Czech youth panellist organises peer-to-peer programme on internet safety

Safer Internet Centres in Europe convene youth panels to help guide their work and ensure it is targeted at those it aims to support – that is, children and young people. Denisa (18), a member of the Czech Safer Internet Centre’s youth panel, has started a peer-to-peer programme at her school with help from the centre. The main idea of peer programmes is the involvement of professionally educated young people in preventive activities and peer support. 

Date 2022-09-29 Author Czech Safer Internet Centre Section awareness Topic media literacy/education Audience children and young people, parents and carers, teachers, educators and professionals
Children doing homework

The whole idea of implementing the programme occurred to Denisa thanks to the Safer Internet School Board. The Czech Safer Internet Centre designed, produced, and distributed boards for schools and supporting educational materials to 4.200 registered primary.  

The boards present the most common problems that pupils and students encounter in cyberspace. The goal of these materials is to alert pupils and students to possible pitfalls in the online world in a popular educational way and to serve as a guide for kids while seeking help.  

The peer-to-peer programme organised by Denisa, which focuses on internet safety, is intended primarily for junior high school students. The pilot lessons took place in the first and third year (sixth and eighth grade of primary school), and there were four classes in total. The student-to-student format created a safe, relaxed, and open atmosphere for the delivery of the programme. 

According to Denisa, she came up with the programme thanks to the help of the Safer Internet Centre and their line of activities, as well as her own experiences with working with children.  

During the programme, when asking the students, a question related to distinguishing whether they perceive a given situation as cyberbullying or not, Denisa realised how big the intergenerational gap can be sometimes, and how important it is to discuss meaningful scenarios when discussing online safety with young people.  

To give a concrete example, one of the questions posed to students was: “Someone writes on your friend's Facebook wall that they think he is stupid. But they do not use dirty words." However, the question was largely met with silence as, typically, young people no longer use Facebook (with one or two exceptions) instead preferring to use other social media platforms. According to the students, only "boomers" use Facebook nowadays (note: boomer is a term used for the older generation that already has different opinions and a different lifestyle). 

She could also see that some of the other activities were closer to the students than others. An example of an activity was to write comments on several Instagram posts. These posts were written by Denisa. In addition, she created examples of the Instagram profiles the children had to write the comments from. The assignment was to write edgy comments with a limited number of words. According to Denisa, “it was obvious that Instagram format and shorter words are way more natural for them”. 

Find out more about the work of the Czech 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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