11 February 2014, Brussels – This year’s Safer Internet Day theme looks at the responsibility that we must all take in making the internet a better place. Whether we are children and young people, parents and carers, educators or social care workers, or indeed industry, decision makers or politicians, we all have a role to play.
We can contribute to foster the positive and eliminate the negative online in many ways, regardless of who we are. For example:
Children and young people can help to foster the positive by being kind and respectful to others online, by protecting their online reputations, and by seeking out positive opportunities to create, engage and share online. They can help to eliminate the negative by being ‘helpful bystanders’: supporting peers if they encounter issues online, taking a stand against cyberbullying, and reporting any inappropriate or illegal content they find.
In this regard, COFACE is currently coordinating the European Awareness Raising Campaign on Cyberbullying: #DeleteCyberbullying. The project, through the cooperation of the international partners, contributes to developing a common approach to risk-prevention, information and guidelines to families, parents, children and other relevant stakeholders. We have created a short educational video “Cyberbullying: there is a way out!”: available now in 9 languages.
Parents and carers can help to foster the positive by maintaining an open and honest dialogue with their children about their online lives, by supporting them with their personal development online and helping them to deal with any concerns or issues, seeking out positive opportunities to share with their children online, and helping their children to find and use good quality digital resources. They can help to eliminate the negative by monitoring and supporting their child’s online activity, by modelling positive online behaviours themselves, and by also reporting any inappropriate or illegal content they find.
Educators and social care workers can help to foster the positive by equipping children and young people with the digital literacy skills they require for today’s world, and giving them opportunities to use and create positive content online. They can help to eliminate the negative by supporting youngsters if they encounter problems online, and by giving them the confidence and skills to seek help from others.
Industry can help to foster the positive by creating and promoting positive content and services online, developing ethical and transparent policies, and protecting our data. They can help to eliminate the negative by making systems and services more secure by design, by being more responsive to user concerns, and by providing quick and easy access to support if things do go wrong.
Decision makers and politicians can help to foster the positive by ensuring that there are opportunities in the curriculum for children to learn and teachers to teach about online safety, ensuring that parents and carers have access to appropriate information and sources of support, and that industry are encouraged to self regulate their content and services. They must also take the lead in governance and legislation, and ultimately ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and young people through effective child protection strategies for the online world.
For further information, please contact:
Ana Pérez, Communication Manager +32 2 500 56 93 firstname.lastname@example.org
Note to the editor
COFACE is a network of civil society associations representing the interests of all families. COFACE’s areas of work include social/family policy, education, disability, gender equality, migration, consumer issues, and also protection of children online, privacy, data protection and reflections on technological developments and how they may impact families. More: www.coface-eu.org