The day was proclaimed with a resolution emphasising the need to involve young people, as the leaders of the future, in community activities promoting diversity, international understanding, and respect for different cultures and backgrounds through the simplest spirit of human solidarity – friendship.
Similarly, every year the United Nations (UN) encourage governments, international organisations and civil society groups to create activities and initiatives to celebrate the occurrence, with the aim of contributing to the collective efforts towards promoting a constructive dialogue and exchange of ideas among civilisations, solidarity, mutual respect and reconciliation.
Here on the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) portal, we focus on issues related to online friendship and relationships, connecting generations, and celebrating diversity online. Indeed, as a consequence of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent prolonged lockdown measures, the internet has now become the main way for many children and young people to socialise with peers and keep in touch with friends and relatives. However, in doing so, they are increasingly exposed to potentially harmful content and conduct. This calls for increased attention and awareness about young people’s use of digital devices as a means to foster social interactions.
The Insafe network of European Safer Internet Centres (SICs) has developed many pedagogical resources on the topic, in a variety of European languages and for different audiences. Whether you are a parent, a carer, a teacher or an educator, you will find some pertinent resources to get started on online friendships and relationships below:
- “Ten tips for teens on netiquette”, from the Italian Safer Internet Centre, provides a series of suggestions to teach teenagers the nuances of communicating with the online community. Available in Italian.
- “Recommendations about children and youth’s online life” provides guidelines on topics such as cyberbullying, online privacy, sharing photos and other personal content, online friendships, and more. Developed by the Danish Safer Internet Centre, this resource is available in Danish and English.
- “Online safety tips for parents/carers”, provided by the Maltese Safer Internet Centre, helps with engaging in and monitoring children’s online activities and friendships. Available in English.
- The Austrian Safer Internet Centre has recently analysed the online presence and behaviour of Austrian children and youth and collected the results in a study on young people’s lives on social networks.
For more resources, visit the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) resource gallery.