Indeed, most of the research and studies that have been published since the first lockdown in March 2020 keep pointing out a remarkably high increase in the use of connected devices (for pedagogical purposes, leisure time, peer-to-peer activities and socialisation), combined with a significant exposure to risks due to that hyper connection phenomenon. In the media, the main approach of the interviewed researchers and experts is related to the risks that children face, such as cyberbullying and sexual harassment, the bad effects on health, wide exposure to all kinds of fake news, or illegal content. But most of the knowledge we have on the impact of awareness strategies shows that spreading fear and anxiety can’t deliver the positive benefits of an awareness-raising campaign.
What the different actions carried out by the French Safer Internet Centre reveal is interesting and will serve as a common guide for its communication activities in the future: parents, educators and adults find it difficult to find a balance between the contradictory rules they hear about the use of digital devices by youth. Instead, they need tailor-made support to regain self-confidence on a subject they do not master well themselves.
Therefore, Internet Sans Crainte, together with Net Ecoute and Point de Contact, united as the French Safer Internet Centre, decided to set up a panel of actions in order to bring concrete elements to the parents who are globally worried and feeling unprepared, and to remind them of our role of also providing advice and support in a positive and comprehensive way. Each organisational member of the Safer Internet Centre decided to position its attention and resources to promote the chosen SID messages towards different target groups as follow:
- Parents and grandparents
- Teachers and educators
- Children and teenagers
- Stakeholders and government representatives
As such, a multi-channel campaign started on Monday, 8 February 2021 with a common web-conference kick-off gathering Point de Contact, Net Ecoute and Internet Sans Crainte as speakers, as well as more than 2,000 parent attendees. The campaign received support from AXA Prevention Insurance as well as the National Police Department in charge of online crimes and cyberbullying.
On Tuesday, 9 February 2021 – Safer Internet Day itself – each member organisation of the French Safer Internet Centre organised several key actions together with State representatives and Ministers, also supported by a wide visibility action through as many communication channels as relevant (Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and Twitter, but also traditional offline and online media):
- Awareness workshops
- Open web-conferences
- Lives on chosen social networks
- Training webinars
- Launch of specific awareness tools
In total, thanks to the widespread mobilisation of the Safer Internet Centre actors, hundreds of adults heard of the SID 2021 events and have been reached or trained, as well as thousands of children and teenagers.
Find out more about Safer Internet Day in France. Alternatively, find out more about the work of the French Safer Internet Centre, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services – or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.