This Safer Internet Day we share stories of what our members are doing to ensure children stay safe online! This year’s theme, dedicated to promoting the safe and positive use of digital technology among children and young people, is ‘Together for a Better Internet’. To celebrate and raise awareness of the amazing work carried out by our members, we have highlighted some of the most remarkable examples of their efforts to ensure that children and young people have a healthy and safe relationship with the internet.
1. Pro Juventute, Switzerland – Digital Buddy App
Our Swiss child helpline member, Pro Juventute, has developed an app that aims to empower children and young people to foster a safer relationship with digital media. More specifically, the app aims to accompany children and young people in terms of online competence and security. Using artificial intelligence, and through recognising the child’s media interactions, the app detects online threats in real-time, notifying the child about inappropriate content and potential data breaches, while also providing screen-time information and links to the advice and content of the helpline.
In future, the aim is to develop a function whereby parents can keep track of their child’s progress, and to provide guidance on mutual understanding and resolution, as well as explore ways of working together with school and social work authorities within the country.
2. Child Helpline Cambodia – Increasing Safe Use of the Internet for Women and Girls Project
In partnership with the Information Society Innovation Fund Asia (ISIF Asia), our member Child Helpline Cambodia recently completed a year-long project that aimed to increase safe use of the internet for girls in the country. Working alongside the helpline’s 16 youth ambassadors (aged 15-25), the project not only worked to build community-wide awareness of the dangers children face online, particularly on social media, it also strengthened the capabilities of these ambassadors to report online abuse to Child Helpline Cambodia themselves. The helpline’s ambassadors delivered awareness-raising sessions to members of their own communities on safe use of the internet, and how to maintain respectful online relationships with other internet users.
3. Childline Zimbabwe – Safepaths Project
Recognising the need to improve child online safety within the country, Childline Zimbabwe has been working to increase awareness around internet safety for children in a programme known as Safepaths.
The campaign has involved engaging the country’s top radio stations PowerFm and Zifm and Indigenous language station Khulumani Fm to conduct awareness campaigns through popular radio slots. The radio show’s content is centred around information sharing on topics such as sexting, cyberbullying, sexual grooming and phishing, all of which are growing rapidly within Zimbabwe. In addition, the campaign has also involved engaging schools, through sending helpline social workers to schools to raise awareness about internet safety, as well as educational billboards within the country’s main cities promoting online safety.
Childline Zimbabwe will also house the online reporting portal to be set up by Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).
“We are excited that we have an additional reporting platform in the form of a reporting portal from Zimbabwe. This fits with our strategic plan of embracing modern technology in child protection at a time when violence against children is moving from the physical space to online space, we need to do much more to protect children online,”
Stella Motsi (National Director, Childline Zimbabwe)
Let’s continue to work together towards a better internet for everyone!