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Round table Safe (and Insured) Online about the safety of children on the Internet

Director of the Swedish Government organisation Swedish Media Council, Ewa Thorslun and Croatian professionals, including Tea Brezinšćak, psychologist of the Child and Youth Protection Centre exchanged their knowledge and experience about the safety of children on the Internet.

This Round table was initiated due to worrying statistics, many of which were the result of recent research conducted by the Child and Youth Protection Centre of the City of Zagreb and the Brave Phone.

Ivan Fedor, the member of the management board of the Society for Communication and Media Culture, in his introduction pointed out that 75% of pre-school children were using tablets unsupervised, 88% of children and youth stated that they had witnessed evil comments and inappropriate behaviours of others on social networks, while 62% of parents were worried because of the availability of inappropriate online contents to children.

All this motivated Wiener insurance Vienna Insurance Group PLC to organise the round table about the safety of children on the internet, within the framework of socially responsible business behaviour and the project Social Active Day, aiming at raising public awareness and educating parents and teachers about the importance of the safety of children on the Internet.

Besides Ewa Thorslund, the speakers were Ivana Milas Klarić, Ombudsman for children, Tea Brezinšćak, psychologist of the Centre, Lana Ciboci, vice-president of the Society for Communication and Media Culture, Ivo Jakić, counsellor at the Prevention Office of the Police and Walter Leonhartsberger Schrott, management board chair of the Wiener Insurance VIG.

Positive practices in Sweden

Director of the Swedish Government Organisation Swedish Media Council, Ewa Thorslun talked about the high importance of digital and media literacy in the modern society. Talking about positive practices in Sweden, she presented the work of the Swedish Media Council, which is dealing with the education of children and youth so that they are able to critically observe and have better understanding of the media, creating educational materials for parents and teachers and publishing reports on the development of the media and their influence on children and youth.

This year the Swedish Media Council has provided teachers with interactive online tools used as a data base of content used in education of students at school. The content which they create is based on detailed studies and the materials are regularly updated. Special tools for the education of special needs children have been developed within the framework of media education, in order to facilitate their navigation within the online world – said Ewa Thorslund.

Guiding children from an early age

All the participants agreed that media and digital literacy should be the priority in a modern society and that guiding children into a safe, responsible and positive use of modern technologies was needed from an early age. That is also supported by the results of recent research conducted by the Centre and the Brave phone, which show that as early as with their first birthday, 40% of children spend time watching TV, at the age of four almost all children use electronic devices, while 45% of pre-school children use the Internet.

Regarding the rank of modern technologies in children’s growing up, the participants agreed that modern technologies enrich their childhood, and that in today’s world it is impossible to fully isolate children from screens. At the same time they emphasised the importance of risks awareness and of knowing how to be protected from risks. The need for a systematic support and education of children and all involved in their development – parents, teachers and professionals – was underlined, so that they might be able to support children in their development with modern technologies. Such support, unfortunately, is too often lacking, which is supported by the results of the aforementioned research conducted by the Centre and the Brave phone, showing that 78% of children aged 11 to 18 and one in four children aged two to 8 do not have any rules related to using modern technologies.

With all that in mind, Wiener insurance cooperating with the Society for Communication and Media Culture started the project “Children of the Media”, with educational workshops for parents and teachers in 12 schools nominated and selected by their staff. Lana Ciboci, vice-president of the Society for Communication and Media Culture said that the Project would educate children and their parents about the safety of children on the Internet so that they together could enjoy the positive sides of the Internet and wisely avoid the negative ones.

Free brochure for parents

Within the project Safe (and Insured) Online, a brochure about the safety of children on the Internet has been prepared for parents. Printed copies will be distributed to parents and teachers in schools all over Croatia and is also available to download in pdf format on the following link: http://beckaskola.com/osiguran-online/ or by clicking the photo below:

Source of the photos: Wiener Insurance