Who could deny that in our time the internet is a basic means of education, communication and entertainment for a child from a very young age;
The computer, tablet and smartphone are for parents both ally and potentially "enemy", as surfing the vast internet hides pleasant surprises but also countless dangers.
Just think about how according to a survey conducted in 14.000 age students 10-17 years in November and December 2018 it turned out that the 83% browsing the internet without parental supervision, while the 61% replied that he had seen violent or sexual content and 26% has been harassed online. Most, no one can deny that cyberbullying (cyberbullying) is a reality and is a very serious problem that we can not ignore.
Somewhere here, Well, the question arises:
How can we protect our child from the "evils" of the internet without preventing him from navigating it;
It is in this direction that her interest is directed European Commission, which under the program "European Strategy for a Better Internet for Children" finances a set of different projects and actions in order to create a better internet for all of us.
What we can do to create a safer internet;
1. The EU and the SaferInternet4Kids platform
SaferInternet4Kids.gr is a project that funded by the European Commission's Connecting Europe program and has been created by the Hellenic Center for Secure Internet of the Institute of Technology and Research (FORTH), official representative in Greece of INSAFE, European Secure Internet Information Network and INHOPE (International Association of Internet Hotlines), which formulate the European strategy for a secure and quality internet. The platform is aimed at parents, teachers, teenagers and children. Children and teens can be informed about their safe internet browsing in a fun and interactive way, that is, through presentations, training videos, quiz and games. As for us parents and teachers there is, also, available material on how to deal with online harassment, bullying (bullying) or misinformation (fake news), as well as for the development of digital skills in children.
2. We set limits on early navigation
Between 2- 4 years, children's contact with the internet should be minimal and selective and always under our supervision. In older children the limits and rules in mobile phone use, of the tablet or computer are deemed necessary, so that the child learns to balance between digital and real life. Parental supervision should never stop, but to be adjusted according to the age of the child. As the child gets older, parental control should be more discreet, so as to avoid conflicts.
3. We are informed about the internet and we do not underestimate the possible dangers that a child may face…
Or so we are able to advise and supervise it effectively. For example, we can play a video game with our child or explore gaming apps, to look together for information on a topic that interests him, to suggest something we discovered. In this way we get more information about the child's activities and, after all, we come even closer to him.
We can be informed about everything,what concerns us through the helpline (Ηelpline), available by phone at 210-6007686, where qualified psychologists provide support and advice on issues related to online addiction, cyberbullying, exposure to inappropriate content and other concerns about internet use, mobile phone and online games.
4. We discuss the Internet with the child, emphasizing all the challenges and the dangers that it hides.
We can make the discussion more interesting and interactive by reading a relevant book to our child or watching a video with him. From the website SaferInternet4Kids.gr we can download the e-book "The great decision of @papakis", an educational book for young children that addresses children's feelings on the internet, or watch together the animated video "Internet bullying with Athena and Hermes".
5. Finally we do some more practical things
As children make use of social media at an ever younger age, opening profiles many times and stating false age, unbeknownst to their parents, we can place our computer in a part of the house, such as the living room and not in secluded areas such as the child's bedroom, so that we have control. It is also necessary to install on our computer a filter software that prohibits access to inappropriate Internet sites.
In addition, through the Open Line of Complaints about the illegal content of the SafeLine internet that cooperates with both the Greek police and INTERPOL, through the European agency INHOPE, we can make allegations of child abuse and illegal use of the internet.
The European Commission and its crucial contribution
All of the above and many more projects would not be available today without support of the European Union. Funding provided by the Connecting Europe Facility tool (CEF) and in particular the program "European Strategy for a Better Internet for Children" is crucial for the future of the Internet at home and abroad.
Through numerous financial and investment tools, the EU aims to boost growth, job creation and the further promotion of important private and public projects, such as SaferInternet4kids.gr. With the investment options it offers, the EU is improving our daily lives and ensures a better quality of life for all.
SaferInternet4kids.gr, which already counts 3 years of continuous presence on the side of the students, of parents and teachers, and recently received the approval of the Ministry of Health and Religions, continues its important work with the help of support from the EU and the Connecting Europe Facility, aspiring to always be on the side of the children, speaking to them in the same language and giving them the advice and guidance they need.