To keep young people safe in the online world, combined efforts are necessary. The European Commission co-funds a network of Safer Internet Centres (SICs), located throughout Europe, to work towards a safe online space for children and young people. Safer Internet Centres typically consist of a national awareness centre and a helpline to support children, young people and parents in dealing with harmful issues they face online, along with a youth participation element, organised by the Insafe network. Alongside this, Safer Internet Centres also provide a hotline service, coordinated by the International Association of Internet Hotlines (INHOPE), to fight against child sexual abuse material (CSAM) online and other illegal content.
As online safety is so crucial for everyone around the world, many countries have established services based on the successful European Safer Internet Centre model.
Following these developments, the Insafe-INHOPE Coordination Team rolled out the Safer Internet Centre+ pilot programme, under the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) umbrella. The piloting phase included organisations from Armenia, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Serbia and Ukraine. Following on from the success of the pilot phase, the SIC+ programme has now been extended with new members from Albania, Ghana, Moldova, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey recently joining the programme. The whole group met for a first webinar in April 2022, during which topics and priorities for the programme and future webinars were discussed.
Overall, the programme has three objectives:
- To foster knowledge sharing and capacity building on successful initiatives on online safety for children and young people.
- To promote the development and implementation of innovative actions to increase the participation of third-country organisations in online safety initiatives and best practices.
- To address common challenges in the field of online safety for children and young people by promoting cooperation with the Insafe-INHOPE network.
To reach these objectives, several activity lines are planned for the coming year. Through the capacity-building programme, the SIC+ network is invited to join quarterly webinars to exchange information and best practices. Moreover, SIC+ members are encouraged to take part in several events organised by the Insafe-INHOPE Coordination Teams, such as the annual Safer Internet Forum, bi-annual Insafe and INHOPE Training meetings, and topic-based focus groups. SIC+ members are also invited to actively support actions in their countries and celebrate the annual Safer Internet Day campaign, next taking place in February 2023.
Throughout the course of the programme, SIC+ members are encouraged to share their experiences, relevant resources, and national activities which will also be showcased on the BIK portal. Hence, stay tuned as we’ll bring you further news on this initiative as it progresses, along with further insights into the work of the programme participants.