Safer Internet Day 2023 in Belgium: media education and cybersecurity

We cannot imagine life without the internet, as it provides so many opportunities. Therefore, it should also be a safe space where children and young people can be inspired, respected and protected. Based on these principles, this is how the Belgian Safer Internet Centre celebrated Safer Internet Day 2023. 

Date 2023-03-20 Author Belgian Safer Internet Centre Section awareness, sid Topic cyberbullying, love, relationships, sexuality (online), media literacy/education Audience media specialist, parents and carers, teachers, educators and professionals
A group of three women discussing documents at a corporate event.

Many people have a role to play in making the internet a better place for all, and especially young people: teachers, educators, librarians, social workers, policy makers, media actors, industry and all the professionals that work with and for youth. We all want our children to enjoy their digital life and become empowered citizens. This is why, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Safer Internet Day, Betternet, the Belgian Safer Internet Centre – coordinated by Child Focus in partnership with Mediawijs, CSEM and Media Animation, the Federal Ministry of Economy, the Cabinet of Minister Petra De Sutter and the Belgian Cyber Security Coalition joined forces and organised an event dedicated to a better and safer internet environment for all children in Belgium. Through demos, panel discussions and presentation of good practices on both media literacy and e-safety, the mission was to inspire, support and bring together professionals in Belgium who accompany children online. 

A whole day dedicated to the presentation of best practices developed in Belgium to support professionals, teachers, educators, social workers, in addressing topics such as cybersecurity, gender stereotypes and victim blaming with their group of children and teenagers. The event gathered more than 150 professionals, both online and on site, who work daily with children and young people in Belgium, and who feel concerned with their digital development. 

Two panel discussions around cybersecurity/data protection and media education allowed multiple stakeholders to exchange on the topic and to understand what the possibilities to strengthen cooperation in the future between industry, policy makers and civil society are.  

The participation of the two regional ministers for youth in the panel discussions on media education allowed the discussion to address media literacy not only in the formal education settings, but also in non-formal education settings, including youth centres. Despite the cultural differences in Belgium, when it comes to digital experiences and online media usages for children, one can observe the same challenges in both the Flemish-speaking and French-speaking regions of the country, thus common solutions can be found to strengthen the capacity of professionals and the support provided to children in their digital development.  

The event was very successful in tackling these issues, and for the first time it brought the considerable added value of addressing those issues from a federal perspective, allowing exchange of good practices and experiences between professionals working in the two different linguistic regions. 

Find out more about Safer Internet Day in Belgium. Alternatively, find more information about the work of the Belgian Safer Internet Centre, including their awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services – or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.

Related news