How to target young internet users? How to ensure the message about being safe online is effectively communicated to young people and parents? The is no one single solution to online safety issues. There is no one mere recipe but the Insafe network has nevertheless developed various methods to achieve this goal.
Here is an overview of this presentation I will start with some slides presenting our main principles of action: Avoiding fear-based tactics Understanding personal disclosure of information Encouraging communication Then I will follow with examples and case studies of our ways to communicate with children. And you can see we will talk about the work of the helplines, about our major campaign SID, which will take place in February, about our awareness tools and about youth panels.
Some very common messages delivered to teens are: “Online strangers are dangerous and will try to deceive you.” “If you meet in person with an online stranger, this person will try to harm you.” “If you provide personal information online, a stranger who wants to harm you will use this information to track you down.” The reality is that “stranger-danger” warnings and fear-based prevention approaches won’t be effective with teens. Sexual solicitation can occur without posting personal contact information. Besides teens will have increasing engagement with online strangers, just as they are always meeting new people in the real world. The reality is that sometimes teens will want to meet in-person with someone they have first met online. Teens must learn how to assess the safety of someone met online by reviewing very closely their profile, postings, and friends. Many schools today adopt the avoidance method when it comes to internet and safety. A lot of teachers never really mention it in the classroom school computers have “blocker” programs. We assume that this method is appropriate because if the students cannot find it then they cannot be harmed. If children cannot get to the chat rooms then they are fine. This is definitely the wrong attitude . Rather than block possible problems , we have to teach youth how to be smart internet users . Now I am not saying that blockers are useless because then can block pornography and graphic images, but blocking search engines and social networks is insulting young people . We consider that blocking those sites is saying we do not trust them enough to have good judgment and we do not want to waste our time teaching them how to properly use these tools Web 2.0 safety strategies should empower young people, giving them knowledge of the risks together with effective ways to prevent unsafe situations, and to detect and respond to them if they come
A common safety message is: “Don’t post personal information online.” While this is an important message for younger children, teens may legitimately ask: “How do I register on a site? Many teens appear to have limited understanding of potential harm or damage from inappropriate information disclosure . Given that a major part of social networking is sharing information about who you are online, teens need more guidance on how to manage their personal information. It’s important to convey the message that anything put into electronic form and sent or posted can easily become very public and very permanent . Teens should understand that even if they use privacy protection features of social networking sites, the material they post is still not entirely private because their “friends” have access to it. Then our last objective in that field is to teach them to read and interpret privacy policies and recognize when market profilers are seeking personal information.
Another standard Internet safety message is : “If you feel uncomfortable about something that happens online, tell an adult.” OK this is a very important advice. But teens are much less likely to tell adults about online concerns if they think adults may not know what to do or are likely to overreact, or of they think that adults could blame them or restrict their online access. That’s why it is essential that we do a better job of educating adults - especially parents and teachers - to effectively respond to online concerns. We can also train teens to be effective peer mentors . We can develop effective peer leadership by encouraging these savvy teens to provide assistance to their peers and report online concerns to adults.
Experience shows that the problems young people encounter online are often much the same as those they encounter offline, except that they are amplified by anonimity, rapidity, lack of visual clues and the anytime-aywhere nature of online communication. As a response to this and within its mandate from the European Commission, Insafe coordinates Helplines in its member countries to support children and young people as they deal with the challenges they meet online. But most Helplines actually find themselves answering to teachers and parents too. Parents and teachers are indeed in quest for further information on the issues they know young people are facing. In 2009 Helplines operated in the following 20 countries : Austria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, latvia, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden , and the United Kingdom. Child helplines constitute an important first point of contact for children seeking assistance. Helplines play a vey valuable role in the life of young people and their parents and teachers not only as a source of information and advice but also as a service they can turn to when they experience problems on the Internet . One of the major challenges is to find a way to promote the services of Helplines amongst young people. They need to reinforce their presence where young people are , for example on social networking sites, in order to become the national point-of-call for information, advice and assistance.
SID is celebrated in“children’s perspective” and centred around youngster’s experience on the internet. SID is held annually in February, each year with a different theme and slogan: “Life is what YOU make of IT” in 2008, “keep it fun, keep control” in 2009 and “Think before you post” in 2010. This is really the milestone event of all the awareness centres. On this day key initiatives and events are launched and disseminated to the public and media. It receives a great support of all our stakeholders and is based on a “cascade model” : it’s a very flexible model where all the local initiatives are coordinated by the national awareness centre. Last year a lot of children across Europe were trained by Microsoft employees. This event is covered widely by all the media. A broad range of activities are carried out each year in the framework of SID: awareness raising campaign in schools or webcafe, workshops for teachers/parents, training the trainers, organisation of competitions, debates, thematic online chats, surveys... SID is conveyed via children’s favourite media: MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, blogs... The feedback from young people and the massive media coverage show the importance of such a big campaign to concretize and disseminate awareness messages.
Insafe produces awareness tools for parents and teachers , with the aim of informing them and providing them with guidelines and tools to use when raising their children. On the other hand we also develop materials that reflect the state of mind of the children . And in the same time these material deals with issues that are very important for parents and teachers. This is the case with the e-safety kit. It is one of our major successes. Over 350,000 hard copies of the toolkit have already been distributed throughout Europe. It has already been published in 18 country/language versions, including Arabic and Turkish. The toolkit is proving to be a big hit with teachers, parents and children , and is Insafe most successful resource. That’s why this kit will be soon available in an online version, in order to extend the reach of the printed version .
This is the homepage of the online version of the e-safety kit. As you can see with the graphism it’s totally designed for children. But what is also interesting about this website is that a section is decicated to parents and another one to teachers with exercises and description of the exercises to be done in class. We will keep you informed about the evolution of this project.
This is very important today to be present on social networks if we want to communicate with young people. Protegeles our Spanish AC has set up some innovative communication channels with young people, one of them is a virtual bus accessibe through the Habbo website. This bus is specially designed with the Protegeles logo and colours. The Protegeles bus hosts information on campaigns, awareness messages and materials. Insafe has developped a Facebook page. But we also have a YouTube channel.
Listen, talk and interact with children and young people are the key elements of our strategy. The voice of children and young people are imperative for a successful and meaningful campaign . It means that the work of the AC is credible and relevant. Young people today are indeed digital natives who know more about technology than adults, even if they often lack the life-skills to use these tools wisely, safely and responsibly. That’s why all the AC have set up a national YP in order to better understand the target group, to identify their needs and pinpoint the best means for disseminating the campaign messages. This is the logo of the first pan EU YP.
The first Pan EU youth panel on online safety took place in Luxembourg on 21 st October 2009 and brought together 53 young people from 26 EU countries to discuss online safety issues. The action was made possible by the support of three long-term partners of Insafe, Liberty Global/UPC, Vivendi and Microsoft. 14 to 17 year olds put forward some very pertinent ideas that will be taken up by Insafe network members in the months to come and will have a resounding impact in many other projects that European Schoolnet leads.
We have to treat young people as active participants of the web 2.0 and we must consequently empower them and encourage them to responsible use.
Benedicte Clouet Eminent09 Workshop C2
COMMUNICATING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE ON ONLINE SAFETY ISSUES Bénédicte Clouet
<ul><li>1. Principles of actions: </li></ul><ul><li>Avoiding fear-based tactics </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding personal disclosure of information </li></ul><ul><li>Encouraging communication </li></ul><ul><li>2. Examples: </li></ul><ul><li>Helplines </li></ul><ul><li>SID 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>Awareness tools </li></ul><ul><li>Youth panels </li></ul>
Avoiding fear-based tactics <ul><li>Avoid negative messages : “Online strangers are dangerous.” “If you meet in person with an online stranger, this person will try to harm you.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ stranger-danger” warnings and fear-based prevention approaches not effective </li></ul><ul><li>Teach young people how to be smart internet users: empowerment </li></ul>
Understanding personal disclosure <ul><li>A common safety message is: “Don’t post personal information online.” </li></ul><ul><li>Reality is different: “How do I register on a site?” “How can I have fun on MySpace without sharing information about who I am?” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Think before you post” (SID 2010) </li></ul>
Encouraging communication <ul><li>Another standard Internet safety message is: “If you feel uncomfortable about something that happens online, tell an adult.” </li></ul><ul><li>In reality: unlikely </li></ul><ul><li>Solutions : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Educate parents/teachers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Train teens to be effective peer mentors </li></ul></ul>
Helplines <ul><li>20 e-safety helplines </li></ul><ul><li>first point of contact for children seeking assistance </li></ul><ul><li>Offer personalised advice to young people, parents and teachers about how to stay safe online </li></ul><ul><li>Source of information/advice </li></ul>
Safer Internet Day 2010 <ul><li>International milestone event </li></ul><ul><ul><li>in +/- 65 countries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Public bodies, NGOs, Industry </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Focused on “ Children’s perspective ” </li></ul><ul><li>Next goal: set up </li></ul><ul><li>SID committees all </li></ul><ul><li>over the world </li></ul>
Awareness tools <ul><li>Educational material, brochures, debate video clips, posters, newsletters… </li></ul><ul><li>Speak the language of children </li></ul><ul><li>E-safety kit: major success </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More than 350,000 hard copies disseminated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Published in 18 country/language versions </li></ul></ul>
And now? <ul><li>“ Don’t ask our opinion and then not listen to what we have to say!” </li></ul>
<ul><li>Thank you for your attention </li></ul><ul><li>For further information contact </li></ul><ul><li>Benedicte.Clouet@ eun.org </li></ul><ul><li>www.saferinternet.org </li></ul><ul><li>www.europeanschoolnet.org </li></ul>