What is positive online content?
The ultimate goal of the Positive Online Content Campaign (POCC) is to build a better online experience for children: an internet with positive online content that "enables children to learn, have fun, create, enjoy, to develop a positive view of themselves and respect for their identity, and to enhance their participation in society and motivates them to produce and distribute their own positive content".
Aside from the general promotion of positive online content, the campaign also aims to provide concrete and practical tools that help with the creation and spread of such content. Creators, educators and parents alike can benefit from a checklist with qualities and criteria for positive online content, which can be used across Europe as it has been translated into 23 languages.
Different groups, different benefits
While primarily taking place at a European level, the campaign also stretches out to many national activities as organised by Safer Internet Centres (SICs) across Europe. The campaign will build across the month to an awareness week taking place from 25-29 September 2017, targeting different stakeholders on the first four days and ending with a day dedicated to national activities. Children, teachers and educators, parents and carers, and content providers and producers can all get involved and benefit from the campaign in their own way.
In shaping the campaign, we have established a few core principles as follows…
Firstly, we believe that children's digital literacy skills should be developed from an early age by exploring the internet while also being protected from (future) possible online risks, such as encountering inappropriate content, cyberbullying or grooming. By exposing young children to high quality online content from their very first experiences, they can learn how to recognise the basic components of appropriate and positive content and services.
Secondly, digital content is playing an increasingly significant role in education, from an ever-younger age. Therefore, teachers and educators should be equipped to navigate effortlessly through the wide array of online content. Not only do they need to feel confident about ensuring a safe digital classroom environment, they also should be able to tap into the potential of online content to enrich lessons and other educational activities. As the POCC website goes live, its database with examples of positive online content helps educators to do so. Additionally, educators should position themselves as role models when it comes to digital literacy.
Thirdly, parents and carers want what is best for their children, and ensuring their safety while also stimulating them to explore the sheer amount of online services and content is not an easy task. Therefore, the campaign also aims to inform parents and carers of what they should look for in online content or services that respects their children's needs and learning capacities. However, digital literacy is not only crucial for children: similar to educators, in order for parents to be digital role models and to have meaningful conversations with their kids about media preferences and problems, they should also be digitally literate.
Lastly, producers and providers of digital content and services probably play the biggest role in ensuring that younger generations have access to appropriate, safe, informative and empowering online experiences from the outset. Both large industry players and small independent producers should take responsibility in this area when designing, developing and distributing content. As noted before, an updated and translated positive online content checklist has been provided to help content developers to design, adapt and customise their products to contribute to raising an empowered and digitally-skilled generation of active citizens.
While the abovementioned groups all benefit from the campaign differently, they can all participate in similar ways. As Safer Internet Centres across Europe take the campaign to the national level, be sure to get involved with your local SIC's initiative. But you can also start right away by consulting the checklist and applying its criteria, whether you're searching for or producing positive online content and services. You may also wish to check out, use and share the examples that we will be presenting on the campaign website over the coming weeks. Last but not least, follow @Insafenetwork and the campaign hashtag #positivecontent on Twitter, like the Insafe page on Facebook for tips and more and join our Thunderclap to help spread the message!