A better internet starts with you!

| by Paula Byers

So, I have to confess this is a little bit of a soap box of mine.  I have long believed that responsible use of the internet (and by that token Social Media is a large part of it) starts with us.  We all have a duty of care: to ourselves, and others, to make sure we are using it in a caring and empathetic way; to ensure that we are teaching our young people what it means to be responsible online, so that the generations coming through understand how their actions online impact on others.

I don't believe that it is all about having a nanny state that controls everything.  Don't get me wrong, whilst controls are important (especially on devices that are accessing the internet in the ever-increasing IoT world we live in), we can't absolve ourselves of our own responsibilities.  However you interact with people, it should be about ensuring that we treat people with respect and empathy.

Safer Internet Day 2018

That's why today, of all days, I am writing this blog to support the campaign by the UK Safer Internet Centre for today, Tuesday 6 February 2018 as Safer Internet Day.  They hope to reach schools, colleges, parents and many others across the country today and help inspire a national conversation about using technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively.

There are several hashtags on twitter: #ItStartsWithUs, #SID2018 & #SaferInternetDay to name just a few.

However, to do our small part of that we have signed up to their pledge.

Our Pledge

LimeCloud have a 4 point pledge to support Safer Internet Day:

  • be empathetic to those we interact with online
  • encourage people (especially young people) to use the internet responsbily
  • ensure our own internet use is for social good
  • aim to be a positive digital role model

In our own sphere of influence, we hope to demonstrate our commitment to this by our own responsible use of social media, blogs and our use of other cloud tools.  Today we say it is not acceptable to behave negatively online, (in the hope that you remain anonymous).  Our mantra is to treat others you interact with online the same as you would treat them in person.  Whilst this may not mean much to those with no social standards, to use this means a lot.

We try to educate and support, where we can, those for whom using digital tools is a daunting task. By ensuring privacy settings are correct for their circumstances and teaching them how to use tools in the correct way, hopefully they can engage online in a positive way and 

Engaging young people is particularly important.  Just applying a 'blanket ban' is not an answer, it just sends this underground.  Much better to engage with them, start the conversation and more importantly continue it.  We shouldn't just assume that talking about it once when the are deemed to be of an 'appropriate age' is enough: technology is ever-changing and new platforms appear and even the way they are used changes all the time. 

If you or your organisation would like to register your support and take the pledge too, click on the logo below:

It relies on all of us

We can all do our part by not accepting bad behaviour particularly in social media.  Block and report people on social media if behaviour is unacceptable and ensure they are not given a voice by sharing inappropriate posts.

There are many positive examples online.  We see it ourselves in our own @LimeOscar's #BTPosse twitter pals, for example; raising hundreds of pounds for charity, to raising awareness for lost/found dogs to re-unite them with their owners, or raising awareness of health issues like #SybilonTour for Huntington's Disease.  

Communication is key, and never is this more importance than online, where things can be misconstrued if we are not careful.  But being supportive must be our priority which is demonstrated by the support for initiatives such as Sarah Millican's #JoinIn campaign at Christmas, or the #TimeToTalk campaign at the beginning of February for Mental Health Week.

These are just a few specific examples, but I could go on listing many other online communities that use technology for social good.  We need to celebrate and support them more to ensure the noise of this support starves the oxygen from the negative online instances to suffocate them out of existence.

Above all, whichever platform you choose to engage on, make sure you focus on the positive and stay safe online people.  Make sure that whatever you are doing you:

Create, Connect and Share Respect . . .

. . . because a better internet starts with you!


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