In the spotlight: Safer Internet Centre Hungary

As part of the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) Quality Assurance Programme (QAP), the Insafe-INHOPE Coordination Teams are jointly conducting a set of fourteen 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 30 March 2022, the Insafe-INHOPE Coordination Team visited the Hungarian Safer Internet Centre in Budapest.

Date 2022-08-03 Author BIK Team Section awareness, helplines, hotlines Topic media literacy/education, online reputation Audience media specialist, organisations and industry, research, policy and decision makers
Visual with a yellow map of Europe and the phrase

Insafe-INHOPE Coordination Team with representatives of the Safer Internet Centre Hungary.

Insafe-INHOPE Coordination Team with representatives of the Safer Internet Centre Hungary 

The meeting started with an overview of national stakeholders and strategic partners, namely three key partners:  

  • T-Systems Hungary with whom the centre has a three-year-long cooperation agreement and regularly organises events and campaigns, such as Safer Internet Day 2022 activities and the annual Media Conference. 
  • and Google Hungary with whom the SIC has been working on the ‘Be Internet Awesome’ programme that teaches children and young people the fundamentals of digital citizenship and safety so they can explore the online world with confidence. 
  • The Ministry of Human Capacities with whom the centre collaborates on the most disadvantaged settlements in Hungary and topics such as the vulnerability of children in disadvantaged areas, oral hygiene, and mental health. Moreover, with the support of the Ministry, the SIC is also currently working on the Ukrainian border providing sanitary and other support for refugee children and their families. 

In addition, the centre mentioned collaborations with Microsoft Hungary, Mercedes Hungary, OTP Bank, Waberer’s International Company, Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights of Hungary, National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Hungary, Prosecution Service, and the National Cyber Security Centre. 

Update from the Safer Internet Centre consortium 

The current composition of the Hungarian consortium implementing the Safer Internet programme is the International Children’s Safety Service which is the consortium leader and operator of the national awareness centre and hotline. In addition, Kék Vonal Child Crisis Foundation operates the national helpline. 

Structure of the Safer Internet Centre Hungary. Credits: Safer Internet Centre Hungary

Structure of the Safer Internet Centre Hungary 

The International Children’s Safety Service (ICSS) has acted as SIC coordinator and national awareness centre since 2009. Building upon its rich experience, the scope of ICSS is extremely versatile, including the delivery of a wide range of programmes and awareness activities for children and young people, as well as teachers and parents. It consists of a team of professional trainers and offers well-developed educational materials for its target audiences which are free of charge and available to download online

Kék Vonal Child Crisis Foundation is a general helpline which has existed since 1993, and has been part of the Hungarian Safer Internet Centre consortium since 2008. The helpline offers 24/7 services, including telephone, email and chat services, through the website (called EMIL).

Kék Vonal enjoys great national cooperation with the Hungarian police, the child protection system, national hotlines ( hotline and NMHH hotline), Hungarian schools and various NGOs.  

Kék Vonal offers a range of services as part of four main programmes: 

  • Child Mental Health programme – 116 111 Child Helpline. 
  • Child Protection programme – 116 000 Hotline for missing and exploited children. 
  • Internet Safety programme – Internet Helpline service. 
  • School prevention programme. 

The main contacts to the internet helpline, according to the Insafe helpline categories, relate to issues around cyberbullying, grooming/hate speech, love/relationships/sexuality, and sexting/sextortion/sexual harassment. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, contacts related to mental health have increased. Moreover, lately, since the conflict in Ukraine has started, the helpline, being a general helpline, is receiving many contacts in this regard. 

Additionally, the helpline also mentioned an increase in chat consultations since the pandemic which has proved challenging: the same conversation takes more time in chat than through phone, and there is a need for more counsellors to handle all contacts. 

Furthermore, as one of its success stories, Kék Vonal presented its recent involvement in the EC-funded deSHAME project which focuses on digital exploitation and sexual harassment among minors in Europe. The project is a cooperation between Childnet International, Save the Children Denmark, Kék Vonal and The University of Central Lancashire. Project outcomes were presented at the Insafe Training Meeting in November 2021

ICSS took over the hotline operation from Biztonsagosinternet in 2019. Alongside this, ICSS also became a member of INHOPE. Due to this, INHOPE also organised a separate meeting (the day following the national visit) with a representative of the Police headquarters (contracted partner of ICSS) during which the current cooperation, collaboration and joint plans of the two organisations were discussed. Moreover, representative of the law enforcement agency also presented the relevant Hungarian laws and regulations, especially regarding child sexual abuse material (CSAM). 

During the national visit, it was also announced that ICSS has signed a cooperation agreement with the National Media and Info Communication Authority, which operates another hotline in Hungary. The cooperation agreement was signed on 29 March 2022 by the presidents of the two organisations. Both organisations consider each other to be partners in the field of creating a safe digital environment for children and future generations, and in combating threats to children from various sources in the online space. 

The cooperation agreement is a great step forward and will surely support the challenges ICSS faced over the past two years. The cooperation agreement was very much welcomed by the INHOPE representatives who are looking forward to a fruitful joint collaboration with both hotlines. 

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

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