Maltese Safer Internet Centre
About the organisation
Since 2010, BeSmartOnline! has served as the national Safer Internet Centre (SIC) for Malta and is implemented through a consortium that promotes the safer use of the internet and technology as a whole. The project is co-funded by the European Commission's Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) and is currently coordinated by Tech.mt and implemented through the partners made up of the Foundation for Social Welfare Services, the Office of the Commissioner for Children, the Directorate for Learning and Assessments Programmes and the Malta Police Force Cybercrime Unit.
The Maltese Safer Internet Centre exists to promote a safer and better use of the internet and mobile technologies among children and young people.
Profile last updated: June 2020
The main objective of the awareness centre is to empower children, parents, carers and teachers to make the best use of the internet while contributing on enhancing digital resource centres, from which specific awareness toolkits and services will be adapted and deployed, in collaboration with established third parties.
The helpline is the national helpline for Malta and offers its services through a freephone number, 179. The helpline is heavily involved in awareness-raising efforts and also has a very close working relationship with the Malta Police Force and other agencies related to child protection and welfare.
The helpline provides support for young people and their parents encountering harmful content (grooming), conduct (cyberbullying) and web content by one-to-one conversations via telephone, e-mail and online chat services with trained counsellors on online related issues, drawing up operating guidelines and providing qualitative feedback at European level.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The hotline receives reports through an online reporting form of content which is illegal by Maltese legislation. The hotline analysts review such content and refer it accordingly to the Maltese Cyber Crime Unit. Given that the hotline is a member of INHOPE, the reports are also referred to the hotline of the hosting country.
Youth participation is formally organised through a youth panel. The youth panel has five fixed members. Supplementing this, the youth panel coordinator also visits a number of schools in order to gather more ideas and feedback.
Email address: email@example.com
The Maltese Safer Internet Centre (SIC) has been successful in bringing together a number of key national entities whose mandates have traditionally had them working in isolation and in diverse fields. Through the project, it was recognised that the expertise of these entities and their respective objectives all diverge on the issues related to online risk. Having such a strong consortium has ensured that the SIC has managed to establish itself in Malta as national point of contact on this front.
This has been recognised by policy makers as evidenced by the number of times and extent to which the SIC has been consulted on policy and also legislative issues. The various collaborative efforts together with industry and the educational sector also recognise this.
Key supporters of the Maltese Safer Internet Centre (SIC) include:
- Directorate for Educational Services
- Secretariat for Catholic Education
- Independent Schools Association
- National Youth Agency
- University of Malta
The BeSmartOnline! consortium understands that cooperation is key to the successful implementation of the project. In view of this, an Advisory Board has been set up to act as a central channel of communication among stakeholders within the field of internet safety. In addition, in an effort to be in a position to reach a wider number of stakeholders, national cooperation and dialogue will be promoted through three expertise-specific fora, which discuss specific topics as mandated by the Advisory Board. These members play an important consultative role due to their expertise or representation of specific interest groups. These fora will include a psycho-social expert forum, an industry forum and a parent/carer forum.