The main event for Safer Internet Day took place in the Children's Science Centre "Muzeiko" in Sofia. Students and teachers from Sofia and from over the country participated in the event, which was officially supported by the State Agency for Child Protection, the Cybercrime Police Unit, Telenor Bulgaria, Networx – Bulgaria and Nastech – Kazanlak.
Safer Internet Day started with an official ceremony, awarding the three best teams who took part in the Cyberscout training programme for fifth graders, developed by the Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre (SIC). This year, awards were given to students from the towns of Aksakovo, Elin Pelin and Plovdiv. They also received special certificates presented by Chief Inspector Michail Dragodanov, the Director of the Cybercrime Unit of the Bulgarian General Directorate Combating Organised Crime.
Following the award ceremony, the Youth Panel of the Bulgarian SIC took the lead. They organised working groups for the Cyberscouts and their peers from Sofia. The groups discussed what recommendations they could give to parents in order to help their children be safer online and to be able to receive help and support if they encounter any unpleasant or dangerous situations online. A summary of the children's recommendations will be used for the development of a special leaflet for parents using the Safer Internet Day motto "Together for a better internet".
This Safer Internet Day marked the beginning of a number of campaigns on children's safety online. For a third consecutive year, the Media Literacy Coalition announced the beginning of their campaign "Media Literacy Days". The campaign will last one month and will include various initiatives and events for children and for their parents. The organisations which are part of the Media Literacy Coalition have also prepared materials to support the teachers who would like to organise activities with children, as well as meetings with parents.
Telenor and the Bulgarian SIC also prepared a series of animated videos containing advice for parents and their children about the different risks encountered online, and how to avoid them. At the same time, another online campaign was launched: the #БезХейт (#NoHate) initiative aims to address online harassment. The campaign includes some of the most popular social media influencers from Bulgaria, such as Aide BG, Andi Video, Suzi and Reni, Pavel Kolev and Icaka, Eleksa, Eliasa, and many more. They will be taking a stand against online hate, discussing online harassment with their followers and encouraging them to start sending positive messages when communicating online, and to use #NoHate if they encounter hate speech online.
Find out more information about the work of the Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre (SIC) generally, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services, or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.