In the spotlight: Safer Internet Centre Netherlands

As part of the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) Quality Assurance Programme (QAP), the Insafe-INHOPE Coordination Teams are jointly conducting a set of ten country visits to national Safer Internet Centres (SICs) to better understand what is happening in the Member States: monitoring emerging issues and challenges, identifying good practices to be shared, and harvesting the results of the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) policy.

Due to the circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a visit planned for the Dutch SIC had to be converted to an online meeting that took place on 17 June 2020 and brought together a group of diverse stakeholders and SIC consortium partners.

The meeting kicked-off with a stakeholder roundtable which aimed to hear from national stakeholders and strategic partners about their current activities and collaboration with the national SIC. For Safer Internet Centre Netherlands, the following partners were present:

  • The Center for Law and Digital Technologies (eLaw) of Leiden University was represented in the meeting by Professor Simone van der Hof, who is also the head of Dutch SIC's Advisory Board. Founded in 1985, the Center for Law and Digital Technologies studies the social, legal and normative impact of emerging digital technologies. The focus of its research and education is particularly on digital technologies and their interplay with fundamental rights and the rule of law. In this context, many topics covered in their research, such as online sexual abuse, transparency, vulnerable groups and sharenting, align very well with the practical work conducted by the SIC consortium members.
  • KPN is a telecommunications and IT provider in the Netherlands, providing fixed and mobile networks for telephony, data and television services. It was represented in the meeting by Gert Wabeke, and it has been working in cooperation with the Dutch SIC for a long time. In particular, KPN has long been linked to the Expertisebureau Online Kindermisbruik (EOKM), which operates the hotline, in order to combat the spread of child sexual abuse material (CSAM).

The meeting continued with updates on the current activities of the Dutch SIC, which is coordinated by the Platform for the Information Society (ECP), together with EOKM, which provides helpline and hotline functions, and the Network for Media Literacy (Mediawijzer). During the activity update, the centre highlighted its new website – www.saferinternetcentre.nl – which consolidates various existing websites in one location and provides informative resources and links to the various activity lines of awareness centre, youth participation, helpline and hotline.

In addition to an extensive update on the various awareness-raising activities organised by the SIC, some discussion focused on the organisation of the youth panel, composed of 10-20 young people between the ages of 15 and 22. The youth panel members are contacted on an ad-hoc basis for feedback on awareness-raising materials and activities. The Dutch SIC also aims to form a smaller group of minors to act as youth experts and represent the SIC at conferences, working groups and at various other events.

Helpwanted.nl serves as the main portal of the helpline and provides information and guidance to children, young people and educators about online sexual abuse. Children and young people can get practical advice online or chat with a helpline professional in anonymity. In addition, information can be found on themes such as sexting, grooming and sextortion. As an improvement to the service, a checklist was recently introduced in order to provide immediate assistance to a person reporting incidents or seeking help before speaking to a helpline professional. Besides the online platform, EOKM runs a telephone helpline service entitled "Stop it Now!", which provides anonymous, confidential and free support to people who are concerned about their sexual feelings or behaviour towards minors. It also provides professionals with advice and support.

The hotline (Meldpunt Kinderporno) provides an online reporting platform for anyone who encounters child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on the internet. In this way, internet users can contribute to the detection of perpetrators and victims, and to the removal of the material from the internet. The hotline handles tens of thousands of reports each year.

Further information about the Dutch Safer Internet Centre more generally can be found on the SIC country profile page on the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) public portal and via the national SIC website.

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