With standing room only, an event dedicated to the Island’s seniors and organised by the Department of ICT Policy and Innovation marked Safer Internet Day with presentations, demos, and giveaways.

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It’s not surprising that Island’s seniors are increasingly technology savvy, using the Internet and mobile devices in their daily lives for a variety of activities. More and more, they are seizing opportunities to learn about their wifi-ready devices and develop the skills necessary to use them to their advantage in an e-ready Bermuda.


This was the third time Safer Internet Day was celebrated in Bermuda. Similarly to previous times, the key message of the event emphasized a safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile devices. Once again, this year we saw public, private, and third sector entities partner to host a high-value event, providing safety tips, useful information and guidance on technology use. Safer Internet Day in Bermuda was a free event, open to the public.


Safer Internet Day has become a landmark event in the global online safety calendar. Starting as an initiative of the EU SafeBorders project in 2004 and taken up by the Insafe network as one of its earliest actio

ns in 2005, Safer Internet Day is now celebrated in more than 100 countries worldwide and across all continents. From cyberbullying to social networking, each year Safer Internet Day aims to raise awareness of emerging online issues. 


On our shores, Safer Internet Day is specifically geared towards the Island’s seniors and aimed to remind them of the many ways to stay safe online and to use technology to their benefit. While the Internet is a great tool for seniors to stay in touch with friends and family, conduct business, plan travel, access records, and enjoy hobbies and interests, each generation has unique exposures using various technologies. Many scams have been uncovered that target seniors locally and that often amount to financial fraud, identity theft, etc.


Locally, the Department of ICT Policy and Innovation’s most recent State of ICT in Bermuda report provided interesting information about the use of technology by our seniors. One important trend is that technology competence and internet usage are both increasing as the baby boom generation continues to reach retirement age. Also, and importantly, 100% our seniors believe that a strong knowledge of technology is essential to getting ahead. Lastly, while 99% would prefer doing business with organisations that protect their personal information, 96% are concerned that personal information held by organisations might be used in a manner with which they don't agree.


It therefore becomes a natural consequence that they learn how to use the Internet prudently in order to operate online in a safe and secure way.  


To be better-informed about the risks associated with being active online and how to mitigate them, Safer Internet Day participants interacted with numerous exhibitors and presenters who shared tips and tricks on various activities and advised on how to remain safe online by protecting one’s identity and personal information when transacting business and corresponding with family and friends on the Internet.


At a time when all of Bermuda and indeed, the world is accessible to us all on our phones, tablets, and other devices, that access is a two-way street and its impact can be far-reaching. Being active online can present some risks and sadly, the Island’s senior are not immune. Many scams specifically seem to target them -even locally- and the increasing number of phishing emails and other malicious communication that many of us receive regularly may find its victims among our seniors.


Safer Internet Day is here to provide them with valuable information that allows them to continue to safely and comfortably benefit from all the good things that the Internet and mobile technologies bring.


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