It was an exclusive opportunity, as finally, a Safer Internet Day did not happen during Austrian schools' winter break. Therefore, the Austrian Safer Internet Centre (SIC) seized the opportunity and organised a large stakeholder conference. Teachers, youth workers, parents, and other interested people were invited to dive into the topic of "How to support children and young people growing up in the digital age?"
Over 200 people attended the event at A1 – the long-term sponsor of the Austrian SIC. Minister for Youth, experts on digital life and CEO of telecommunication company… The conference received a high level of support.
From left to right: Bernhard Jungwirth (Austrian Institute of Applied Telecommunications), Ingrid Brodnig (expert for hate speech and digital society), Dr. Iris Rauskala, (Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research), Mag. (FH) Christine Aschbacher, (Federal Ministry of Labour, Family and Youth), Mag. Thomas Arnoldner (CEO A1 Telekom Austria Group) and Barbara Buchegger (Saferinternet.at)
The keynote speaker, Pr. Petra Grimm from the University of Science (HdM) Stuttgart, raised the ethical questions at stake. How can young people resist the "pulling" effect of social media? How can they be supported to learn values appropriate for the digital age? How to strengthen them in being self-determinate and cautious about their privacy? She presented a landscape of ethical questions and focused on the importance of stories to bridge the gap between emotional and rational understanding.
The debates with stakeholders on the current challenges in media literacy among young people emphasised how important it is to also focus on adults. They need to support and accompany their children and students without being fully aware of the spectrum, possibilities or dangers in the online world for young people. Parents need to be aware of them being role models to their children from the start and critically reflect on their usage of digital media.
Saferinternet.at runs a one-stop-shop for workshops and trainings throughout Austria. About 50 to 60 trainers are active in this community of practice, and up to 3,000 workshops are held each year. Knowledge-sharing is done through best practice examples from various fields: digital games, influencer, cyberbullying, sexuality online and digital media for the youngest.
From left to right: Barbara Buchegger, Mag. Rosa Danner, Anna Maria Eder, BA MA, Mag. Dr. Leo Hemetsberger, Mag. Elke Prochazka and Mag. Wolfgang Pospischill
The live stream of the event allowed over 800 people to take part. The stakeholder event was a full success, and guess what! In 2021 as well, Safer Internet Day will not be during winter vacation. Maybe this form of public forum on new trends and ideas on digital media will be continued – stay tuned!
For more information about Safer Internet Day activities in Austria, visit the Austrian Safer Internet Centre's Safer Internet Day profile page.
Find out more information about the work of the Austrian 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.