Over the last twenty years, Safer Internet Day has grown from an EU initiative to a truly global celebration, presently 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).
Safer Internet Day is a call to action for every stakeholder to contribute to a safer and better internet, especially for its youngest users. As the European Year of Skills will run until 9 May 2024 (Europe Day), we continue to highlight the learning opportunities available to all in the digital world, and the importance of ensuring that the largest possible number of users, and especially children and young people, are adequately equipped with the skills and competences they need to handle digital technologies responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively. Only then can they experience the online world as a place of knowledge, culture and personal growth.
This edition of Safer Internet Day is exceptionally packed with new initiatives and activities: since the European Commission launched the Digital Services Act package – a series of rules and regulations for online platform providers aimed to create a safer digital space for all users – with some rules that are especially designed to protect minors online - a user-friendly booklet was developed to summarise the main content of the articles focusing specifically on the protection of children and young people online. As of today, it is available for free download in all EU languages from the website of the Publications Office of the European Union.
But there’s more – the BIK annual report 2023 is now available, featuring a review of the activities of the past year, and highlighting the main achievements and successes. As customary, it also includes an infographic aiming to place a spotlight on last year's youth activities: for last year’s Safer Internet Day, BIK Youth Ambassadors and Youth Panellists from various European countries shared their views on how they would like to make their digital lives safer, and they were once again heavily involved in the planning, preparation and delivery of yet another successfully youth-led Safer Internet Forum (SIF). You can see for yourself how they organised SIF2023, and how the day went.
Additionally, look out for, the launch of the new #AdWiseOnline awareness-raising campaign focusing on the protection of young people against manipulative marketing practices online, and the corresponding launch of a new research report on such practices, aiming to raise awareness about the online targeting of young consumers, and shed light on the responsibilities that companies and online platforms must uphold to safeguard young consumers from online influences.
Furthermore, as virtual reality environments are understandably popular with children and young people, and with their video gaming experience becoming increasingly immersive, you can read more here on the EU's virtual worlds strategy including the recent mapping of network resources.
Last but not least, with the European strategy for a better internet for kids (BIK+) turning two years old in just a few months (it was first adopted in May 2022), we are especially looking forward to reflecting back on its impact over the last two years, and how it has managed to foster the digital participation, empowerment and protection of young users online.
Hans Martens, Head of Digital Citizenship at European Schoolnet and Coordinator of the Insafe network said:
With the recent policy developments such as the Digital Services Act package, the ongoing European Year of Skills, the expansion of virtual and immersive realities, as well as a plethora of AI-powered tools, it is clear that striving for a better internet for children and young people, and ensuring that they are adequately equipped with the skills and competences they need to handle digital technologies responsibly and respectfully, is of the utmost importance. The main goal of the Safer Internet Day celebrations is precisely to act as a reminder and opportunity for everyone to make a positive difference to the online world, on the day itself and throughout the year.
Sarah Willoughby, Content and Communications Expert and SID Campaign Coordinator at European Schoolnet, who leads the global coordination activities for the campaign said:
As always on Safer Internet Day, we’re looking forward to watching events unfold across the globe. 21 years of this global initiative have rolled on, and so have the opportunities and challenges of being online, with children getting connected at an ever-younger age and being faced with an increased availability – as well as complexity – of digital technologies. While SID provides an important day of focus for awareness raising, under the BIK+ strategy we want to ensure that ensure that all children and young people are protected, empowered and respected each and every time they go online, and that they are equipped with the right tools and skills to be able to a safe and enjoyable online experience.
We invite you to join the movement and raise awareness about the celebrations taking place around the world. To learn more about Safer Internet Day:
- Visit the website www.saferinternetday.org and discover how you can get involved and what’s happening around you to celebrate the day;
- Discover the Safer Internet Day 2024 infographic;
- Stay up to date on the latest developments on X (@safeinternetday), Facebook (@SaferInternetDay), and LinkedIn (Better Internet for Kids), and with the hashtags #SID2024 and #SaferInternetDay.
On behalf of the Better Internet for Kids team, we wish you all a happy Safer Internet Day!