According to the Greek helpline's data, the lockdown was marked with a sharp increase in calls about sexting, cyberbullying, grooming, as well as technical issues. In the period following the lockdown, there was a significant increase in calls concerning excessive internet use.
Based on these data, for this year's back to school, the Greek Safer Internet Centre (SIC) has prepared a series of textbooks for all educational levels, which, in collaboration with the Greek Ministry of Education, is intended to be included as auxiliary material in the online safety courses, implemented for the first time in 2020 as part of the "skills development workshops" in schools.
© Greek Safer Internet Centre
The aim of the textbooks is to equip students of all educational levels with the knowledge and the skills for a creative, safe and responsible use of digital technologies. The textbooks are structured in a way that allows educators to delve into each individual topic as they deem necessary according to the maturity and needs of the students in the class. The topics were selected based on national and European guidelines, as well as conclusions drawn from the two major surveys conducted by the Greek Safer Internet Centre of FORTH during the 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 school years. The aim of the surveys was to analyse children's online habits and to identify risks faced by children due to lack of appropriate awareness and training.
Based on these data, the following topics were selected:
- the pros and cons of the internet;
- rules for correct online behavior;
- critical thinking and communication – who can I trust on the internet;
- critical thinking and misinformation;
- online privacy protection;
- the importance of online reputation;
- how social networks affect the perception of our own image;
- excessive internet use;
- online games: what are the risks;
- and cyber-hygiene.
The knowledge and the parameters for each topic are elicited by students themselves based on a list of proposed activities, while clear instructions are provided to educators on how to develop each topic, in the accompanying "Instructor's manuals".
In addition, the Greek SIC's back to school package includes two new illustrated educational tales for younger children starring Athina and Ermis, two characters known from previously published material. In the first book, Athina acquires a new device as a birthday gift, a tablet with which she can connect to the internet and together with Ermis, her mom and dad explore online opportunities, encounter risks, and are guided on how to protect themselves. In the second story, Athina, on the first day of school, learns about personal data protection and then transfers this knowledge to Ermis when back at home.
Lastly, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) of five individual modules was prepared for parents and teachers, aiming to educate adults on matters related to the online safety of children.
Find out more information about the work of the Greek 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.