Create, connect and share respect… from a parental viewpoint

  • Awareness
  • 10/03/2018
  • Luxembourgish Safer Internet Centre

On Safer Internet Day (SID) 2018 (Tuesday, 6 February), Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, launched an EU-wide series of initiatives entitled #SaferInternet4EU at an event at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Representatives from a number of Safer Internet Centres (SICs) from across Europe were in attendance. Here, Lynn Frank, a mother who was part of the Luxembourgish SIC delegation, shares her experiences from the event.

"At the beginning of February 2018, I was invited to join the delegation from Luxembourg's Safer Internet Centre (SIC), BEE SECURE, to the Safer Internet Day celebrations at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The focus of this meeting was the launch of a new EU initiative around teaching and sharing good cyber hygiene; that is the development and continued use of good habits when using all digital devices.
 
"Safer Internet Day (SID) has taken place on the first Tuesday in February for the past 15 years. On this day, Safer Internet Centres (SIC) all over Europe, and indeed the world, share the projects they have been doing with young people, teachers, parents and other interested adults throughout the year to raise awareness of this crucial work in our world today. Over the years, this work has moved towards the idea of not only a safer internet but also a better internet for everyone. This includes discussion and debate with all stakeholders, from Google, Facebook and retailers like Amazon, to the people in charge of law and policy making, to schools, youth organisations and families. It is testimony to how seriously this subject is taken that this year's SID was marked by the launch of the EU-wide #SaferInternet4EU campaign. This work is literally touching millions of people's lives.
 
"Most importantly, among the panel of people who joined us at the EU launch were 20 + young people from all over Europe. It is generally accepted within each SIC that young people's involvement is crucial in the development of relevant, useful and practical strategies in the field of a better internet for all. However, we are yet to see how each individual country ensures the input of young people's views in the development of their own policy framework for this.
 
"Each of the eight Safer Internet Centres which were present in Strasbourg gave a short presentation on the range of creative, engaging, and educational work they have been engaged in with young people and teachers throughout the year. Young people were asked to present and give feedback on these initiatives and questions that arose. There were discussions around the need to focus more on primary-aged children as statistics show that more and more children are receiving their first smartphone before the age of 10. There were discussions about the role of patents in modeling "good" behavior around digital use including using smartphones as "babysitters", having house rules around digital use that they clearly don't follow for themselves, and posting embarrassing photos of their kids online. There were also discussions around the importance of sharing resources (that can be repackaged for different countries) and how many SICs are already doing this in practice. And there were discussions around the "Dark Web", and the exploitation of young people by adults as well as companies who use aggressive marketing techniques. The meeting closed with a promise from Commissioner Mariya Gabriel that this was a subject dear to the heart of the European Commission and one which would continue to receive support in the form of legislation and policy debate, and the backing of an EU-wide competition to reward high-quality resources and inspiring initiatives on safer and better internet from professionals, teachers and young people.
 
"It was a privilege to be invited to take part in this event. My only concern as a parent was the lack of work being done directly with parents or, at least, involving parents. Although I know every person there would say that parents play a crucial role in the teaching and modeling of good habits for their children and society as a whole, there still seems to be a lack of joined-up thinking in this area. I am of course not naïve to the fact that sometimes engaging, involving and even reaching out to parents can be challenging, but I still have a rather utopian view that if only we could complete the triangle, TEACHER - PARENT - CHILD, as equal players in our continued education for life, then maybe we could learn better ways to create, connect and share respect …. and to possibly bridge the digital generation gap."
 
Contact BEE SECURE (the Safer Internet Centre in Luxembourg) to find out more about local initiatives, information and tips to enhance online safety including the BEE CREATIVE Maker Space at www.bee-secure.lu - many resources are available in German and French. See here for a list of similar country contacts within Europe.
 
See also the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) portal for a range of resources in different languages, and European Commission policy Information which introduces the European Strategy for a Digital Single Market.
 
Find out more about Safer Internet Day more generally at www.saferinternetday.org.

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  • Awareness
  • 09/03/2018
  • Luxembourgish Safer Internet Centre

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  • Awareness
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  • Luxembourgish Safer Internet Centre

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