In the spotlight: Safer Internet Centre France

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 17 October 2022, the Insafe-INHOPE Coordination Team visited the French Safer Internet Centre in Paris. 

Date 2023-04-12 Author BIK Team Section awareness, helplines, hotlines, industry Topic media literacy/education, potentially harmful content Audience media specialist, organisations and industry, research, policy and decision makers, teachers, educators and professionals

The meeting started with an overview of national stakeholders and strategic partners. The French SIC highlighted that, through its Steering Committee, it is working with various national governmental and non-governmental bodies:

French SIC partners are the Ministry of national education and youth, Ministry of interior, Ministry of culture, Ministry of solidarity and health, State Secretary for digital transition and communications, DILRAH, CLEMI, CNIL, French government and Inter-ministry mission for the fight against drugs and addictive behaviours.

Figure 1: Steering Committee of the French SIC

Update from the Safer Internet Centre consortium

The current composition of the French SIC consortium consist of Tralalere, which coordinates the consortium while leading the awareness node (Internet Sans Crainte), e-Enfance operating the helpline services (3018), and Point de Contact operating the hotline services.

The awareness centre of the French SIC, Internet Sans Crainte, is noted to have an extensive reach across the country. This is mainly due to the facilitation of an ambassador network and trainings, through which the awareness centre exchange information and good practices with actors on the field such as NGOs, youth organisations, non-formal education services, family support organisations, and so on. It was also noted that this approach has been formalised and scaled up in recent years, with a dedicated person within the organisation to manage the ambassador network and facilitate these efforts. Done in parallel to the work with the formal education system (collaborations with schools and the Ministry of Education), the awareness centre plays a centralised role with an extensive reach in the national context.

The awareness centre has over one hundred online resources available for free via its website targeting various stakeholders such as educators and parents, as well as the ambassador network. These resources include awareness toolkits, awareness training sessions, and support guides for self-guided activities. It was also noted that, currently, the available resources are designed more specifically for adults and for classroom use. However, the centre is also planning to reach children more directly. Besides these resources, the awareness centre also provides trainings to education professionals to support young people with digital technologies. In addition, the centre also facilitates workshops with members of the ambassador network.

The helpline service of the French SIC, entitled 3018, is operated by e-Enfance. The service, which started with only two counsellors, has now grown to include five full-time counsellors. The helpline service is free of charge, anonymous and confidential, and supports teenagers, parents and professionals on all issues related to the use of digital technologies by young people (such as cyberbullying, revenge porn, webcam blackmail, overexposure to screens, video games, exposure to violent and pornographic content, account hacking and identity theft, among others).

3018 is available for contact by phone, chat, and email, as well as via Messenger and WhatsApp, six days a week from 9.00 to 20.00. It also provides services through a dedicated mobile app. In the future, the helpline hopes to extend its operations to the whole day throughout the week and on holidays.

It was also noted during the meeting that the French President Emmanuel Macron endorsed the helpline as a national service. The President wanted the helpline (previously called ‘net ecoute’) to transform into a national point of contact and, in 2021 as a first step in that direction, the name of the service was changed to 3018 in order to make it easier to remember. 

The helpline has also signed a series of agreements with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Justice, the 119 Enfance en Danger, the police and the gendarmerie, Pharos, Interministerial Committee for the Prevention of Delinquency and Radicalization (CIPDR), Interministerial Delegation for the Fight Against Racism, Anti-Semitism and Anti-LGBT Hatred (DILCRAH).

The French hotline, Point de Contact, was founded in 1998 as a self-regulatory instrument for the internet industry, in order to allow users to easily report potentially illegal content encountered online.

Point de Contact provides a simple, anonymous and mobile-friendly web form for reporting illegal content online. In addition, it also has a mobile app as well as web browser extensions available to download from the hotline website.

Point de Contact, which is also a founding member of INHOPE, was established with the aim of fighting against child sexual abuse content worldwide. The main scopes of activity of the hotline are child sexual abuse material (CSAM), racism and xenophobia, and terrorism, as well as other illegal content accessible to minors. It is always possible to report content anonymously but if a reporter wishes to be informed of the outcome of their report, they may provide an email address.

The French hotline also develops awareness resources based on the trends it observes in the country, such as a series of comic strips available to download from the hotline website. However, if the hotline receives any requests for awareness-raising activities or resources that are not directly related to their area of activity, it redirects these to Internet Sans Crainte.

Further information about the French 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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