Red PaPaz is building first Spanish-speaking Safer Internet Centre (SIC) in Latin America

Red PaPaz is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that encompasses a network of parents and caregivers since 2003 in Colombia. This network seeks to promote skills for the protection of Colombian children and adolescents' rights, through relevant actions based upon evidence and good practices.

2020-09-30 Red PaPaz, Colombian participant in the SIC+ pilot programme awareness, hotlines

This has made Red PaPaz a national and international reference in the area of children and adolescents' rights protection, around seven specific themes:

  1. Family – school partnerships and protective environments
  2. Healthy lifestyles
  3. Safe and responsible use of technologies
  4. Affectivity
  5. Parenting and education
  6. Education for peaceful coexistence
  7. Inclusion and diversity

For each theme, Red PaPaz has built a technical team, a network of experts, and a network of relevant partners for strengthening the ecosystem that protects children and adolescents in Colombia.

Regarding the safe and responsible use of technologies, in 2012 Red PaPaz, along with the Colombian Institute for Family Well-Being, the Ministry of Technology and Communications and two of the biggest Internet Service Providers in Colombia (Telefónica Movistar and Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Bogotá) created the first hotline in the country for reporting situations affecting children in digital and physical environments. Te Protejo, the Colombian hotline, started its operations in 2012, managed by Red PaPaz and working articulately with local authorities and according to Colombian legislation. In 2016, Te Protejo became the first hotline of the INHOPE Foundation, and later it became an official member of this network.

From 2012 to August 2020, Te Protejo has received 84,289 reports from which 75,5 per cent have been related to the digital environment, such as child sexual exploitation material (CSEM) and cyberbullying (grooming, sextortion, bullying, among others). Every year, the volume of reports received by Te Protejo increased by 30 per cent on average, which also mean a regular increase in the reports related to the digital environment. In 2020, the reports related to the digital environment account for 87,76 per cent of the total number of reports, meaning an immediate need for Colombia and Latin America to start strengthening its ecosystem for protecting children in the region. The internet has no boundaries, and with the global pandemic it has reached all of the areas of our lives, especially for children and adolescents who rely on it to attend schools online, and as the only possible medium for entertainment while parents work from home. Colombia, through Te Protejo and thanks to INHOPE, has been working hand in hand with other hotlines, authorities and partners around the globe towards eradicating CSEM and other aggressions against children and adolescents on the internet. Even so, the pandemic increased the need for trained analysts, trained and efficient authorities, responsible ISPs, responsive governments, and an active civil society for combating aggressions against children and adolescents on the internet.

Still, the region is evidently way behind on this fight compared to Europe and to the countries with whom the hotline works directly through INHOPE, so the SIC+ pilot programme seemed like one of the best ways to start thinking of a more integral solution for strengthening Latin America in the protection of children and adolescents. Red PaPaz is aware that having a hotline is the starting point but is not enough, and this programme has helped them to better shape their strategies on the expansion of Te Protejo locally and regionally.

Being part of the SIC+ programme has helped Red PaPaz meet other organisations from countries similar to Colombia, where the protection environment can sometimes be precarious, and on the other hand meet other organisations with a lot of experience in their countries on building strong and articulated environments for children and adolescents. Hearing these experiences have motivated them to create and work on a new strategy for Latin America to have its first Safer Internet Centre for Spanish-speaking countries. What does this mean?

Thanks to the SIC+ pilot programme, the experiences from networks such as Insafe and INHOPE, and in accordance with the lines of action established by the European Commission, the main objective is to progressively build the first Spanish-speaking Safer Internet Centre in Colombia and Latin America, based on the experience and trajectory of the Te Protejo hotline and the network of parents and caregivers Red PaPaz between 2021 and 2023. For achieving such objective, Red PaPaz  will develop and strengthen the following components, firstly in Colombia, and planning to offer the same services to other countries in the region:

  1. Hotline – Te Protejo – This project is expected to strengthen Te Protejo from an operational, technological, communicational and legal perspective, taking into a count the eight years of experience from the hotline in Colombia. The plan is to strengthen the usability of the website, mobile app, information system for users and analysts, also thinking on delivering all of these services to other countries in the region. Red PaPaz has been supporting organisations such as Fundación PAS in Mexico, Grooming Argentina, and ChildFund Ecuador for them to develop their hotlines adjusted to their local needs taking advantage of the lessons and experience gained by Te Protejo in Colombia.
  2. Helpline for potential perpetrators – With the intention of countering the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents in the region, Red PaPaz seeks to prevent the phenomenon at the root, by delivering psychoeducation in paedophilia, creating and implementing a help route for users (potential perpetrators) and putting in place permanent investigation on pedophilia. Taking into account that the internet plays a fundamental role in the relationship between adults and underaged, Red PaPaz will count with the support of the Protect Children organisation from Finland to create prevention and self-help content for potential aggressors, based on evidence and technology.
  3. Awareness and knowledge centre – Red PaPaz will build its internal team of experts that will serve as professional investigators and providers of prevention, self-help, and any other content needed in the hotline, helpline, youth panel or additional partners for specific communicational or educational needs.
  4. Youth panels – Hand in hand with national and regional partners such as the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare (ICBF) and UNICEF, Red PaPaz wants to consolidate groups of young people, who are trained and educated on how to stay safe online, the tools they have to do so and, in addition, establish conversations between peers to exchange knowledge and experiences across the region.

Through the SIC+ pilot programme, Red PaPaz is gaining additional knowledge and experience that will definitely help them better shape and implement the regional strategy of the first Spanish-speaking Safer Internet Centre that will serve other organisations and governments in Colombia and other Latin American countries.

For additional information please contact conectadoslatam@redpapaz.org.

To learn more about the SIC+ programme, read our dedicated article on the Better Internet for Kids portal.

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