Youth campaign for safer internet launched

Take note – story published 1 year and 3 months ago

February 7 is World Safer Internet Day. In connection with this, the Child and Adolescent Hotline of the State Children's Rights Protection Inspectorate (VBTAI) 116111 is organizing a campaign called "I choose to speak", reports LSM's parents' and children's service. 

The main goal of the campaign is to promote public awareness of child safety on the Internet, paying special attention to violence in the online environment. Short video tips for safer use of the Internet and technology will also be offered on social networks, campaign organizers have said.

The number of calls received by the hotline in connection with emotional humiliation in the Internet environment has been increasing – in 2020 there were 109 calls, in 2021 there were 148, while in 2022 there were 175 calls on this topic.

The received calls indicate that often peers use the online environment to express their negative attitude or position about someone, thinking that they can remain anonymous, and the feeling of anonymity can encourage the desire to express their opinion in an unacceptably harsh, unpleasant and hurtful way.

It should also be remembered that children and teenagers learn from adults, while in comment sections in various media, insulting, humiliating and rude comments written by adults to other website users can often be seen – this behavior promotes the false belief in children that there are no boundaries in the Internet environment and everything is allowed, emphasizes Anda Saulūna of the VBTAI.

It is important to understand that humiliating, ridiculing, and excluding others online is similar to doing so in person. A child who has faced violence of any sort often feels shame, guilt and is afraid to talk to someone about their experiences, therefore it is important for adults to notice changes in children, talk about their concerns, express care and support, as well as search together solutions to provide the child with the necessary support.

During the campaign, children, teenagers, their parents, as well as specialists who work with children on a daily basis, are invited to contact the Hotline specialists to get support in matters related to Internet safety.

You can contact the Hotline specialists by calling the 24-hour free Hotline 116111, writing an e-mail to [email protected] , or visiting the Hotline website and starting an online chat. It is also possible to download the free "Hotline" app.

More details on Safer Internet Day are available here, and more information on safer internet use in Latvia is available here including an interactive map of events linked to Safer Internet Day.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of this international day. Over the last twenty years, Safer Internet Day has grown from an EU initiative to a global day involving millions of people in over 180 countries and territories worldwide. The day is organised on behalf of the European Commission by the Insafe network (coordinated by European Schoolnet, a network of 34 European Ministries of Education) and INHOPE (the International Association of Internet Hotlines). 

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