Guilherme Santos, who was part of the Safer Internet Forum Youth Advisory Group (SIF YAG) in 2023 and served as one of the moderators for the panel "Life online - the voices of young influencers", highlighted "[…] the way we can explore new cultures, meet new people, and share knowledge on topics such as vulnerable groups on the internet and cyberbullying" during the event.
As for Sofia Melo, she asserted that "[…] participating in the BIK Youth Panel was very rewarding, exciting, and filled with new experiences and learning […]. With great pride, I headed to Brussels and represented Portugal!"
João Lopes, on his part, stated, "Going to Brussels to represent Portugal was undoubtedly an unforgettable experience! From engaging with interculturality to the responsibility of representing all young people in Europe […]. Representing our country at this conference at SIF 2023 was a role we all sought to fulfil with the utmost care and dedication, and the results went far beyond expectations. In addition to all this, the contact with political decision-makers, industry representatives, young people, and influencers of the present world was truly interesting and undoubtedly immensely inspiring."
Joana Martins, a young collaborator of the Insafe network, stated that her "[…] participation in SIF this year had different aspects: I participated as an attendee, "on the other side" of the "stage" where I had spoken in previous editions. I could listen in context, "seeing from the outside," the young people; integrate a wave of positive reactions, and that gave me (even more) certainty about the real impact of youth participation. The motto "Empowering YOUth" could not have been better represented […]. Competencies that need to be developed and the best strategies to put this training into practice were discussed. In the discussions I participated in, the general feeling was satisfaction for everything that is already being done, and proactivity and focus on the future, with advances from different parties (legislators, industry, representatives from the Safe Internet Centres - and young people, of course) on what they can do and what they would like to see done […]."
It should also be noted that, in addition to participating in the panels, young individuals Guilherme Santos and Sofia Melo were among the group of five young Europeans who took part in the first annual stakeholder meeting on the BIK Age Assurance Toolkit on 24 November 2023. They consider that, in addition to the contributions they made, this was a very enriching experience.
Furthermore, in addition to youth representation, a representative from the Directorate-General of Education was also present, participating in a panel discussion on the policies adopted to ensure that children and young people develop the necessary skills to face the impact that technologies can have on well-being.
Find out more about the work of the Portuguese Safer Internet Centre, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services – or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.