European Schoolnet helps children to stay safe on the internet
On 8 December European Schoolnet’s Insafe team (http://www.saferinternet.org) launched a new tool for children to evaluate their online behaviour and receive appropriate safety advice based on their choices. The data gathered from this tool will be compiled into a report on children’s internet habits. The tool is being supported by pan-European cable operator UPC (http://www.upc.nl)
Available in 14 languages – Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish – the tool asks children aged 10-18 years old about their behaviour when using internet and mobile technologies, focusing specifically on their reactions when faced with risky situations. Additional versions in Finnish, Icelandic, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian and Portuguese will be launched shortly. It is online at http://www.saferinternet.org/quiz.
According to the answers they give, children are proposed a number of tips and suggestions for improving their use of technology. The tool can be used by children surfing alone or by educators as an ice-breaking activity for tackling issues around safe use of the internet and media literacy.
Over the next two months, the tool will be used to gather data in preparation for Safer Internet Day on 6 February 2007. Following analysis, the data will give an effective insight into children’s behaviour and perceptions of issues such as cyberbullying, grooming by adults, happy slapping and SMS fraud.
A number of social networking websites targeted at young people are also engaged in the initiative, notably Habbo Hotel (http://www.habbo.com/) and Bebo (http://www.bebo.com). Their aim is to promote safer behaviour among their users.
“As more and more children are spending increasing amounts of time online for education and for leisure, we believe it is crucial to enhance the current offering of media literacy materials for children,” says Janice Richardson, Insafe project manager at European Schoolnet.
The tool will be offered to the European network of national internet safety awareness nodes (http://www.saferinternet.org/ww/en/pub/insafe/focus.htm) that make up the Insafe network. The network calls for shared responsibility for the protection of the rights and needs of citizens, in particular children and youths, by government, educators, parents, media, industry and all other relevant actors.
The Insafe network (http://www.saferinternet.org) coordinates internet safety awareness actions in Europe, with the support of the European Commission and in partnership with national Safer Internet awareness nodes. Insafe aims to support and promote the work not only of national nodes, but also that of all individuals, organisations and agencies active in the field in Europe and beyond. The goal is to contribute to awareness-raising and empower citizens to effectively and ethically use and benefit from new information and communication technology, while highlighting associated dangers and safeguarding rights to privacy and security. The network is co-funded by the European Commission’s Safer Internet Plus Programme (http://www.europa.eu.int/information_society/activities/sip/index_en.htm)