Insafe network meets to discuss fake news and the internet of toys

Today, the Insafe network of Safer Internet Centres (SICs) begins a two-day meeting in Zagreb, Croatia, exchanging knowledge and expertise about the latest online issues and trends and how it may impact on the work of awareness centres and helplines in Europe.

A particular focus for this meeting is on fake news, echo chambers and filter bubbles. Are they the next generation of online-related challenges? Are they old foes wearing new clothes? Or are they something else? Expert in the field, Martina Chapman, will look at this highly topical issue in the context of digital media consumption and creation, and will consider the potential role that some social norms and human behaviours might play. With an emphasis on the importance of developing critical thinking skills, she will argue that the promotion of digital media literacy, supported by cross-sector collaboration and coordination, is essential in encouraging informed democratic participation, civic engagement and personal wellbeing.

A secondary focus of the meeting is on gaining a better understanding of some of the challenges surrounding internet-enabled toys. Children may delight in their toys being able to talk back to them, but what are the safety and privacy implications of their conversations and modes of play being stored?

Part of the meeting will be given over to "carousel" knowledge-sharing sessions, allowing attendees to hear from colleagues from across the Insafe network on latest approaches to issues such as children's exposure to pornography; comparative approaches to tackling cyberbullying and the importance of parental involvement in developing effective anti-bullying strategies; countering hate speech online; and the challenges of implementing the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) from a children's rights perspective. Attendees will also get to learn about new tools and resources, such an app to counter online addiction by providing informative, preventive and therapeutic goals. In addition, the network will start planning actions for Safer Internet Day 2018, scheduled to take place on Tuesday, 6 February 2018.

Insafe network coordinator, Hans Martens said: "We are delighted to welcome many of our Insafe colleagues to this training meeting. These meetings provide a great opportunity to network, share expertise, and to collectively address emerging challenges in the online sphere. This collaborative approach allows us to build our network knowledge base and plan coordinated actions to provide the young people of Europe with safer and better experiences online, while also enhancing their digital literacy awareness and skills."

Visit the Better Internet for Kids portal at to discover more about the work of the Insafe network of Safer Internet Centres and wider stakeholders in the field, and sign up for the quarterly Better Internet for Kids bulletin for news and resources on the latest trends and challenges in online life.

Learn more about the Croatian Safer Internet Centre.

Article updated on Tuesday 23 May. 

Take a look below at some of the highlights of the Training Meeting on social media.

Insafe Training Meeting - 17-18 May 2017: Fake News 

Insafe Training Meeting - 17-18 May 2017: Internet of Toys

Insafe Training Meeting - 17-18 May 2017: Carousel Sessions

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