Safer Internet Day 2021 in Romania – Support and intervention to keep children safe online

Save the Children Romania, the national coordinator of the Romanian Safer Internet Centre (SIC), celebrated Safer Internet Day (SID) 2021 by organising a debate entitled “Challenges in the use of the internet by children. Ways of support and intervention”. It was moderated by Gabriela Alexandrescu, Executive President of Save the Children, and took place on Tuesday, 9 February in Bucharest, bringing together representatives of institutions that aim to protect children both on the internet and offline.

2021-03-26 Romanian Safer Internet Centre awareness, hotlines, sid potentially harmful content, sextortion, sexual harassment research, policy and decision makers, teachers, educators and professionals
Picture taken at the debate

The main focus this year was on the activity of the national hotline, in the context of increased online risks due to the fact that the pandemic forced children to spend more time on the internet (as a result of remote teaching, for example). During the event, the impact of internet use on children’s emotional well-being and the importance of introducing safer internet notions in the educational process were also discussed. Speakers in the event consisted of representatives of the Embassy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Romania, the National Authority for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Children and Adoptions, the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police, the Research Institute of the Romanian Academy, the Section for Combating Terrorist Crimes and Cybercrime within DIICOT and the International Centre for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children. The speakers provided procedural details and statistics on how to work and intervene in cases of child sexual abuse.

The fact that the debate was broadcast live gained a lot of interest and participation. The exact figures, as indicated by the analysis on social media, are 167 shares, 646 comments, 1,400 real time reactions, 23,285 reach, 4,787 engagements and 564 likes.

On the same occasion, Save the Children launched the information campaign "Unskippable Stories" on reporting illegal or harmful content on the internet, designed to bring public attention to the ways in which all users can help create a safe online environment for children.

The campaign features a series of six audio-video clips depicting conversations between abusers and victims, inspired by real cases. They will be broadcast online, on Facebook and YouTube, in the form of short messages which cannot be deactivated or ignored, just as the stories of children and victims of internet abuse cannot be overlooked. Each of these audio-video clips will direct users to the web page where the reporting form is available, based on which the operators of the esc_ABUZ hotline analyse the cases and then collaborate with the competent authorities to eliminate inappropriate content and identify the aggressors. The campaign will be supported by online publications and radio stations, as well as by bloggers and journalists.

The results of the Internet Class (Ora de Net) project in 2020 were also presented at the event. During the previous year, although affected by the pandemic and restrictions, both educational and support activities for children, parents and teachers carried out by Save the Children continued with the same success and sometimes on an even larger scale. The activities consisted of information sessions, school competitions and online projects involving over 41,015 children and 20,574 adults nationwide, as well as campaigns or conferences distributed online that gathered tens of thousands of views.

Find out more about Safer Internet Day in Romania. Alternatively, find out more about the work of the Romanian Safer Internet Centre, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services – or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.

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