Celebrating the International Day of Friendship 2020

On Thursday, 30 July 2020, we celebrate the International Day of Friendship, a global observance initiated by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 2011 to promote "friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals" as a means to "inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities".

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown measures have triggered an unprecedented shift in how parents and carers, teachers, educators – and even specialists in the field of online safety – frame children's uses of digital devices for the purposes of social interactions.

For example, in pre-coronavirus times, US technology and social media scholar danah boyd could not "remember a period in (her) research when parents weren't wringing their hands about kids' use of screens", and could "never (have) imagined how conditions might change when a global pandemic unfolded". Indeed, for many children and young people around the world, the internet has now virtually become the main way of socialising and keeping in touch with friends and relatives, providing a lifeline to their social lives.

Yet, in doing so, children and young people are also exposed to potentially harmful content, contacts and conduct. In that context, it is important that parents and carers continue engaging with and showing interest in their children's digital activities and interactions, favouring a positive rather than restrictive approach to how their children spend their time online, and providing support and guidance where necessary.

The Insafe network of European Safer Internet Centres (SICs), through its awareness strands, has developed many pedagogical resources on the topic, in a variety of European languages and for different audiences – you will find some pertinent resources to get started below.

For more resources, please visit the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) resource gallery.

To learn more about the International Day of Friendship, please visit the United Nations' website.

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European Safer Internet Centre resources in response to COVID-19

Through Better Internet for Kids (BIK), and the European Network of Safer Internet Centres (SICs), our aim is to empower children and young people to remain safe online, and equally assist those that support them. During the time of the coronavirus pandemic, Safer Internet Centres can provide an excellent source of localised help and advice, for parents and carers especially, in responding to some of the online challenges which COVID-19 might present.

International Day of Friendship

As every year, on 30 July we celebrate the UN International Day of Friendship, created at the initiative of UNESCO and proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 2011. Its aim is to foster friendship and counter the increasingly divisive attitudes encountered worldwide, either as a result of military and political conflict or by prejudice and discriminatory practices.