power, and educating our children about using the internet safely is essential.
Schools play a key role in educating our children about cyber safety and most schools have strong programmes in place to ensure that in the classroom children act responsibly online and know how to avoid the dangers.

At our school we work hard with whanau and students to develop digital citizens. Children are well aware of what is acceptable and what to do when they end up somewhere they did not expect and when pop ups appear. Digital citizenship is now part of the culture they embrace when using any device, and the children manage themselves very, very well.

International Safer Internet Day is happening on Tuesday 9 February 2016, with the theme of “Play your part for a better internet”. NetSafe is coordinating New Zealand’s Safer Internet Day as part of a global event involving over 100 countries. NZEI Te Riu Roa is an official supporter of the day.

Schools and students can get involved and it is a great opportunity to reinforce what you are already teaching students about online safety. You could also let parents know about Safer Internet Day and refer them to NetSafe’s parent resources. NetSafe also has a resource kit for schools.

Rikki Sheterline is Principal of Turaki School in Taumaranui and is NZEI’s spokesman for Safer Internet Day 2016.