With a focus on an intergenerational perspective, this slogan was intended to be the starter of a dialogue on the preconceived ideas of each person, to identify the challenges and to put in place the necessary measures to protect the youngest from harmful or unpleasant experiences online. All the associations, institutions and industry players were encouraged to get involved by making their voice heard and, as a very enthusiastic result, many of them played the game along with us and participated in this online campaign.
Parallel to the key date of the 20th edition, this year was also a very special one for the French SIC at a national level as Safer Internet Day was included in the school curriculum for the very first time in France, which leads us to clearly benefit now from a massive support from the French Ministry of Education in the spread of the campaign. Thus, all primary, middle and high schools are from now invited to organise special SID activities.
SID 2023 was therefore one of the highlights of the Ministry of Education's pHARe programme, the awareness programme in charge of tackling bullying at school. As a result, and all over the country, all primary and secondary schools were invited to carry out awareness-raising activities in their classrooms on Safer Internet Day and throughout February and March. Internet Sans Crainte produced free workshop turnkey kits for primary to secondary schools to enable teachers and extracurricular activities leaders to easily set-up awareness-raising workshops with young people on five main digital education themes: social networks, cyberbullying, online information, screen time and video games.
A special 20-year workshop kit was also proposed to give young people a voice and invite them to express their vision of the internet. In accordance with the campaign theme, they were asked to tell us how they imagine the internet was 20 years ago, their use of the internet today and what they would like to be improved in their digital life tomorrow. Dozens of classes participated and produced video material, web radio broadcasts, podcasts, articles, posters or comics.
Safer Internet Day 2023 for parents
Beyond the school audience, Safer Internet Day is also aimed at families to inform and advise parents, and to encourage dialogue at home about online practices. Several initiatives have been carried out by Safer Internet France:
- Internet Sans Crainte conducted a survey with a polling institute among more than 1,000 parents of children aged 6 to 20 on their practices and their perceptions of the internet. The results showed that the image of the digital world was rather positive and enriching for the parents, but sometimes useless for 25 per cent and dangerous for 56 per cent of parents.
- A series of webinars entitled "What do our children experience online?" brought together 12 experts in digital youth to advise parents on three key activities in the online lives of young people: having fun (video games, streaming), communicating (smartphones and emotional relationships), and getting information (risks linked to fake news and hate speech).
- Family kits were created on the same themes as the school kits to enable parents to discuss the same subjects with their children and teenagers.
Finally, a major Safer Internet Day kick-off event was organised on 7 February with the Minister for Digital Affairs, Jean-Noël Barrot, and the Secretary of State for Children, Charlotte Caubel, at the Ministry of the Economy, for a debate between a hundred secondary school pupils and a hundred digital stakeholders (ministerial delegations, associations for the protection of minors online, social networks, equipment manufacturers, Internet and telephone service providers).
The young people had prepared many questions and challenged the social networks present on their addictive power and asked for help from adults to better control their screen time.
Several initiatives are underway to respond to them. That debate can be considered as a real milestone in a context where France shows its will to pioneer the law enforcement proposals in strengthening regulations on the use of social networks for young people by this year. The three members of the French Safer Internet Centre consortium are very involved in these lobbying actions.
Find out more about Safer Internet Day in France. Alternatively, find more information about the work of the French Safer Internet Centre, including their awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services – or find similar information for other Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.