Gezinsbond and Child Focus look back on their participation in the #SaferInternet4EU Awards

At the 2018 edition of the Safer Internet Forum, Belgian organisations Gezinsbond and Child Focus won first prize in the "Organisations" category of the #SaferInternet4EU Awards; an initiative launched by Commissioner Mariya Gabriel as part of a year-long campaign to support children, young people, parents, teachers, and other EU citizens to become empowered and responsible digital users. One year later, they look back on this experience and how it has enabled them to take their parents' training programme – Veilig Online or Safely Online – further.

"For more than 10 years now, Gezinsbond and Child Focus have been offering trainings to parents about the online media their children use daily. With about 150 training sessions every year, we are able to reach 4,500 parents. Additionally, about 30,000 visitors show their interest by a visit to the website www.veiligonline.be.

Extra topics and reaching vulnerable parents

"To update the training offer and reach more vulnerable parents, the training offer was tested by those parents. Since the autumn 2017, the training offer consists of five programmes:

  • ‘Social media',
  • ‘Gaming',
  • ‘Internet and privacy',
  • ‘Cyberbullying',
  • and ‘Online relationships and sexuality'.

"In each programme, testimonials from youths, parents and experts are the central point. Via a quiz and a game of propositions, the participants are invited to think along and share experiences. Through this process, they receive a lot of concrete, educational tips.
"You can find the complete training offer at www.veiligonline.be. After a training session, the participants can rewatch everything at home and gain even more inspiration.

"The update was successful. Based on the forms participants filled in to rate the training sessions based on their expectations, the approach, the moderator's contribution, and so on, most training sessions scored good to very good. After one year of working with the updated training offer, we have already provided 20 per cent of the training sessions to groups of vulnerable parents. The evaluation scores by vulnerable groups are even slightly better than those from other groups.

Listen to parents' needs even more after inquiry

"What do parents learn during training? What is the effect on their children's upbringing? To measure this, the participants from 10 training evenings during the spring 2019 received an extensive questionnaire. In total, 192 participants answered why they had participated, which parts they liked or did not like, what they had learned about the theme and how they would use that in their children's upbringing. The participants who shared their email address received an online questionnaire to examine the effect (the impact), two to three weeks after the training session. Out of the 70 emails that were sent, 41 questionnaires were filled in.

"The most important findings of the evaluation are the following.

  • The testimonials (from young people and parents) and the educational tips received a very high score.
  • A quiz or a discussion of propositions receive a high score if those are used interactively.
  • The animated videos have less appeal and the infographics should be limited.
  • The participants want even more concrete, educational tips and familiar testimonials from children.

"Based on the inquiry carried out two to three weeks after the training session, it turns out that over 80 per cent of all participants communicate better with their children about online media and have spoken to their partner (or another parent) about the training session. More than half of all participants have already applied the educational tips and consulted the modules at www.veiligonline.be.

Concrete actions

"Veilig Online continues its hard work. Thanks to the results, a new methodology was developed in which young children (aged 8-12) have the floor. It consists of six subthemes of films featuring spontaneous testimonials. In the films, short pop-ups with useful facts appear. Each video ends with a concrete, educational tip. All modules also have a new, simple and user-friendly structure. The new methodology has been translated in English at www.safelyonline.eu.

"In the future, each participant will receive a flyer with the 10 most important tips to apply at home. Afterwards, participants can give feedback about what they have applied to their children's upbringing and how they did so. That way, the training offer can be tuned better to parents' needs."

Read more about the #SaferInternet4EU Awards and Safer Internet Forum 2018: "The impact of technology on children, young people and society" on the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) portal, and learn more about the upcoming 2019 edition of Safer Internet Forum: "From online violence to digital respect".


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