Ingrid Liao of ECPAT Taiwan initiated the conference by emphasising the rapid evolution of technology and the need for an annual conference to address the ever-changing landscape of child safety online. She highlighted the importance of ECPAT's global family in addressing these challenges.
Kathrin Morasch, one of the longstanding Youth Ambassador of BIK, delivered a keynote speech that covered several key points: She provided an overview of BIK (Better Internet for Kids) and its mission in promoting online safety for children and young people. Then, she discussed the pillars of the BIK+ strategy, which includes youth participation, digital literacy, and the protection of minors online. Kathrin underscored the importance of involving young people in shaping online safety policies and initiatives, highlighting the need to empower them as active contributors. She also addressed the EU regulations to safeguard minors in the digital sphere.
The second session delved into the influence of online communities on teenagers, mental health impacts, and the role of schools in fostering a safe environment. They presented preliminary findings from the Taiwan Digital Generation Teenagers Study discussing how online communities can influence teenagers and their real-life networks. They also examined the role of gender in forming friendships and dislikes. Dr. Sameer Hinduja, a professor with expertise in cyberbullying, presented strategies to combat this issue, including school climate improvement, anonymous reporting systems, and youth resilience development.
In the third session, they explored the impact of sexualisation on children. Maggie Hamilton discussed the deliberate distancing of parents and the role of sexualisation in today's culture. She emphasised the commodification of sex and its influence on performance culture. Claire from ECPAT Taiwan addressed sexualisation in various media, including advertising, animations, and video games. In addition, they highlighted the rise of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) during lockdowns and the need for a comprehensive strategy to address problematic content.
The fifth session was all about digital literacy. Shem Yao from Touch community services Singapore introduced the Cyber awareness team for young people with special needs and their efforts to promote digital literacy in schools and communities. Social workers from Taipei City Schools discussed the challenges of promoting digital literacy, emphasising the need for long-term projects and collaboration with schools. They also highlighted the importance of communication between teachers, parents, and students.
The final session was a panel discussion on “creating a Better Internet for Kids together”, featuring representatives from the Child Rights Committee, Youth representatives from Taiwan, and industry stakeholders. The key topics included skills needed for online safety, advice for adults and policymakers and the ideal digital world
See the Taiwan Safer Internet Day Committee - ECPAT Taiwan profile page to learn more about their work and initiatives.
I started working in the field of safer internet when I was still in school as a youth panellist for the National Awareness Centre, Klicksafe. I have been studying law and have developed an interest in digital law and politics. I was also involved in the launch of the Youth Manifesto initiative, which was an amazing opportunity for young people to have their say on priorities for creating a better internet for the future. The internet gives great opportunities, but we all need to learn how to use it in the right way. The idea of peer education and the fact that youth from every country in the EU meet up to discuss themes around online safety is one of the greatest things I can imagine. I'm lucky that I can take part in such great programs and meet such great people.