Educating thousands of pupils about safer Internet

Safer Internet Center Serbia, in cooperation with its partners has initiated a cycle of educational activities in primary and high schools in Serbia at the end of September.

The primary goal of these activities is to provide relevant information on Internet safety, ICT, the potential hazards and risks for users, as well as the advantages and different possibilities for application of ICT in the educational process.

The educational activities were conducted in coordination with four non-government organizations with a rich experience in educating children and adults about the misuse of Internet and ICT (Center for prevention of deviant behavior in youth – “Target” from Novi Sad; C31 – Center for developing children’s rights culture from Belgrade; “Open Club” from Niš and the Timok youth center from Zaječar).

During the lectures and workshops, trained speakers and moderators explained what content represents abuse of children for sexual purposes, the potential consequences of bullying in the real world and in the virtual world (cyberbullying) and hate speech, as well as the various ways in which pedophiles and predators make contact with potential victims.

The focus of these activities was on the guidelines of the so-called “Netiquette” (Internet etiquette), human rights, protection of personal data, and the necessary technical adjustments in order to protect the users’ privacy and for safe use of social networks. Through positive examples and contemporary possibilities, the pupils and teachers were encouraged to use the available Internet contents and resources, as well as ICT in classrooms safely.

The educational activities in schools in 2013 were funded by the Telenor Foundation and the European Commission Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology CONNECT. The beginning of the next cycle of educational activities in schools is planned for April 2014.

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During this cycle, 143 lectures and 55 workshops were organized for pupils in schools, as well as training for fellow educators and two focus groups which included both primary school pupils and high school students, in addition to 47 workshops for parents. The lectures and workshops which were adapted for various age groups were held in 22 cities, 43 primary schools and 31 high school for a total of 9419 students, 2422 parent and caretaker and 378 teachers, school psychologists and representatives of local school boards.