In the spotlight: Safer Internet Centre in the Netherlands

As part of the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) Quality Assurance Programme (QAP), the Insafe-INHOPE Coordination Teams are jointly conducting a set of 15 country visits to national Safer Internet Centres (SICs) to better understand what is happening in the Member States: monitoring emerging issues and challenges, identifying good practices to be shared, and harvesting the results of the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) policy. On Tuesday, 23 January 2024, a national visit to the premises of Offlimits in Amsterdam was organised by the Insafe-INHOPE Coordination Team. 

Date 2024-05-02 Author BIK Team Section awareness Topic media literacy/education Audience research, policy and decision makers

Offlimits is an association that aims to support people against inappropriate online behaviour and sexual abuse and exploitation. It serves as the Dutch SIC coordinator and operates the helpline and hotline services. Offlimits includes Helpwanted, the helpline for reporting harmful content, stopitNOW, a helpline dedicated to adults who have feelings for minors; and Meldpunt Kinderporno, the hotline.  

The Platform for the Information Society (ECP) and Network for Media Literacy (Mediawijsheid) both operate the awareness centre. The main SIC website for awareness-raising is www.veiliginternetten.nl; however, other awareness-raising websites are also operated by the Dutch SIC. These include:

  • www.saferinternetcentre.nl collates much of the content and publishes blog articles alongside research and information about the various projects the SIC is involved with. 
  • www.veiliginternetten.nl, which contains a lot of practical information on cybersecure behaviour, such as how to use a password manager or how to set up two-factor authentication. 
  • www.mediawijsheid.nl is a site containing information about the safe and smart use of digital media. It is aimed at all stakeholders and provides signposting to network partners, as well as an overview of relevant news and developments.  
  • www.hoezomediawijs.nl is aimed at children and young people aged 10 and above and intended to offer informative content suitable for self-study at home or in school. 
  • www.mediawijzer.net contains information for and by the network, including blogs, information about Mediawijsheid activities and research. The information is primarily aimed at network partners and professionals.  
  • www.mediamasters.nl is an informative game aimed at 10–12-year-olds discussing media literacy topics. It has reached many children, with around 200,000 children playing it.

While the Dutch SIC had a national youth panel before COVID-19 pandemic, it currently does not have a fixed national youth panel. However, as part of the new SIC contract, the centre is planning to redevelop its youth engagement strategy, aiming for bigger youth involvement and the set-up of a new national youth panel. In the meantime, the SIC is making significant efforts via open calls through social media to engage young people in their activities and, for example, making the new helpline website more youth-friendly and accessible. 

The helpline (Helpwanted) has been active in the field of online abuse since 2006. There has been a recent increase in availability and accessibility, with the number of employees increasing from 3 to 14. Opening hours have also increased, and the helpline now opens from 07:00 until 23:00, seven days a week. This is a significant improvement and has seen increasing numbers of people accessing the helpline. Helpline staff have received training to increase their knowledge on various subjects, and experts have been brought in to deliver this. Some experts also consider the website content to ensure it is up-to-date and relevant. 

The helpline delivers training and workshops – 62 took place between 2022 and 2023, reaching over 3,000 people. These sessions cater to various groups, including high school students, professionals, victim support groups, the Dutch police, policymakers, and so on.  

The hotline (Meldpunt Kinderporno) started in 1994 with the main objective of contributing to reducing child abuse material via the internet. The hotline has well-established contacts with various social media platforms and internet service providers and acts as a trusted flagger for the Dutch hosting sector, Facebook, Instagram, Snap, and TikTok, amongst others, supporting a fast notice and takedown approach.  

Further information about the Dutch Safer Internet Centre can be found on the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) public portal, including links to its national websites and other contact information. Similar information can be found on the BIK portal for all Safer Internet Centres in Europe.  

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