SID 2018 in Bulgaria: Children, youth and teachers discussed fake news

  • Awareness
  • 14/02/2018
  • Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre

Following Safer Internet Day 2018, we've heard from a number of SID Committees on how they marked the day. In Bulgaria, more than 50 people, including children and teenagers from fifth to twelft grades, teachers, representatives of various institutions and organizations, gathered at the Museum of Science "Muzeiko" in Sofia on 6 of February to mark the 15th edition of Safer Internet Day.

Among the official guests of the event was the Executive Director of the Society for Electronic Communications and Deputy Chairman of the SIC Advisory board Aneta Ivanova, the Head of Transborder Organized Crime Department at General Directorate Combating Organized Crime, Yavor Kolev. The EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Digital Society Mariya Gabriel also joined the event through a video link from Strasbourg.

At the beginning of the event, 21 Cyberscouts from 79 Indira Gandi School in Sofia, Yane Sandanski Primary School in Plovdiv and Prof. Ivan Batakliev Primary School in Pazardjik were awarded with certificates from General Directorate Combating Organized Crime and tablets from Telenor Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Safer Internet Center. They participated in a national competition between 242 Cyberscouts from 12 settlements trained by the Safer Internet Center in 2017. The competition aimed to determine which was the best activity for raising awareness on internet safety among peers.

The main module of the event was planned and conducted by young people from the Youth Panel of the Bulgarian Safer Internet Center. Young and adult participants were divided into groups and each group received one media post to discuss and decide whether it was true or fake news and to prove their conclusion to others. The method of World Café was used and participants moved to each table in order to discuss all the media materials. In the course of the discussion, the participants discussed on how the trustworthiness on online information ocan be determined and pointed out the main appropriate methods for assessing information reliability.

A video-link from the event in Sofia with the participants in the European event for the Safer Internet Day in Strasbourg, led by EU commissioner Mariya Gabriel, was established which included: 

  • a presentation by the youth panellists on what they had been discussing in Sofia on the topic of fake news and information assessment,
  • the new Bulgarian SIC campaign for schools
  • the launch of a mobile app providing quick access to the SIC Helpline and Hotline
  • the launch of a password strength checker and
  • a test to check one's knowledge about the safer use of internet

At the end of the event, a several campaigns and initiatives starting at the Safer Internet Day by a new Coalition for Digital and Media Literacy in Education including 14 organizations and institutions were announced.

The Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre, as one of the founders of the coalition, provided lesson plans for teachers aimed at developing their students' digital and media skills. There are different lesson plans for different age groups available on the Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre's website  and can be downloaded by teachers to use in class. A feedback form for teachers who want to use these lesson plans is also available on the website. As parental support for development of children's digital and media literacy is also very important, along with these lesson plans, within the same campaign, the Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre developed a particular presentation on Digital and Media Literacy for parents. It can be used by teachers as a conversation starter with parents on this topic at school. This presentation is also available online and can be downloaded freely.

A new online campaign against hate speech online "Ot teb zavisi" ("It depends on you"), provided by Telenor Bulgaria with the support of Bulgarian SIC, was also announced. Within the campaign, famous Bulgarian vloggers, actors and singers participate in video clips in which they share their personal experience with hate speech online and give some advice on how to handle hateful comments.

The Voice of Children Foundation announced a competition for teenagers "The truth about…" Young people can submit their essays, videos and audio recordings devoted to debunking fake news. The best materials will be uploaded on the website of the foundation which is also a youth online media.

The Council of children of the State Agency for Child Protection announced the start of a series of meetings on the topic of the safety of children on the internet which will be provided in 15 districts in the country with the support of the Bulgarian National Television and the General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime.

Digital Kidz Foundation announced the start of a 6-month training programme for teachers and students which will be provided in more than 10 schools in the country.

This series of events and initiatives is united within the framework of the National Media Literacy Campaign, which will end on March 17 with a national parents' forum in Sofia co-organized by Telenor Bulgaria, the online media "Maiko Mila" and the Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre.

Find out more about the Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre's SID activities here.

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