Bulgarian youth panellists lead Safer Internet Day 2022 celebrations

On 8 February 2022, Safer Internet Day (SID) was celebrated in more than 170 countries all over the world for its 19th edition, with the motto “Together for a better internet”. The Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre (SIC) organised a main online event, for a second time, and was livestreamed on the SIC’s Facebook page. 

The Alexander Nevsky cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria

The main part in the event had a focus on youth participation, as it was hosted by members of the Bulgarian SIC’s Youth panel. They chose three topics for discussion – cyberbullying and online violence, disinformation and video gaming. Experts, representatives of state institutions and NGOs, including the members of the Public Council for a Safer Internet Use, as well as young people from various youth networks and organisations participated in the discussion.  

The online event was opened by the President of the State Agency for Child Protection Dr. Elena Lilova and Commissioner Vladimir Dimitrov, head of the cybercrime unit of the General Directorate Combating Organised Crime. The aim of the discussion panels was to provide specific recommendations to institutions, parents and carers, young people, and professionals working with children on how to prevent cyberbullying and online violence, the spreading of disinformation and misinformation online, and how to counteract the negative aspects of video gaming while benefiting from the positive sides. 

The discussion panels 

The first discussion panel was hosted by Vanesa Filipova, a member of the Bulgarian SIC’s Youth panel and was dedicated to cyberbullying and other forms of online violence – why they happen and how to prevent them from happening. Lyubomir Krilchev, representative of UNICEF Bulgaria, Mladen Vladimirov, known psychologist, Plamena Nikolova, representative of the National Network for Children, Alek Yordanov, coordinator of the Youth Club “Let’s be friends” of the PULSE Foundation, popular Bulgarian vlogger Megsun, and young people from the Children’s Council of the State Agency for Child Protection participated in this session.  

The second discussion panel was hosted by Simona Todorova, also a member of the Bulgarian SIC’s Youth panel. It was dedicated to the topic of disinformation and misinformation – how they influence us and how to recognise and counteract fake news and media manipulation. Iglika Ivanova, representative of the Coalition for Media Literacy, Katya and Kristian, representatives of FactCheck Bulgaria, Adi and Alex, young members of the “Megaphone” Youth Network and Yana from the Teen Station youth media platform participated in this session. 

Video gaming was the topic of the third discussion panel hosted by Milena Radoytseva, member of the Bulgarian SIC’s Youth panel and representative of Bulgaria in the Eurochild Children’s Council, and Anton Spasov, also a Youth panel member. Donika Borimechkova, psychologist in Association Roditeli (parents), Martin Kadinov, former professional gamer and initiator of the #goodgame initiative, and young people Konstantin Dzharkin and Darin Toromanov from the Thomas Jefferson Second English High School participated in this session.  

Along with the main panellists, other professionals, experts, and young people participated in the discussions as well.  

The Media Literacy Days campaign, provided by the Coalition for Media Literacy (of which the Bulgarian SIC is among the co-founders) was launched at the main event for the Safer Internet Day in Bulgaria. The Pink Shirt Day campaign for the prevention of bullying and cyberbullying at school was also announced at the Safer Internet Day event. A number of local schools and libraries organised their own parallel SID activities in Ruse, Dobrich, Kozloduy, Varna, Svishtov, Plovdid, Burgas and other towns and cities all over the country. 

Find out more about Safer Internet Day in Bulgaria. Alternatively, find more information about the work of the Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre, including their awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services – or find similar information for other Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe

Related news