Celebrating a decade of the Portuguese Safer Internet Centre

  • Awareness
  • 10/01/2018
  • Portuguese Safer Internet Centre

The end of 2017 marked a decade of operation for the Portuguese Safer Internet Centre (SIC). Over those years, the number of initiatives and resources has grown, along with the number of local and national partnerships that have been established in aiming to create a safer and better internet for Portugal's children and young people. Here, the Portuguese SIC team revisit some of the key moments of its 10th year.

As in previous years, in February 2017, the Portuguese SIC celebrated Safer Internet Day (SID). For the second time, the SIC held a seminar at the Picoas Forum in Lisbon, reaching more than 200 people. Throughout the month, the project, together with the consortium and through its partners, registered more than 217,000 participants and the involvement of more than 8,500 schools in SID-related activities.

Throughout the year, and following on from a partnership started in 2016, the project developed a set of awareness-raising initiatives at Casa Pia de Lisboa (CPL). These sessions not only targeted institutionalised children, but also professionals working in the various homes. Different methodologies were used depending on the audience: young people from 6 to 17 were organised in small groups of five or six, coordinated by two technicians who addressed different topics related to their online practices; for young people aged 17 and 18 living in independent accommodation, as well as CPL technicians, discussion sessions were held on various themes relating to sexting and online relationships, as well as digital footprints and online reputation, and its impact on issues.

Sessions were also held for parents and caregivers at the São João de Brito College in Lisbon, involving more than 295 participants between March and May 2017.

In cooperation with Nokia Portugal, the Portuguese SIC held two sessions in May 2017, integrated in the "Well-Being @ Work" programme which the company has developed for its employees. In these sessions, different technical issues were addressed from the creation of passwords, to the identification of phishing schemes and online fraud, to issues related to the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Internet of Toys. Sessions took place in Lisbon and Aveiro involving around 45 participants.

Also in May 2017, the SIC collaborated with the Parents' Association of Esmoriz Secondary School, promoting a session, in a post-work schedule, directed at both parents and the local community to draw attention to online safety and the importance of parental involvement as a foundation for digital and media literacy.

In June 2017, in partnership with PSP and the Oeiras Citizens' Network, the SIC participated in a first "Safety Coffee" session, addressed to all citizens of the Municipality of Oeiras. A particular focus was placed on the senior population, promoting a welcoming environment for discussion on good security practices, not only in the physical world, but in the digital world too. Approximately 30 people attended the first session.

As the year went on, the Portuguese Safer Internet Centre took an informative and proactive stance on the media approach to the "Blue Whale Challenge", alerting the Portuguese public to the risks of the dissemination of "fake news" and, later, the risks of online phenomena which popularise self-mutilation and suicide.

To highlight the potential of the internet, the SIC also joined the launch of the European Positive Online Content campaign in September 2017, where it disseminated a set of messages for young people, parents, teachers and producers of online content, aimed at creating pedagogical content focused on the development of children and young people.

As the year drew to a close, the SIC collaborated with Google and the Portuguese Consumer Rights Association on the launch of the "Net Viva e Segura" initiative which aims to give a voice to young people and promote discussion around different topics such as online reputation and the internet as a tool for learning and self-promotion.

The year was equally rich in the development of innovative resources to promote safer online behaviours…

To celebrate Safer Internet Day 2017, the Portuguese SIC launched the Digital Resource 2017. This successful resource has garnered more than 450 downloads and, through dissemination through schools, libraries, municipalities and other national partners, has reached approximately 64,000 people. The resource has also been adapted and used by the Macau Portuguese School.

After launching the web series "Net with Consciência", the Portuguese SIC also launched adapted versions with subtitles, audio description and Portuguese sign language. These resources have been used in awareness-raising actions in schools and municipalities throughout the country.

Additionally, in partnership with Go-To Productions, the SIC launched six episodes of the children's animation series "Stories of the Lucas" where it addressed different themes related to digital citizenship and promoted the country's helpline service, "Safe Internet Line".

These were just some of the most important moments of the year. These – and so many others like them – were only made possible as a result of national, local and regional cooperation. Since its creation, the Portuguese Safer Internet Centre has counted on the support of its Advisory Board; a team of experts and professionals, from different areas, who have contributed to the orientation and promotion of the project throughout the country. For all our partners, we thank you and we count on you for a better internet!

And, as 2018 commences, the Portuguese Safer Internet Centre is now busy preparing to celebrate Safer Internet Day 2018, which will be held in Braga (in the north of the country) on Tuesday, 6 February – find out more about its plans for the day on the Safer Internet Day website.

Alternatively, find out more about the work of the Portuguese Safer Internet Centre (SIC) more generally, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services.

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