‘Bibi and Friends' wins European Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN) award

Children start using the internet at an increasingly younger age and mobile internet access is replacing classic ‘fixed line' access. 

Date 2016-06-29 Author Luxembourg Safer Internet Centre
While the use of computers, tablets and smartphones has become more and more intuitive, the risks have not diminished. Many parents let their children play on their smartphones or tablets without being aware of the associated risks, which in the worst cases can lead to identity theft or severe financial distress.
It was therefore important to create a tool to sensitise children from a very young age to safe use of the internet on the one hand, and to raise awareness among parents not to let their children use such devices completely unsupervised on the other. The particular challenge was to create a tool that reaches out to an age range of children where some already use ICT tools, and other don't.
Therefore, Bee.lu is both an online and an offline project aimed at children aged 3 to 6. At its core, ‘Bibi and friends' tells the adventures of Bibi, a little Bee, and his friends. So far, three stories have been published: one on the use of webcams, one on online fraud, and one on a balanced online life. Each story consists of a sequence of eight images with a corresponding text. Children can use the website autonomously and listen to the story in Luxembourgish. Alternatively, they can discover Bibi's world with their parents, who can read the stories to them in Luxembourgish, French or English. The other features of the website encourage its users to keep a balance between online and offline activities such as colouring and handicraft, both offered as an online tool as well as a template for handicrafts.
The characters in the stories, Bibi, Webby and others, have been designed to be likeable and to make it easy for children to identify with the situations they encounter in their actual digital experiences. The tool is free to use and available both online and offline. It can be used at home or in educational settings.
The aim was to create a tool that would allow both children and parents to think about how they use the internet. With its easy navigation and colourful design, the website primarily addresses the children's attention. However, a great deal of thought has been invested in the conception of the parents' role in the story. The wording of the stories is simple and easy to understand for the children.
In order to reach out to all parents, particularly to parents who don't want to invest a lot of time into pedagogical reflections, the ‘Bibi and friends' project does not contain any long, cautioning texts or pedagogical advice to go through before being able to use the booklet. The messages for the parents are embedded into the stories themselves.
In short, children AND parents learn the best possible media behaviour while reading through the stories.
Feel free to explore the official website at http://www.bee.lu/.
In December 2015, the tool ‘Bibi and his friends' was awarded at the European Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN) Award Ceremony.
Find out more about the work of the Luxembourgish Safer Internet Centre, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services.

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