Safer Internet Day – Together for a Better Internet
More than 95% of children in Croatia have access to the Internet, mainly via smartphones, and every third child is exposed to inappropriate content and abuse via the internet.
This year the Safer Internet Day is marked with the slogan “Together for a Better Internet”. On this occasion the Center for Missing and Abused Children from Osijek organized a press conference at Izidor Kršnjavi elementary school in Zagreb. The conference brought together students, teachers and representatives of regulatory agencies and telecom operators, in order to highlight the growing problem of violence on the Internet.
The aim of the conference was to raise awareness among children about cyberbullying – a form of peer violence. Studies conducted in 25 European states showed that 12% of children aged 9 to 16 were exposed to disturbing content on the Internet. In 5% of the cases, children are repeatedly exposed to e-violence, and 3% are violent towards other children via the Internet.
In response to such negative trends, the online platform SINI was presented. The platform will offer education on internet safety for children, parents and numerous experts, professors and lecturers across Croatia, which is especially important for professionals in regions where such type of education is rarely available.
The project is conducted in cooperation with the Croatian Regulatory Authority for Network Industries (HAKOM), A1 Hrvatska, Hrvatski Telekom and Tele2 Hrvatska. To mark this occasion and show a collective commitment to creating a better internet, a Declaration on the Safety and Protection of Children on the Internet was signed.
E-violence, regardless of having the same causes as other forms of violence, has specific characteristics. Without physical contact with the victim, it is more difficult for bullies to understand the harm that they are causing. On the other hand, victims often isolate themselves which sometimes leads to extreme reactions.
How to ask for help?
If one suspects someone is a victim of e-violence, it is important to talk with the person and notify the parents and/or school staff as soon as possible. Since its foundation in 2006, the CNZD has been systematically working on preventing violence and has launched a free anonymous helpline 0800 606 606, through which primarily children and parents can seek help. Useful information about this topic can also be found on the website of the Safer Internet Center.