Safer Internet Day 2018 celebrations in Latvia

  • Awareness
  • 19/03/2018
  • Latvian Safer Internet Centre

A focus of Safer Internet Day 2018 in Latvia was on making parents and pedagogues aware of the importance of encouraging children and adolescents to spend time online meaningfully: for example, by using targeted and high-quality content to improve and strengthen their knowledge and critical thinking skills.

The Latvian Safer Internet Centre (SIC), together with the Ministry of Culture, hosted a SID press conference during which a recent study on children's and adolescent's media literacy skills and their usage of modern technologies was presented, revealing that watching online videos is the most popular way of spending time on the internet among children and young people in Latvia. About half (46 per cent) of children aged 9 to 12, and 41 per cent of teenagers aged 13 to16, watch video blogs or video bloggers and celebrities on YouTube for several hours each day. Moreover, 40 per cent of children and teenagers spend time online without any particular intention, mainly watching random videos or browsing pictures. Experts from the SIC and the Ministry commented that key findings from this comprehensive study drew the conclusion that children's skills on media literacy and digital competence should be further strengthened, and that these topics should be more thoroughly integrated into the school curriculum through compulsory studies.
 
Presentation at Latvian SID 2018 eventTo encourage youngsters to use media responsibly and get engaged in making the internet a better place, the Latvian SIC organised a Youth Forum titled "I'm on the internet! I participate!" for youngsters aged 15 to 18. The Youth Forum was focused on how to develop a fundamental sense of media literacy skills among youngsters – that is, improving their ability to critically evaluate online content and activities on the internet such as spotting fake news, checking the facts before sharing posts, and so on. Speakers included a media policy expert from the Ministry of Culture, head of the E-service Department from the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, the social media editor from Latvia's most popular news portal Delfi.lv, and a founder of TechHub Riga.
 
Youth audience at Latvian SID eventExperts encouraged youngsters to use social media responsibly, demonstrating real examples of fake news being disseminated online in the Latvian media and emphasising the consequences it can have for the nation and Latvian media in general. Youngsters were also encouraged to engage in making the internet a better place by creating media content themselves, rather than just consuming the content created by others.
 
Alongside the Youth Forum, participants attended workshops with media experts. Teachers participated in workshops sharing best practices for setting rules for mobile phone use in schools, while youngsters participated in workshops with experts who inspired them to think, evaluate and participate in different important social processes online. The participating experts included a multimedia artist, and representatives from the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence and the Ministry of Culture.
 
Youngsters and others who were interested in the event but were unable to attend in person had the opportunity to watch it live on the Latvian SIC's website at Drossinternets.lv and on Facebook, reaching in total 1,253 unique views.
 
As part of SID 2018 activities, schools were also invited to participate in a "Photo detective" contest where children and youngsters had to find the differences in pictures and text messages. The activity was a way of finding out if they understood how easy it is to manipulate people's minds with seemingly innocent pictures. The contest was organised as an online quiz available for the whole month of February, with more than 10,500 children and young people participating.
 
Latvian photo detective competition
 
In order to find out the role of opinion leaders – such as celebrities – and understand if young people are involved in the discussions and activities of these leaders, the Latvian SIC teamed up with lifestyle blogger Maija Armaneva (23,000 followers) and multimedia artist Kasher (15,000 followers) to conduct a social experiment on Instagram. Both bloggers encouraged their followers to be active and express their views on specific issues or small tasks. The experiment showed that the more time and energy they requested from their followers – for example, to help, to advise and to recommend – the less participation and responsiveness they got. Watch a video of the experiment here.
 
Latvian social experiment for SID 2018
 
The Latvian Safer Internet Centre also invited Latvian schools and libraries to take part in Safer Internet Day celebrations by organising internet safety events in their parish, city, region/village schools, libraries and youth centres. As a result, Safer Internet Day was celebrated with more than 65 events across Latvia, involving more than 5,000 participants. See the event map below and click on the markers to find out more.
 

View the Latvian SID photo gallery here and see the Latvian Safer Internet Day profile page for further information.
 
Find out more about the work of the Latvian Safer Internet Centre (SIC), including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services.
 
Images copyright of the Latvian Safer Internet Centre.

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