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Creating a Better Internet Together

As you may already know, ‘Internet Safety Week’ was at the start of February. We had a short talk about it in school, including the importance of using the Internet correctly. As a member of the Ballymena Today Youth Team I thought that it would be good for me to write about creating a Better Internet Together – after all I use the internet for school, at home and for blogging here at Ballymena Today!

Creating a Better Internet Together

Technology is constantly growing… and there is no stopping it. Although it all may seem good, it is important to remember how to keep control of what you put up online. Here are some statistics about the Internet, taken from UK Safer Internet Centre:

More than 4 in 5 of people are exposed to online hate – 82% of 13-18s said that they have seen something hateful on the internet in the last year.
Over 2 in 3 of young people know how to report online hate to a social network – but in practice only 1 in 5 reported online hate when they saw it.
The statistics show that more action needs to be taken place, so all young people should do their part to keep themselves, or even the people around them, safe online.

Here are some tips to help you get started on creating a better internet together:
Think, “Would I say this to this person’s face?”
If you are tempted to hurt someone online; think about the person’s feelings. When using social media, people often criticise or hurt people online, saying things that they wouldn’t say directly to them, face to face. Therefore, when replying or posting messages, imagine you are having a proper conversation, and think how you would react in real life.
Have patience when replying to messages or comments.
People online often click before they take time to think and it may seem very personal. However, they may just be saying something in the heat of the moment. If anybody ever attacks you quickly with words, think twice before continuing the argument – fighting back will only make it worse. Keep yourself in the right.
Ignore people who aim to create a lot of negativity online.
There are people who are just out to start arguments online. If any of these people annoy you online, it is best to block them and tell someone. Ignore what they write – and don’t take it personally.
Everyone online is a real person!
When making comments online, remember that when you make fun of or criticise anybody online or their work, you are actually hurting a real person, with thoughts, feelings and emotions. Keep this in mind, and before you write anything, think “Would I like this said to me?”
Respect other people’s opinions.
I’m sure you have heard the expression, “each to one’s own”. Basically, remember that everybody has their own opinion. For example, when commenting on YouTube videos, some people may like them and find them useful, but others may find them annoying or nasty. Remember that the comment sections are there for people to benefit from. Respect that other people’s views and ideas may be different from yours – and there is no need to reply to every opinionated comment that is posted online.

These are just some tips to remember when writing things online or on social media. Please remember that sites are there for people to enjoy – so don’t take advantage of them and abuse them!
There are lots of good websites which can give you help and even more tips on how to create a better internet together. One which I found especially helpful and which inspired some of the ideas for this blog is found at personalexcellence.co.
However, amongst all the negativity and bad points about the internet and social media, as long as you know how to talk online respectively and positively, feel free to communicate on the sites, like Ballymena Today, and enjoy them for the purpose of which they were put up! That way we really will be creating a better internet together.