It has been 32 years since Tim Berners-Lee proposed the creation of a free online space, where anyone with the right technology could access information. In the decades since, the world wide web has revolutionised society.
There is almost no limit to what can be done online. The internet has opened up a world of exciting possibilities to learn, create, and communicate with people around the world.
Almost 60% of the world’s population is connected to the internet. Facebook has almost 3 billion monthly users, while more than 1 billion sign into Instagram. TikTok is also growing fast, with around 800 million active users.
But this vast, unregulated system of communication also brings dangers. From cyber-bullying to trojan horses, it can be difficult to stay safe. This Tuesday (9 February) is Safer Internet Day. Celebrated in more than 160 countries, the event is an opportunity to share information and resources on how to stay aware on the internet.
Our archive explores the importance of caution online. The articles below as discuss how privacy and mental health can be affected by the internet, and you can read more about the benefits and risks of staying connected in our briefing.
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UK to make web titans liable for online harms
Could it undermine free speech? Facebook and Google bosses will face prosecution if they breach their “duty of care”. But some fear the same laws might be twisted to block truth-telling.
‘I must check everything, I must be updated’
How serious is social media addiction? With reports of teens dangerously hooked on sites like Instagram and Snapchat, researchers are racing to discover how addictive social media really is.
What-Mess-agram? App merger stirs privacy fears
Facebook has announced a controversial plan to merge Instagram, WhatsApp and its Messenger app. Mark Zuckerberg says the move will benefit users, but critics say it threatens our privacy.
In 1949, George Orwell wrote Nineteen-Eighty-Four, a novel in which people are monitored and controlled through state surveillance. This video asks the question: If George Orwell were alive today, would he have a smartphone?
- Design a poster to promote Safer Internet Day. Include three dangers of modern internet use.
- Come up with a set of rules for using the internet safely. Write them down on a sheet of paper, aimed at somebody five years below you.
- Think of one danger on the internet and design an app that could help, for instance an app that can spot fake social media accounts.