“Leaving the internet better than you found it is your responsibility.”
— FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn
Hundreds of students, educators, social media representatives, and internet safety experts came together for the 2018 Safer Internet Day event, which was held in Austin, Texas and hosted by online safety nonprofit ConnectSafely. The student-driven event was also streamed live to classrooms and individuals around the country.
The theme of this year’s event was “Create, connect and share respect: A better internet starts with you.” Speakers discussed online safety, freedom of speech, how to protect personal information online, and the importance of internet access. Those speakers came from a range of industries — education, government, tech — and included FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, After School’s Michael Callahan, Google’s Vandana Bharvani, Facebook’s Karuna Nain, and National PTA President James Accomando.
“The decisions we make today will affect you the rest of your lives,” explained Commissioner Clyburn, who stressed that the students in attendance pay attention to the decisions made by the FCC. Student involvement was a constant theme during the event. Several students joined a panel of social media representatives while others asked questions.
The panel included After School’s Michael Callahan, who shared his story of how being a target of bullying and assault as a youth influenced him to create the After School app. The app debuted in 2014 as an anonymous message board for students to communicate with each other. Callahan noted that After School had to learn quickly after launching that it had to “handle safety correctly and take responsibility.” After School now offers its users many opportunities to engage in social change and digital citizenship campaigns.
This was After School’s third straight year participating in the event, and this year we were proud to support the event as a Partner. Other event partners included iKeepSafe, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, #ICANHELP, Common Sense Education, National PTA, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and several others.
“Being a part of Safer Internet Day is important to After School,” said After School VP Jeff Collins, who also attended the event. “Social media companies need to work together within the industry and with leaders from the non-profit and government sectors to improve safety on our platforms and to work towards giving users better, safer, experiences.
To learn more about the event and to participate in future Safer Internet Day activities, visit http://saferinternetday.us.