BeSmartOnline! project comes to its seventh edition

In 2020, the Maltese helpline 179 received over 500 phone calls and around 700 calls during 2021, all of which were related to online safety concerns. This led to the launching of the seventh edition of the BeSmartOnline! project, which protects children when they are online and provides more awareness and guidance to parents and educators to better tackle online safety issues of young people. 

Date 2023-01-06 Author Maltese Safer Internet Centre Section awareness Topic media literacy/education Audience children and young people, media specialist, organisations and industry, parents and carers
A small child looking at a screen

With three quarters of children under the age of eight having a tablet or a mobile phone in Malta, online safety initiatives have become more and more important. 

Deborah Vassallo, coordinator of the BeSmartOnline! project, spoke about the initiatives planned over the next two years to strengthen the project and the services given to the hundreds of people who require assistance. 

We planned this tool which we will develop as a consortium on our website for entities who work with youth. We also planned online cafes for parents so that they will have a space to raise questions about their concerns. Then there is a campaign involving children’s photos with counselling tips on online security. We believe that if a child has a photo of himself, he will not likely throw it away, and on the photo’s back they will have memories of this counselling project. 

Internet abuse does not only imply cyberbullying but also, among others, the dissemination of intimate photos, the concept of children being contacted by an adult, who write improper things or request photos of a sexual nature. 

Aġenzija Appoġġ director Graziella Castillo said they have project analysts dedicated to analysing every report, photo or footage that the agency receives, except for illegal material which is sent to the police to investigate. 

We do not stop here: victims of the abuse are offered social and psychological assistance due to their trauma. This is provided both to the victims and members of the family who have contacts with these children. 

BeSmartOnline! also collaborated with the Maltese band The Travellers to produce the song ‘Simili’. The theme of the song is cyberbullying and aims to deliver the message effectively to children and young people. 

The project sees the collaboration of different entities, including the Foundation for Social Welfare Services, the Children’s Commissioner Office, the Directorate for Learning Programmes and the Police Cybercrime Unit in Malta. 

This article was originally published at and has been adapted and republished here with the permission of the Maltese Safer Internet Centre.  

Find out more about the work of the Maltese Safer Internet Centre, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services – or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.           

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