What has led the fifteen-year-old good boy Martin, “Marty”, to filming himself with his phone in situations that give you chills? Did he have to die for his parents to find out about the anxious feelings and horrific moments he had experienced before his death? Was he really a pathological freak or a victim of systematic blackmailing?
Last month, at the invitation of my colleagues from the Polish Safer Internet Center, I attended the conference “Keeping Children and Young People Safe Online”. One of the main themes of this event was how the digital world, together with IoT (Internet of Things) affects our lives. I have heard many interesting contributions and discussions, which made me think about the topic again, summarize the findings and add my personal insights and recommendations.
In September this year, the Czech Safer Internet Centre (CZ.NIC), in cooperation with the National Cyber and Information Security Authority, presented an online course called Digital Footprint, intended primarily for children aged 10-13. This interactive game focuses on Internet privacy and associated socio-pathological phenomena such as personal data abuse, sexting, digital privacy or cyberbullying.
The CZ.NIC Association joined the campaign – Family Offline Week with the subtitle “We are not afraid to be offline together“, which will be held this year from May 11 to May 19, 2019. The purpose of the 4th year of the campaign is not only to celebrate the International Family Day, on May 15, but above all to think about the excessive use of digital technology. The uncontrolled use of mobile phones, tablets and computers not only causes health problems but also worsens interpersonal relationships. Children from early age play with tablets and mobiles, often losing social contact with their peers.
In March, a delegation of experts from five different organizations focused on child safety on the Internet and personal data protection from Bosnia and Herzegovina visited our Association.
Last year brought a record number of incidents to STOPonline.cz. While in 2017 the line received 1,397 reports, in 2018 there was already 2,445 of them, that is 75% more.
Many a teacher is trying to find out the best tool for communicating with pupils. Nowadays when most children are given a mobile phone in lower primary, the logical choice would be social networks and various messengers, be it Facebook, WhatsApp or Viber.
Last month, the CZ.NIC Academy co-organized the second cyber camp for twenty children from Prague 9 Children and Youth Center.
Czech children under age 13 who use Facebook or Instagram are less than four months away from becoming lawbreakers. What makes the situation even worse is the fact that unless a law is passed by this May that would set the threshold for the use of social networking services to 13 years, from that point their use, along with other services, will become illegal for every person aged from 13 to 16 who does not obtain consent of their parents. This issue has already been addressed in our blog by our colleague Jiří Průša. But let’s go deeper.