Bulgaria builds a national Cyberscouts network

  • Awareness
  • 26/09/2017
  • Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre

For the third year running, the Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre (SIC) and its hotline have been training 12 and 13-year-old students across the country to advise and help their peers who have faced a risk or an incident on the internet. With eighteen completed trainings and four more coming up this autumn, the Cyberscouts' network will number more than 500 students in over 30 cities across the country.

The Cyberscouts programme was launched back in 2015 with financial support from the European Commission and Telenor Bulgaria, and the support of the Ministry of Interior and the Cybercrime Unit. At the end of each year, a competition between schools is held for their students to apply for the Cyberscouts training. A jury then selects the schools and a team of three experts from the hotline and the wider Safer Internet Centre visit the school and train groups of up to 30 children over a period of two days.

The first day of the interactive training is focused on online risks and ways to avoid them. The pupils are taught the following:

  • How to verify the new online friends and if they are fake.
  • Typical indications to identify if the new "friend" could be a paedophile.
  • Where and how to report any concerns.
  • How to react to extortion and cyberbullying.

During the second day, the children are prepared for their three key roles as Cyberscouts via simulations and discussions:

  • To be a model for safer internet use.
  • To help peers with advice.
  • To reach out to other peers and transfer their knowledge.

At the end of the training, the students receive a Cyberscouts Certificate and are then invited to form their teams, prepare and conduct an initiative or event for their peers. A national jury selects the three best initiatives based on feedback from teachers, photos and other materials the teams have prepared. The three best teams are then invited to the national Safer Internet Day event where they receive Certificates of Achievement from the Ministry of Interior and gifts from industry hotline partners.

The SIC and hotline teams maintain communication with all the teams who passed the training via closed Facebook groups for each year's Cyberscouts. Students can access these closed groups via their parent's or teacher's accounts on Facebook. They receive information about new risks, various initiatives and events, and are regularly assigned missions. With each new completed mission, the teams receive scores and continue competing with the other teams around the country.

This programme has been positively evaluated by schools around the country and, each year, the number of requests has been growing.

Find out more about the work of the Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services.

Find out more about the global Safer Internet Day campaign.

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