For a Safer Internet: letís support the parents!

 

The Confederation of Family Organisations in the European Union (COFACE) acknowledges the positive effects of the Internet in the field of education, work, housing, health, social integration,Ö However, it contains hidden risks, especially for children and young people, such as exposure to illegal content and harmful conduct, bullying, violation of privacy, contacts with strangers, self exclusion,Ö These dangers are justified as technological developments allows the access to the Internet not only by PC but also by mobile telephone.

In the framework of the Safer Internet Day on 10 February 2009, COFACE wishes to put forward some recommendations to European and national policy-makers supporting parents in their role of educators.

COFACE considers essential to:

  • Raise awareness of parents.
  • Train parents by supporting exchanges of good educational practices.
  • Provide supporting technological tools.
  • Promote positive content.
  • Involve family organisations in the elaboration and the implementation of regulation measures.
  • Research in the field of parental education and supervision.
  • Provide support services to deal with self exclusion of young users.

The development of an Internet which is safe and respectful of fundamental rights must rely on the involvement of parents who have been empowered to fully understand the Internet. This involvement must build primarily on strong educative principles and dialogue between parent and child. Apart from education, any initiatives in view of regulation or classification of the Internet content and uses should involve all stakeholders: public authorities, services and content providers, researchers, and also users, family and child protection organisations.

COFACE focuses on parents, but many of these recommendations apply likewise to teachers, who should share the responsibility of educating children in this field. Recognition of this shared responsibility should translate into making media awareness a compulsory part of the school curriculum. Awareness raising and training actions should also be aimed at children themselves.