The day was proclaimed with a resolution emphasising the need to involve young people, as the leaders of the future, in community activities promoting diversity, international understanding, and respect for diverse cultures and backgrounds through the simplest spirit of human solidarity – friendship.
With the day, the General Assembly of the United Nations recognises the value of friendship as a noble and significant sentiment in the lives of humans around the world and affirms that friendship can contribute to the efforts of the international community, for example in the promotion of dialogue.
Culture of Peace
The International Day of Friendship is an initiative that is based on the proposal made by UNESCO defining the Culture of Peace as a set of values, attitudes and behaviours that reject violence and endeavour to prevent conflicts by addressing their root causes to solve problems. The proposal was officially adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1997.
As the UN has stated, “Our world faces many challenges, crises and forces of division that undermine peace, security, development, and social harmony among the world’s peoples. To confront those crises and challenges, their root causes must be addressed by promoting and defending a shared spirit of human solidarity that takes many forms — the simplest of which is friendship.”
Better Internet for Kids support for the International Day of Friendship
Here on the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) portal, we recognise the role of friendship in the online world - for example, connecting generations and celebrating diversity online. This has been especially the case during the pandemic, where we have spent more time than ever connecting online.
Moreover, we support the UN’s stance on friendship and as a way to involve young people through the simplest spirit of human solidarity – friendship, because they will be the leaders of the future. That is why we aim to give youth a way of sharing their views on how to build a better internet. Each year, a BIK Youth Panel is organised prior and during the Safer Internet Forum (SIF), encouraging a group of youth panellists and ambassadors to voice not just their personal opinions and challenges, but also those of their peers whom they are representing at a European level. Youth panellists work together to come up with principles and activities for a better internet, first debating issues in online meetings and brainstorming over youth participation activities as preparation for meeting face to face.
Learn more about how children and young people are actively participating in the Better Internet for Kids agenda and shaping a better, safer online experience for the future on the BIK Youth portal.
Of course, although many valuable connections are made in the online space, online friendships need to be approached with caution. The Insafe network of European Safer Internet Centres (SICs) has developed pedagogical resources and articles on the topic of online friendships and how to approach them with caution, in a variety of European languages and for different audiences:
- Check out our article on how to be conscious of online communication and relationships and the importance of education on these topics.
- On the occasion of Safer Internet Day on 8 February 2022, the Latvian Safer Internet Centre (SIC) launched the campaign “Dangerous friendship on the internet”. The campaign focused on the issue of grooming on the internet.
- As we spend more time online, it increases the possibility of being targeted by other individuals with the intention of harm. That is why the Maltese Safer Internet Centre gives some tips that help you decode whether a situation might be getting out of hand.