Safer Internet Day 2017: Together, it’s better and safer!
Every generation has a specific connection point to one another and to the world. Nowadays, it is mostly the digital space that brings people together. 60% of young people between the ages of 9-16 use the Internet on a daily basis, almost 80% of them have their own profile on social media sites, and around 3/4 of these are public. 10-20% of these teenagers are abused on a regular basis on the World Wide Web, says the Cyberbulling Center. It is therefore important for everybody to learn the rules of being online!
Safer Internet Day 2017
The Safe Internet initiative has been operating since 1999 in 28 countries with the help of the European Commission. In 2009, the Committee for the Safer Internet Day was created in order to strengthen cooperation and to synchronize the campaign on an international level. The message of the campaign is that we all contribute to promoting the processes that bring Internet use in a positive direction and help avoid being abused by others. The national centres carry out information and education activities and operate a hotline (emergency phone service) and helpline (supportline) as well. The former is the Biztonságosinternet Hotline operated by the NISZ Zrt in Hungary, while the Kék Vonal Gyermekkrízis Alapítvány is responsible for the latter one. Moreover, the coordinator of the national programme is the Nemzetközi Gyermekmentő Szolgálat.
The organisations hold the Safe Internet Day the second week of February every year, whose most important goal is to call society’s (and especially young people’s and children’s) attention to the more conscious and safer use of mobile phones and online technologies.
In Hungary, the Nemzetközi Gyermekmentő Szolgálat is the consortium leader of the European Union’s Safer Internet Programme, and the event organised by them was given the title “Be the change: Unite for a better internet!” this year. The emphasis is on the creation of a better Internet and on community activity.
The organisers are expecting those experts, professionals, decision makers, teachers, children, NGOs and businesses who are capable of raising awareness of the basic rules involved in the proper use of the Internet.
The programme was preceded by a competition, in which Hungarian primary, secondary and higher education students were encouraged to participate. The task was to create a poster or a photo that is connected to the topic. More than 60 posters and 14 photos were submitted from all over the country. The pieces are evaluated by an expert committee and the awards are given out on 7th February, within the frames of the Safe Internet Day event, where the best works are also to be exhibited.
You can find more information about the Safer Internet Day on this website.
Together it’s safer!
Online abuse includes many different manifestations of negative behaviour. The most common forms of online offense are exclusion, the sending/posting of offensive messages, the publishing of the individual’s personal content without their permission or even the spreading of various kinds of gossip, etc. For children involved, it is important to know that they have somebody to turn to and they can share anything with the helpers as they are not on their own.
The Safer Internet programme does not only make this available but provides tools and information not only for young people but their direct and indirect environment that help them find their way in the virtual world. In 2016, from the statistics of the Safer Internet Programme, it becomes visible that educators held 1850 class hours on 493 occasions to a total of 33045 users. Besides the predominantly children’s groups, whose total number amounted to 27774 people, 2485 parents and 2786 teachers were trained in 180 locations in Budapest and 96 in the countryside, in altogether 243 institutions within the frames of the initiative.
According to Dr. Katalin Baracsi Safer Internet educator, the majority of young people are more sensitive and open to the participation in the fight against online abuse than a few years ago. They consciously use the opportunities provided by digitalisation. She sees the responsibility of adults in providing children with information about the hidden dangers involved in the Internet and the community web along with its conscious use as early as possible.
“We have to set the rules of the Net-etiquette together, which is the foundation of safe Internet. This includes the amount of time spent on the World Wide Web, the websites we visit and what contents we access. And what we must pay the most attention to is our personal safety and making ourselves as well as our children aware that the rules in the real world and the virtual space are not any different.” (Dr. Katalin Baracsi)
Translated by Judit Molnár