Positive awareness-raising approaches based on children’s views of their digital lives

Internet Sans Crainte, the awareness-raising node of the French Safer Internet Centre, has recently adopted a strategy of producing co-constructed and adaptive resources on online safety. This approach is in direct response to an observed need to promote more in-depth consultation and dialogue within families, resulting in coherent and sustainable rules for technology use which children themselves have contributed to.

Date 2021-06-30 Author French Safer Internet Centre Section awareness Topic media literacy/education Audience children and young people, parents and carers

Indeed, in terms of awareness raising, the French team realised how efficient it can be to involve children and young people in the process of constructing rules and guidelines concerning their online behaviours. The main goal, therefore, is to produce resources for them and their families that open up a real dialogue, in order to give young people a voice and make them – and indeed their parents – aware of their rights and duties in the digital world, all within a context of creating trust by sharing experiences. Since the 2020 edition of Safer Internet Day (SID), Internet Sans Crainte has put lots of energy into developing several resources supporting this approach.

As a first step towards implementing this strategy, the French team designed a series of ‘parent and child’ quizzes based on discussion questions asked to parents and their children in turn. In this way, each parent and child can express their own views on their digital use in a constructive dialogue within a playful environment. Consequently, parents and children can jointly explore their opinions and visions of the internet, and receive the same advice, at the same time, in the same place (children are usually taught about online safety at school when the parents aren’t there).

Discover more about Vinz and Lou and the internet: ‘Quiz: Connected families, test yourself’ (in French).

Noting the audience's interest in these tools, Internet Sans Crainte decided to take the approach further and continue its experiment by designing a tailor-made tool to both generate dialogue and move beyond the debate to agree concrete actions on technology use in the home. The result is the FamiNum app which allows children and teenagers to work together with their parents to discuss, co-construct and agree on rules.

Discover more about the app FamiNum: ‘Chose together our digital rules’ (in French).

With these new awareness-raising tools, children and young people can now better explain their online behaviours and activities, express their needs when online, and formulate their criticisms. Moving beyond the old-fashioned model where parents alone used to decide on the online rules for their children, Internet Sans Crainte aims to promote a new digital parenting approach based on communication, the acceptance of sometimes contrary opinions, caring attitudes, and freedom of expression. The digital world is an open-speech space; let’s adapt our awareness campaigns in the same direction!

Discover Internet Sans Crainte’s summary guide to helping parents find the right tool to initiate discussions at home.

Find out more about the work of the French Safer Internet Centre, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services – or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.

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