Romania: Regional seminars on children's online safety

  • Awareness
  • 07/12/2018
  • Romanian Safer Internet Centre

Between May and June 2018, Save the Children Romania organised regional seminars on "Child protection and participation in the online environment", in collaboration with the Ministry of National Education, the National Authority for Child Protection and Adoption, and the General Police Inspectorate. 

The seminars were attended by 260 specialists from all the counties in Romania, representatives of the County School Inspectorates, the County Centers for Resources and Educational Assistance, the Teaching Staff Houses, the General Directorates for Social Assistance and Child Protection and the County Police Inspectorates - the Analysis Departments and Prevention of Crime and Bureaus of Organised Crime.

Following studies on children's internet use in the Ora de Net project, it was revealed that 46 per cent of children communicate online with strangers, and half of them go and meet face to face with these strangers. At the same time, 45 per cent of children say they have been cyberbullied in the last year while on the internet, 22 per cent say they have seen or received sexual messages, 42 per cent of them say they were personally sent a message or picture with explicit sexual content, and 5 per cent have been asked for a photo or video revealing their intimate parts.

Considering the prevalence of internet-related risk situations or mobile-related activities, the Ora de Net team conducted eight regional seminars on "Child protection and participation in the online environment". Each event brought together representatives of neighbouring counties, and established the basis for cross-sectoral cooperation at the level of each county through open dialogue, thus forming 43 local intervention teams to fight online child abuse.

The seminar was interactive. The participants worked in teams according to their specialisations, and prepared a presentation of the expertise in their field for their colleagues in the other structures. The eight seminars were held in May 2018.

  • May 4 - Craiova: Dolj, Olt, Valcea, Gorj, Mehedinti
  • May 7 - Timişoara: Timiş, Arad, Alba, Hunedoara, Caraş-Severin
  • May 8 - Cluj-Napoca: Cluj, Bihor, Sălaj, Bistrita-Nasaud, Satu-Mare, Maramures
  • May 10 - Brasov: Brasov, Sibiu, Mures, Harghita, Covasna, Dambovita
  • May 11 - Braila: Braila, Constanta, Tulcea, Galati, Buzau, Vrancea May 16 - Iasi: Iasi, Suceava, Botosani, Neamt, Bacau, Vaslui
  • May 17 - Bucureşti: Bucharest 1-6 sector, Ilfov
  • May 18 - Bucharest: Prahova, Arges, Teleorman, Giurgiu, Calarasi, Ialomita

"In addition to awareness raising resources and campaigns addressed directly to children, we work with child education and protection specialists to ensure that there is a properly informed support network in place regarding the activities that young people undertake online, ready to intervene in the interests of children", said Gabriela Alexandrescu, Executive President of Save the Children Romania.

Coming from complementary areas such as education, psychology, social assistance and legal protection, specialists can act as a support and intervention body in digital abuse situations experienced by children in their county, in collaboration with the Ora de Net team. The impact of cross-sectoral collaboration will allow a holistic approach to children's information needs on their online safety, and a complex presentation of the psychological, social and legal outlook of online situations, but also abusive situations.

"Participating in the Seminar ‘Child protection and participation in the online environment' organised by Save the Children in Cluj-Napoca has given us the opportunity to meet with our colleagues in the counties of the Northwest region and to create county interdisciplinary action teams. Organising events and activities with children and teachers through county interdisciplinary teams is an original idea that will add value to the work we do in order to prevent and combat abuses in the online environment. Thanks to the Save the Children team for the dynamics of this program" said Alina Boca, representative of the Cluj-Napoca Teaching Staff House.

The next steps of the project involve organising local events dedicated to children and adolescents on "online relationships", which will address issues such as grooming, cyberbullying, sexting, and hate speech. There will also be meetings aimed at parents to inform them about the risk situations that children can encounter on the internet and how adults can help their children in this regard.

Find out more information about the work of the Romanian Safer Internet Centre (SIC) generally, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services, or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.

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