Is the Internet becoming safer or more dangerous? This
question is posed by the Safer Internet Day 2020 (SID) event, which calls attention
to a subject that should raise more significant concern than it does,
especially when it comes to kids and their interactions with the online world.
Safer Internet Day comes every February with a clear purpose. The event promotes the responsible use of online technologies, especially by children and young people. Like any other problem, society won’t be able to deal with it unless people are made aware that such issues even exist.
Under the motto “Together for a better
internet,” the campaign focuses on how the Internet can be made safer for
all users, and especially kids. Children are the most exposed because adults
are more likely to know what they are doing and how they are exposing their
lives online, but kids can lack such filters.
Companies and other institutions are working to create
safe environments, and some initiatives are more successful than others. In
2019, one measure stood above all. A recent settlement between Google and U.S.
Federal Trade Commission forced the company to make changes to online service
with worldwide repercussions.
“We are changing how we treat data for children’s content
on YouTube. Starting in about four months, we will treat data from anyone
watching children’s content on YouTube as coming from a child, regardless of
the age of the user,” said the company.
YouTube is the best example of a positive change that has
a tangible impact on Internet safety. Content creators now have ensured their
content is labeled for children, which changes how website visitors are tracked
across the Internet.
While the changes made by Google to YouTube are a step in
the right direction, numerous other websites provide content to kids without
labeling it correctly, which only begs for the usage of a proper parental
We also have to keep in mind that data breaches occur all the time, and sometimes they directly affect websites storing personal data such as names, email addresses, credit card information, and much more. In fact, using a tool that lets people know in real-time whether their data was leaked via a breach is the ideal scenario.
A better and safer Internet can be achieved by people
using a few good security practices. More often than not, basic security
measures are shirked or simply ignored. Using robust passwords, different for
each online service, and employing a powerful parental control solution should
be the bare minimum for all users.
How companies choose to deal with this type of data in
the future remains to be determined, but the current momentum is to stop them
from using metadata for marketing purposes. Events such as the Safer Internet
Day 2020 reminds everyone that users and corporations share the responsibility