Portuguese youth play their part for a better internet

  • News
  • 10/02/2016
  • Youth Ambassador

On the occasion of Safer Internet Day (SID) 2016, we asked our youth panellists for their views on the theme of ‘Play your part for a better internet!'. Here, João from Portugal shares his thoughts.

"Everyone can contribute to make something better and, when it comes to the internet, that is no different. Once again, Safer Internet Day serves as a beacon to all who want to contribute because together we can do more. I will tell you what I have been doing and, hopefully, you will revise yourself, or at least you will think of taking action and consider how you will ‘Play your part for a better internet!'.
 
"As in previous years, initiatives all around the country are organised to celebrate SID. So I wondered, why shouldn't I prepare something as well? I went for it and arranged some sessions in some nearby schools. The goal was to reach out to young people who are taking the first steps of their journey through the internet, but I ended up sharing ideas with older teens as well.
 
"Believe it or not, it wasn't so much about what I was teaching them, but rather to make them wonder. Information is available online, parents, educators and teachers give them the same tips over and over, which is extremely important but, in the same way, incomplete from my point of view. For me, those teens were full of questions, and I was someone who did not look like an authority, I looked like them, and that was undoubtedly the tipping point for them to engage in frenetic discussions.
 
"For the youngest (11-13 years old), I brought up the subject of ‘smartphones and their features'. Some of them failed to use password protection, but every class I visited was pleased to hear further recommendations about how they could use the apps on their phones safely. In an interactive activity where they used their own phones, they were able to install antivirus and spyware protection, as well as to learn some tricks on how to spot fake and harmful content.
 
"As far as the older students are concerned (15-17 years old), the debate focused on privacy and information ownership. I noticed that there are still plenty of doubts on who the information we post belongs to, whether in social networks or not. I am confident that most of them became more aware of the issue and they even wanted to learn how to manage what they share, controlling where the information could go.
 
"Fortunately, my contribution to SID did not stop there. I was invited to be present at a national SID celebration event, held by the Portugal Safer Internet Centre, ‘InternetSegura.pt'. Here I was a member of a round table discussion about ‘A vida para além do like!' (Life beyond the like!). Conclusions and necessary actions were drawn on subjects such as dependency, online reputation and digital footprints. Among the audience there were, of course, young people, and also government and internet industry representatives.
 
"I've played my part. What about you?"
 

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