Safer Internet Day in Ukraine – Focus on the local level

The Ukrainian state, together with non-governmental organisations, businesses, educational institutions, media and libraries, recently took part in the traditional annual Safer Internet Day (SID) celebrations, along with over 170 countries across the world.

Date 2020-03-24 Author Better Internet Centre, the Ukrainian Safer Internet Day Committee Section awareness, sid

The non-governmental organisation Better Internet Centre, as the Ukrainian Safer Internet Day Committee, has been working all year long in order to reinforce the efforts of all stakeholders to bring the celebration of Safer Internet Day to each region of Ukraine.

More than 1,700 Ukrainian organisations registered their activities for Safer Internet Day and have received an Open Badge of "SID supporter 2020". Over 170,000 children, young people and teachers took part in the registered activities.

Children, young people, parents and educators discovered the internet as a tool and a space for development, becoming familiar with the ways to protect themselves from online threats. Trainings, extra curriculum activities, games, web-quests, lessons online and offline, clubs, board games, creation of newspapers by children were widely held at local, regional and national levels in Ukraine.

Non-formal education methodology and youth participation were widely implemented on Safer Internet Day, by a variety of supporters. Their efforts were highly recognised by Better Internet Centre in the framework of the project "Reimagining Recognition" supported by the European Commission. The recognition was done through a quest, which contains seven badges with two or three tasks allowing participants to self-evaluate SID activities.

For the second year, a Ukrainian version of the handbook for teens and teachers "The Web We Want" was appreciated by educators, librarians and youth workers as modern and relevant tools for development of digital competencies of children and young people. Translation of the handbooks into Ukrainian, initiated by Better Internet Centre within the EUN Memorandum, has been carried out by the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine in the framework of the project "Improving Legal and Human Rights Education" implemented jointly with the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.

On the eve of Safer Internet Day, Recommendation for websites of educational institutions was launched by Better Internet Centre. Recommendation was developed by a working group in wide consultations with key stakeholders under the supervision of Better Internet Centre. The recommendation aimed at protecting children rights online in line with the Council of Europe standards. Better Internet Centre based the foundation of the recommendation on the results of the monitoring of violation of child privacy rights on websites of educational institutions in Ukraine.

On Tuesday, 11 February 2020, Google Ukraine, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, organised an all-Ukrainian roundtable for the representatives of the educational sphere, public organisations, international organisations, state officials, as well as for academics. More than 4,200 viewers took part remotely. An all-Ukrainian open lesson Digital Homeroom was held for students across Ukraine.

"Safer Internet Day is an opportunity for all stakeholders to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, notably Goal 4 through the development of digital competency of children and young people, Goal 5 through the usage of ICT to reduce gender inequality, Goal 9 and Goal 10 through the promotion of the access to the internet in remote areas of Ukraine, Goal 16 through the contribution to the access to information and to the protection of human rights in case of online violation" said Olena Chernykh, Ukrainian Safer Internet Day Committee Coordinator, adding that "the report of the Council of Europe 2019 on children with disabilities in the digital environment shows the crucial importance of greater attention to be paid by governments, the digital industry, schools and healthcare services to the rights of children with disabilities."

On Tuesday, 11 February 2020, a press conference was held at the President's Office with the participation of the Commissioner of the President of Ukraine for Children's Rights, the Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation for European Integration of Ukraine, as well as Ukraine's international partners in the field of child protection online, representatives of the National Children's Council and leading Ukrainian media. The new information portal of the #stop_sexting project, the reporting portal on child sexual abuse materials of the Internet Watch Foundation was presented. A lesson plan on the prevention of child sexual exploitation online for students of 5th-6th grades was announced. About 90 Ukrainian teachers already held this lesson for students.

On Wednesday, 12 February 2020, a roundtable on the protection of children from sexual exploitation online was organised by the Commissioner of the President of Ukraine for Children's Rights, the Ministry of Digital Transformation for European Integration and the Committee on Digital Transformation of the Ukrainian Parliament. Government and law enforcement officials, representatives of internet providers and international organisations took part in the discussion. The importance of the prevention of violations and of raising awareness activities was underlined by the Deputy Head of the Committee on Digital Transformation of the Ukrainian Parliament.

From Wednesday, 5 February until Tuesday, 3 March 2020, an all-Ukrainian online lesson on internet security for children and young people was conducted by Cisco Academy in cooperation with the Department of the Cyber Police of Ukraine and other partners.

A two-day Ukrainian national internet conference for teachers "Safety on the internet" took place on Saturday, 8 and Sunday, 9 February 2020. The conference was organised by the Educational Project "Na Urok". Among the speakers of the conference were Ukrainian leading media experts, internet safety professionals and teachers. A number of tools for educators on the development of safe online behaviour of students were presented: the #stop_sexтинг project, the Docudays project on cyberbulling prevention, strategies for parents, parental control, innovative technology for educational activities, and so on.

Since 2016, the Ukrainian Safer Internet Day Committee has established a network of regional coordinators for more successful promotion of safer and better internet practices across Ukraine.

Within the framework of Safer Internet Day activities,  Better Internet Centre is organising throughout the year a preparatory work for the Safer Internet Day celebrations, through the SID in Ukraine Facebook page, the official site of Better Internet Centre and an online bulletin on online safety education with news, informational and educational recourses for activities on online safety for children, young people, parents and caregivers.

At the national level, in addition to the hashtags #SID2020 and #SaferInternetDay2020, Ukrainian version #ДеньБезпечногоІнтернету2020 and #ДеньБезпечногоІнтернету were used.

All the activities mentioned above are a small part of the various trainings, seminars, discussions, meetings, press conferences and other events that were organised at various levels by numerous supporters in Ukraine working towards a safer and better internet.

For more information about Safer Internet Day activities in Ukraine, visit the Ukrainian Safer Internet Day Committee profile page, and the Better Internet Centre website.

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