Safer Internet Forum 2016

Safer Internet Forum (SIF) 2016 took place on Thursday, 24 November at Forum Geesseknäppchen in Luxembourg. This event saw more than 200 participants join together to discuss principles, policies and practices for a better internet.

Building on the European Strategy for a Better Internet for Children, SIF is an annual international conference delivered under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). Bringing together young people, parent and teacher representatives, industry and government policy makers, technological and awareness-raising experts, and political, educational and social leaders from Europe and beyond, this one-day event took a multistakeholder approach to ‘being the change' for a better internet.

On Wednesday 23 November 2016, 19 youth panellists from across Europe also met in Luxembourg at the European Youth Panel (YEP) which is an annual event which precedes SIF. The youth panel brings together young people from all over the Insafe network to prepare their active engagement and participation at the SIF and their meaningful contribution to the discussions.

A key objective in the European Commission's Digital Single Market strategy is to break down barriers for online trust and confidence among European citizens and consumers. In a digital age where one in three internet users are children, a fresh approach is needed to bring together actors, both old and new, to shape sustainable strategies to tackle harmful content and behaviour online.

Participants in Safer Internet Forum 2016 heard about the latest hopes and concerns regarding children's and young people's use of digital technology, while looking in more detail at recent (self-)regulatory mechanisms and partnerships to prevent or minimise problems. A number of inspiring voices provided their viewpoints as we look to the increasingly-connected future, and both the opportunities and challenges this may bring.

Professor Mary Aiken delivered the keynote session entitled ‘The cyber effect – where is the digital revolution taking us?'. A panel of experts from the field responded, with opportunities for comments from the audience also.

A series of parallel sessions in the morning considered ethical considerations and real-life implications, touching upon issues such as hate speech and radicalisation online, the commercialisation of childhood, and the challenges of eradicating child sexual abuse online.

The focus for the afternoon was on policies and practices, looking at the implications of harmful but not illegal content, EU regulatory frameworks and working with law enforcement.

The closing session - BIK to the future - examined what lies ahead for the Better Internet for Kids agenda and the many stakeholders working in the field.

Speaking before the event, Hans Martens, Digital Citizenship Team and Programme Manager at European Schoolnet (EUN) who have organised the event on behalf of the EC said: "SIF 2016 will provide a unique opportunity, not only to discuss the latest trends in digital technology, but also to critically reflect upon the principles and values we share as a European community of safer/better internet stakeholders. By exploring how to translate our views and ideas into meaningful policies and practices, while listening to the voice of youth, we are confident we can protect minors online, while empowering them to positively shape the future of the internet."

Find out more about Safer Internet Forum, and download the Forum brochure including the agenda and speaker biographies at www.betterinternetforkids.eu/sif2016. A post-event report and presentations will subsequently be made available at the same location.

To stay up to date all year round with news and resources on the latest trends and challenges in online life, sign up for the quarterly Better Internet for Kids bulletin.


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