10 Febrero 2020

Libraries for a Better Internet: Safer Internet Day 2020

Libraries work to protect the online safety and wellbeing of their patrons and communities by promoting digital literacy and offering inclusive ICT skills training and assistance. On Safer Internet Day 2020, libraries in many countries are joining the campaign to raise awareness and help children and young people develop the skills for safe and responsible Internet use.

Libraries and SID throughout the years

Every year at the beginning of February, many countries celebrate and organise activities dedicated to Safer Internet Day. This is an international event dedicated to raising awareness and equipping children and young people with the skills for safe and responsible participation in the digital environment.

The Safer Internet Day initiative was first launched by the European Union Safe Boarders project in 2004; and has since grown to a large-scale campaign that many countries around the world - from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe – participate in.

Libraries have a large stake in promoting safe internet use: as they support digital literacy and help patrons and community members who are less confident with their internet use skills, teaching the basics of safe online conduct is an central part of these efforts. That’s why more and more libraries every year take part in Safer Internet Day: by organising their own activities, working together with different stakeholders and raising awareness.

A public report on the 2019 SID activities, for example, shows how different libraries engaged with the campaign last year. In Finland, local libraries celebrated the Finnish Media Literacy Week – a series of campaigns organised in conjunction with SID. In Poland, Germany and Latvia many libraries had organised activities and events dedicated to Safer Internet Day itself.

In Lithuania, 610 libraries in urban and rural areas organized educational activities for people of different ages – from children to youngsters to adults. The Martynas Mažvydas National Library also organised an online test on internet safety in various schools, with a safer internet badge awarded to those who passed it.

2018 and 2017 also saw a variety of library activities dedicated to SID – you can explore dedicated news pages to find out more about libraries’ involvement throughout the years. Building on these past engagements, there is every reason to once again expect active and engaged library participation in 2020!

SID 2020: continuing the library tradition

The theme of SID 2020, “together for a better internet”, emphasizes the importance of everyone coming together to build a better and safer internet. Libraries around the world are getting ready to participate!

In the UK, many libraries have registered as 2020 SID supporters; with many planned activities –promotional events in Barnsley Libraries, displays at FIFE college libraries, information sessions at Gateshead Central Library, and more.

Hertfordshire Libraries, for examples, are planning to join in with informative displays and various events – online safety chat drop-ins, talks about cryptocurrency, “Tips for your Tablet”, “Creator Space” events and other activities. Later in the week, Welwyn Garden City Library are also planning drop-in events - a trail of questions in the children’s library, an opportunity to try out stop motion videos, robot buggies, and more.

Several Australian libraries have also announced activities dedicated to SID, like the “Savvy Seniors” IT workshop led by cybersecurity experts at the Albany Public Library or a cyber-skills workshops in City of Perth and City of Vincent libraries; showing that libraries from far beyond Europe can champion internet safety on this day!

Libraries in Germany are also joining, with various events planned for both children and adults. The Markt Stockstadt, Lübeck and Flendsburg City libraries, for example, plan to host events for parents and carers, offering help and advice on how to keep their children safe online.

Meanwhile, Stadtbibliothek Ludwigsburg has planned an educational event for children, teaching them the basics of Internet use and safe online behavior, with a personal ‘Internet Driver’s License” awarded to those who have passed the quiz game at the end! More events planned by libraries and other participants are registered on an interactive map on the website of the German Kliksafe project.

In Latvia, dozens of libraries are taking part and hosting events dedicated to SID – with discussions, lectures, quizzes and games aimed at kids of different ages and tackling many different topics: passwords, sharing personal information, copyright, misinformation online, and more.

Between February 10th and 15th, many libraries in Lithuania will be hosting activities for the Safer Internet Week – interactive and educational activities, workshops, digital literacy trainings and more. Librarians and young library visitors are also invited to send in submissions for a photo contest “I know how to be safe online”.

A number of libraries also plan to host screenings of “The Cleaners”, a 2018 documentary about human moderators responsible for taking down illegal or undesirable content from popular online platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Getting involved with Safer Internet Day

These are just a few examples of how libraries continue to engage with SID. We wish the best of luck to all libraries planning to host dedicated events, and invite all participating libraries to share their experiences with SID 2020!

The different ways you might have contributed to the goals of SID include:

  • Getting in touch and working with the Safer Internet Centre in your country! In Europe, a network of Centres is responsible for organizing SID activities, as well as awareness and educational campaigns and related work throughout the year. In countries outside Europe, different organisations or committees may be fulfilling this role – the official campaign website offers a list of key organisers in each participating country.
    Depending on capacity, there are many ways to engage with the Centers and committees – from registering your events with their official listings, to hosting events organized by the Centres, or even becoming a  stakeholder to have a say in how the SID campaign is organised in your country!
  • Making use of the available educational materials, resources and action packs– to organise  your own events and engage with others on social media.
  • Keeping track of the Better Internet For Kids website to stay informed about the most current issues concerning the safety and wellbeing of children and young adults online.
  • Cooperating with others: aside from the Safer Internet Centres, there are many other institutions and organisations you can work together with! From schools in your area to visiting cybersecurity experts, there are many possible partners that can help maximise your impact.
  • Working to protect the safety of your patrons online throughout the year! For libraries, this is part of their daily work - and sharing your knowledge and experiences can help other libraries do the same.

We wish you a successful Safer Internet Day, and we would be glad to hear about your experiences with SID 2020 – get in touch to share your story!

FAIFE (Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression), Children, Digital inclusion, Internet access, Young adults

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