SAFER INTERNET DAY 2021 celebrates the amazing range of information and opportunities online, and its potential to inform, connect and inspire us, whilst also looking at how young people can separate fact from fiction. The campaign focuses on how we can know what to trust online, supporting young people to question, challenge and change the online world. It will explore how influence, persuasion and manipulation can impact young people’s decisions, opinions and what they share online.
SAFER INTERNET DAY
AN INTERNET WE TRUST
Misinformation is inaccurate information shared by accident to confuse, mislead and influence where as Disinformation is inaccurate information shared on purpose to confuse, mislead and influence.
Fake news can be created to deliberately mislead, cause tension, present something in a negative or positive light or aim to make money in advertisements through clicks (clickbait).
Influencers recommend and promote products and services to a following of thousands or even millions. The most recognisable social media platforms for influencers are Instagram and TikTok and it is highly likely that you will be following at least one influencer online; whether it be a TV personality, celebrity, model or business guru. It is a form of Personal Branding.
When you visit multiple websites and engage with certain content online, a profile starts to form about you and your online habits and interests. Advertisers can target you based on your profile which makes you more likely to buy the product. Just like targeted ads, when you put something in a basket but leave the website, re-targeting ads can also target you when you visit other websites.
HOW TO SPOT FAKE NEWS
- Look at the page that link is on is the page trusted or clickbait?
- Look at the comments section, do people approve or disprove?
- Does the URL looks trustworthy
- Check for images and/or videos elsewhere that back up the story
- Is the person sharing it is using reliable sources
- Are others online actively supporting or disproving it?
- How many times has the post been ‘re-tweeted’, shared, liked?
- Check how many followers the person sharing it has
- Can you find the same news story on news sites you usually trust?
- Who is sharing the story. Username & profile picture ‘real’?
HOW TO SPOT INFLUENCER ADS?
- The post has been Paid for or Sponsored
- #ad shows clearly that the post is an advert
- competition generates more followers and interaction with product & influencer
- A caption is written directly to followers, like one friend to another friend
- The picture is usually the celebrity / model / influencer holding the product
- Likes & comments show large following and positive comments support the influencer’s claims about the product
HOW TO STOP TARGETED ADS
- on Facebook: in Settings, choose Ad Preferences and remove ads.
- on Twitter: in Privacy & Settings, choose Personalisation and Data and disable.
- on Instagram: in Settings you can see Ad information on engagement but you can report individual ‘Sponsored’ Ads for ‘I see this too often’.
- on Google: in Settings, choose Ad Settings and disable Ad Personalisation.
HOW DO THESE IMPACT ON ME?
First of all, it is important that you stay safe online, with your wellbeing, your finances and your mental health. Beware of cookies and targeted advertisements and make sure that you only click on adverts that look legitimate. Remember all the basics of online safety (phishing, scams, oversharing information with people and businesses that you don’t know).
It is also important to remember that for Influencer Marketing and Fake News, these can have an effect on your mental health. Fake News can be damaging to mental health and can cause conflict. With increased work from home, content online is increasing by the day and it is easy to feel ‘burnout’ or overwhelmed by all the information reported in the news, in the press, online and with family and friends. Choose where you get your information and choose when to get your information. It is important to stay informed but choose the right informant!
Similarly, Influencers are paid to portray the best version of themselves and some have even been criticised for glamorising lockdown. You should follow the influencers that inspire you and unfollow those that make you question your productivity, your mood and your self-image, particularly in challenging times. It is important to keep a balance of online and offline activities and time, but the time you spend online should be positive.
The Safer Internet Day campaign is run by UK Safer Internet Centre and there are resources on their website at and on their YouTube page. If you have young siblings or children, the Safer Internet campaign has targeted messages to children aged 3-7, 7-11, 11-14 and young adults aged 14+. These three themes are also covered for other ages but in more age appropriate resources.