South Africa’s Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) is reminding parents and guardians about the dangers of cyberbullying and other online-based threats to children ahead of Safer Internet Day (SID) on February 7, 2023. ISPA suggests that parents can mark SID by committing to being present, aware, and involved in their children’s online and offline activities. The organization believes that the most effective way to keep children safe is for parents to remain vigilant and not rely solely on high-tech interventions such as content blockers or monitoring apps.
In light of the growing number of young people who use the internet as their primary learning tool, ISPA calls on South African parents to spread the message of online safety and consider using parental controls to support their efforts. However, the association warns that parental controls are not 100% effective and should be used with open and honest communication with children.
ISPA provides step-by-step instructions for setting up parental controls on various devices and suggests that parents also focus on child behaviours and family values to help keep children safe online. This can include talking to children about the risks of the internet, drawing up social media and internet access contracts, limiting device access in bedrooms and at night, and committing the family’s values to paper.
The theme of this 20th Safer Internet Day is “Together for a better internet,” ISPA is joining the call for a worldwide web free of cyberbullying and other pressing online issues. SID is marked in over 200 countries worldwide, and in South Africa, the Film and Publication Board leads SID activities. ISPA is a recognized Industry Representative Body that has helped shape the ICT sector since 1996.