Insafe and INHOPE meet to exchange on common areas of work

Today, the Insafe and INHOPE networks of European Safer Internet Centres (SICs) begin a two-day joint training meeting online. This event is an opportunity to facilitate sharing of experience and good practice between the two networks and to explore areas of common ground and opportunities for closer working between helplines, hotlines and awareness centres.

2020-10-28 BIK Team awareness, helplines, hotlines grooming, love, relationships, sexuality (online), potentially harmful content, sexting, sextortion, sexual harassment media specialist, organisations and industry, research, policy and decision makers, teachers, educators and professionals
Young woman using a laptop

Insafe and INHOPE work together through a network of Safer Internet Centres (SICs) across Europe. Each SIC typically comprises an awareness centre, a helpline, a youth panel – which collaborate through the Insafe network – and a hotline, this last strand falling into the remit of INHOPE. While the latter focus on removing illegal content – including child sexual abuse material (CSAM) – from the internet, the three other strands focus on more general online safety concerns. 

However, many “grey areas” exist between the work of the two networks – areas where practitioners are clear that children and young people are being exploited, without any law being broken. While hotlines are dealing with CSAM, helplines and awareness centres are dealing with the grey area content with increasing regularity, highlighting the need for ongoing close collaboration between all parts of a Safer Internet Centre. The joint training meeting will therefore allow Insafe and INHOPE to address these grey areas as well as some of their more specific aspects, such as dealing with CSAM on adult pornographic websites, and with the increasing concern that is self-generated sexual abuse images of minors.

However, the scope of the joint training meeting will not be limited solely to these areas of common ground, but will rather include the full spectrum of online safety risks and opportunities in the past, in the present and in the future. The opening keynote session, led by Dr Victoria Baines, from Bournemouth University and Julie Inman-Grant, Australian eSafety Commissioner, will indeed look at the work done in the online safety arena since the beginning of the EU Safer Internet Programme, while considering some key challenges for the future. 

This evolving context will undeniably highlight the need for identification of priorities in an emerging child rights agenda through the update of the classification of online risks to children’s wellbeing – something the CO:RE – Children Online: Research and Evidence project aims to achieve. Sonia Livingstone, who leads on the projects’ work package on “Theories”, will therefore host a workshop along with colleague Mariya Stoilova, aiming to draw on the expertise and work of the Insafe and INHOPE networks.

This joint training meeting will also be an opportunity to examine the ongoing work related to online risks which are specific to the COVID-19 pandemic within both networks, looking more specifically into harmful and illegal content, in particular on social networks. These sessions will allow members of SICs and industry representatives to exchange solutions and best practices for adequate response.

Hans Martens, Insafe Network Coordinator, said that “although the Insafe and INHOPE networks work together on a wide range of topics, resources, events and activities all year long, the organisation of this joint training meeting is an opportunity to bring this collaboration even further – particularly with regards to areas at the border of each network’s remit. It will also allow both networks to discuss common responses to emerging challenges – on the one hand, challenges pertaining to children’s wellbeing in the online environment and on the second, challenges facing Safer Internet Centres in the future.”

According to Denton Howard, Executive Director of INHOPE, “cooperation and collaboration are the keystones of the success of the INHOPE and Insafe networks working together. As we begin the 2020 online joint training meeting, we have the opportunity to take this to the next level with greater numbers of participants than ever before and training topics that are both relevant and interesting.”

If you wish to learn more about the work of the Insafe and INHOPE networks of Safer Internet Centres, visit the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) portal and subscribe to the quarterly BIK bulletin for news and resources on the latest trends and challenges online.

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