Bulgarian youth panellist named one of 12 "kid activists who are changing the world"

  • Youth
  • 11/06/2020
  • Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre

16-year-old Bulgarian youth panellist Milena Radoytseva was recently recognised as one of 12 kid activists who are changing their communities and the world for the better by The Washington Post. As a member of the Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre's Youth panel, Milena is making the internet safer for Bulgarian children and their families.

More particularly, she helped develop the Youth panel's #YouAreTheHero campaign, encouraging other young people to adopt a better behaviour online, and raising awareness of online aggression. The campaign approach is not to criticise children and young people, but to educate them about how to change their perspective, and hopefully their behaviour. For example, the Youth panel created a video featuring an angry boy furiously typing messages on his computer. When he sees that his little sister's drawings show him as a superhero, he realises he has not been acting like one.

As a representative of the Bulgarian SIC's Youth panel, Milena also joined the National Network for Children's youth network "Megaphone" and their "Reporters initiative", encouraging young people to interview their peers in order to present the youth's opinions on various topics to the Bulgarian society.

In September 2019, Milena was elected by young people from all over the country to be the representative of Bulgaria in Eurochild's Children's Council. As a member of the Eurochild ECC, Milena put her efforts to promote the importance of the topic of children's online safety. In November 2019, at a children's rights event in Brussels where she had the opportunity to exchange with European politicians, she stressed the importance of youth participation, including in the field of online safety and cyberbullying.

Milena joked that she has to draw a chart to her parents so they can understand all of her activities. "The internet will never be this totally happy place with rainbows, but our experiences can be improved by being thoughtful and careful", she added. Being part of a team that encourages children and young people to speak out is new for Milena. She did not know that opportunities like these existed a year ago, but when she entered an essay competition (and lost), she ended up at an event promoting youth participation. That is how she found the Bulgarian SIC, and has since joined the above-mentioned organisations.

For more information, read The Washington Post's article on Milena.

Find out more information about the work of the Bulgarian 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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