Asian Mums Network won funding from the Institute of Strategic Dialogue and Google.org to develop an Internet safety campaign and tools for parents, in particular, targeting mums from hard to reach communities.
During our scoping phase, we wanted to connect with European partners and gauge what issues families and young people across Europe faced in the ever challenging area of Internet safety. Asian Mum’s Network and its partner organisations Alhambra Women’s Network and Cyber-Safe Zone took part in a two-day European seminar in Luxembourg called “Theatre play as an Internet safety awareness campaign tool”.
Altogether 29 people from a variety of different countries across Europe participated in the seminar all bringing with them a host of experiences and skills. It was fascinating to hear that parents and children face common issues across the continent and beyond.
The seminar was organised within the Erasmus plus program which provides a platform for discussion and exchange in the areas of European youth work or youth policy for grassroots organisations.
The aims and objectives of the project serve as a platform for knowledge and experience to exchange dialogue between youth workers. The two-day workshop was facilitated by Internet safety trainers from Bee Secure who are funded by the Luxembourg government and the EU European Strategy for Better Internet for Children. Bee Secure’s role is to deliver training to young people in schools and to also support children, young people, grandparents, teachers, educators and carers. In addition to the training, they provide resources and deliver campaigns to raise awareness of Internet safety and provide a helpline and hotline.
Each year they run a campaign which consists of
- Collaboration with partners
- Campaign resources
- Awareness raising at public events
- Success stories
This year the Bee Secure campaign targeted hate speech, collaboration with partners the Police, Public prosecution and the Centre for Equal Treatment (CET).
Campaign resources included monthly dossiers and information on:
- Fake news
- Filter bubbles
- Counter speech
- Social bots
- Racist hate speech
- Sexist hate speech
- The law
The most frequent and emerging issues are fake news, cyberbullying, gaming, sexting, disclosure to harmful and disturbing content and grooming. Connective toys with Bluetooth were also seen as an emerging technology risk, as many of these toys lack authentication, so there is the danger of anyone taking control or sending malicious messages via the toy.
The most challenging area highlighted across the European countries was the mental and physical impact gaming has on young people, their socialisation skills, physical well-being both in the home and school. Delegates spoke of incidents of children suffering fatigue from playing into the night, lack of physical exercise, peer pressure, cyberbullying, sexist and racist hate speech while gaming, exposure to violent and age-inappropriate sexual content.
Above all the disconnect between young people as digital natives and parents who are often unaware of the risk to harm when young people engage in gaming including interacting with adults, bullying, potential exposure to sexual and violent content with children as young as 13 years old or understanding or adhering to PEGI ratings.
There are also trends via WhatsApp and other messaging platforms of young people sharing age inappropriate disturbing content across borders with other children and the nature of the content resulting in an impact on their mental health and sense of security IRL (in real life)
Within the workshop/seminar, the delegates assessed tools and good practices and focused on the possibilities of communicating messages to engage young people. Activities included:
- Helpline role play
- Online Shared Experiences
- Emerging issues
Portuguese Telecoms and internet safety CSR programme
Portuguese telecoms groups Comunicar em Segurança is a corporate volunteer programme and forms part of the Portuguese telecoms foundation and is managed by Ana Claudia Costa. The goal of the programme is to raise awareness and promote safe use of the Internet within communities. Anna organises sessions in collaboration with volunteers from the Portuguese telecoms group along with other partners such as the police. She is also responsible for organising a theatre play in which famous Portuguese actors (from a well-known teen soap) to raise awareness of other Internet-related issues such as cyberbullying privacy and online behaviour.
“Ana Claudia Costa from Comunicar em Segurança Portugal delivered an eye-opening presentation on password security.”
Portuguese Internet Safety Theatre Play
There is a large Portuguese community in Luxembourg with a predominantly young population. In 2013 there were 82,363 people in Luxembourg with Portuguese nationality. They constitute 16.1% of the population of Luxembourg, making them the largest group of foreign citizens living in the country. The Bee Secure team invited actors from a Portuguese well-known teen soap who developed a play on Internet safety. Actors Pedro Georgia, Alexandre Sliva, Tiago Aldeia tour schools using storytelling as a way to engage young people on issues of internet safety (supported by Comunicar em Segurança corporate volunteer programme)
Comunicar em Segurança global results include:
- 706 volunteers
- 11,321 awareness sessions delivered in;
- 3031 schools
- 407,652 students
- 328 theatre performances
- 48,286 students