Safer Internet Day is celebrated in more than 180 countries around the world, always on the second Tuesday of February. This year, this day fell on February 7 and was celebrated for the 20th time. The coordinator of this day for the Czech Republic is the National Safer Internet Center, managed by the CZ.NIC Association.
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.
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.
The CZ.NIC Association used the Safer Internet Day to introduce its new project, aimed at children´s safety online. The CZ.NIC Association acts as a coordinator of the project that started on 1 January 2019, another partner is the Safety Line, ensuring the operation of a helpline. CZ.NIC will continue operating the Czech national hot-line STOPonline.cz, which received a record number of reports last year.
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.