AWS Public Sector Blog

Empowering adults and children to make the internet a safer place

This is a guest post by Rachel Allman from 2Simple.

Safer Internet Day

Every year, Safer Internet Day brings together schools, teachers, parents, caregivers, and organisations around the world to promote a safer internet and the responsible use of online technology and mobile phones. This year on Tuesday, February 9, Safer Internet Day marks their 18th year, this year focusing on the topic, “An internet we trust: Exploring reliability in the online world.”

At 2Simple, we work with UK Safer Internet Centre to achieve two goals. First, teach children and young adults how to speak up to friends, family, teachers, and the wider community about their digital lives and any worries they might have. Second, teach parents, caregivers, and teachers how to speak with and listen to children, developing a deeper understanding of children’s digital lives. Last year, the UK Safer Internet Centre found that users downloaded educational resources 1,162,561 times to support the teaching of Safer Internet Day. Over 1,740 organisations, police forces, governments, and schools signed up as official supporters. 77% of children in the United Kingdom (UK) who were aware of Safer Internet Day felt more confident about what to do if they were worried about something online.

Who and what to trust: A guide to reliability online

This year, we are focusing on teaching what to trust online and supporting young people to question, challenge, and change the online world. The internet has a vast range of information and opportunities. It helps us see the world from different points of view. But we must ask ourselves: how do we separate fact from fiction? How do we decide what to believe online?

“We want to bring as many young people and adults together for a better internet. Our aim is to inspire a national conversation about using technology responsibly, respectfully, critically, and creatively,” said Kate Jones, deputy chief executive officer (CEO) of Childnet, one of the organising charities of Safer Internet Day. “Last year, half of children and young people in the UK aged 8-17 heard about Safer Internet Day, and this year we hope to reach even more young people than ever before.”

Childnet works directly with children and young people from the ages of 3 to 18 on a weekly basis, as well as parents, carers, teachers and professionals, finding out about their real experiences online, and the positive things they are doing as well as sharing safety advice. Since January 2011, in addition to their other work, Childnet has been one of the partners in the UK Safer Internet Centre, being a key stakeholder in the organisation of Safer Internet Day.

2Simple is an educational software company based in the UK. We support Safer Internet Day by creating and making online education resources available to thousands of teachers and children in the lead up to and on the day. Using Purple Mash, a cloud-based product by 2Simple, subscribers and non-subscribers can access Safer Internet Day resources.

2Simple has always been a supporter of Safer Internet Day and what it aims to achieve. Like many supporters, we create free resources and activities around the chosen theme, which can be accessed through our cross-curricular platform Purple Mash. With the support from Amazon Web Services (AWS), we help our users get the best possible experience, enabling all our current subscribers as well as the additional users to access our resources without interruption.

2Simple’s software is used by over two million learners in over 11,000 schools, in more than 74 countries worldwide. To handle this level of usage, particularly on busy days like Safer Internet Day, we rely on AWS to help scale up and down to meet demand using Amazon CloudWatch, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS), Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), AWS Auto Scaling, and Elastic Load Balancing.

This year, the theme of exploring reliability in the online world is more important than ever. With the prevalence of fake news, news, and headlines across multiple social media platforms, children need to learn how to spot reliable sources within the online world.

Resources to help make the internet safer

Parental support is key in promoting the use of a safer internet and teaching kids how to spot reliable sources online. That is why 2Simple, Childnet, and AWS collaborated on Safer Internet Day to bring parents a guide to “Exploring Reliability in the Online World: The Parent Guide.” This guide contains multiple resources for parents to support the teaching of online safety for ages 3 to 18. Parents can learn how to get the online safety conversation started, help children identify the reliability of sources and motives, and gain access to online education tools including AWS Educate and Amazon Future Engineer.

2Simple made their Safer Internet Day resources free for everyone. Click here to access these resources. And listen to an interview with Jacob Doran, head of technology at 2Simple, and Kate Jones, deputy chief executive officer at Childnet, on the AWS Fix This podcast.