School visit in Berlin by Commissioner Mariya Gabriel and film director Wim Wenders

  • Awareness
  • 14/02/2019
  • German Safer Internet Centre

On Monday, 11 February 2019, the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel, as well as film director and #SaferInternet4EU Ambassador Wim Wenders were invited by the German Safer Internet Centre (SIC) klicksafe to a school visit at the John-Lennon School in Berlin.

Together with Juliane Seifert, State Secretary of the German Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ), Dr. Marc Jan Eumann, director of the Media Authority for Rhineland-Palatinate (LMK), and two representatives of Instagram, the students used the opportunity to discuss online safety topics. Three different workshops were offered to have a closer look at the mechanisms of social media, new digital teaching formats and the power of visual impressions in the digital age.

The German SIC klicksafe offered a workshop on social media that allowed the students to discuss freely their personal experiences with media usage and the potential risks they see or have already encountered. The practical part included the planning of a small awareness raising campaign in small groups. A special focus was placed on the video and image-sharing platform Instagram. Arising questions were pointed directly at the attending policymakers and industry representatives.

It emerged from the workshop that the majority of participants had an overall positive feeling while using social media services and that they have not encountered seriously problematic situations while being online, but felt a certain social pressure to present themselves in the most favourable light possible. Many students also reported the feeling of spending too much time on the internet in general.

During the discussion phase with Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, the students expressed their wish for compulsory media education in school starting at a younger age. They were also interested in more information on what policymakers are planning to do to tackle fake news, especially with the upcoming European elections this year.

 Pictures of Commissioner Mariya Gabriel and film director Wim Wenders' visit to a school in Berlin, 2019

© European Union 2019 / Photo: Adam Berry

Together with two members of Instagram's Public Policy Team, the students talked about the commercialisation of social media platforms and the significance of algorithms. They also used the opportunity to get more information on shared personal content on the popular platform.

At the end of the workshop, the students presented their miniature awareness campaign, including memes they created themselves in smaller working groups. The project idea originated from one of klicksafe's teaching materials on new media usage, "Selfies, sexting, self-presentation", which is available in German, English and Polish.

In her closing speech, Commissioner Mariya Gabriel addressed the students' wishes from the workshops, that is to say more transparency on the part of the providers to be able to tackle fake news. Amongst the identification and labelling of sponsored content, especially concerning election campaigns, the Commissioner underlined the significance of media education to support the promotion of democracy, which is also an important part of both the #SaferInternet4EU campaign as well as of the upcoming European Media Literacy Week.

For more information on the school visit, read the dedicated article (in German) on klicksafe.de and watch the video of the event by the European Commission's Audiovisual Services. You can also view klicksafe's teaching material "Selfies, sexting, self-presentation".

Find out more information about the work of the German 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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