Safer Internet Centres (SIC) usually offer three kinds of services: a national awareness centre and a helpline (organised in a network called Insafe) and a hotline (organised in a network called International Association of Internet Hotlines - INHOPE). In addition, they rely on advice of young people (youth panels). SICs are currently co-funded by the European Commission under Connecting Europe Facility programme, and they operate in EU Member States as well as in Iceland, Norway and the United Kingdom. Under the new financing framework, the actions will be funded through the Digital Europe Programme.
Safer Internet Centres co-operate and exchange resources and best practices at EU level through the portal betterinternetforkids.eu, the EU hub for child online safety.
What do awareness centres do?
- They raise awareness of online safety and of potential risks young people may encounter online, and observe emerging trends.
- They run campaigns and develop information material for parents, children and teachers. They also organise information sessions and events, the biggest of which is the yearly Safer Internet Day, celebrated in over 170 countries worldwide in 2020.
- They work towards empowering children and young people but also parents, carers and teachers so that they are equipped with the necessary skills and strategies to benefit from the opportunities digital technology may bring.
What do helplines do?
- They give advice to young people but also to parents and other carers on harmful content, contact and conduct online. They deal with issues such as cyberbullying, grooming and data privacy but also with relationship issues online.
What do hotlines do?
- They give members of the public a channel to report illegal content (such as child sexual abuse material - CSAM) anonymously.
What do youth panels do?
- They aim to empower young people by giving them a joint platform to express and exchange their views and knowledge on online technologies as well as innovate new resources, both at national and at European level. Youth panel members act as ambassadors towards their peers giving e.g. advice on how to stay safe online.
What does the betterinternetforkids.eu platform offer?
- It gives information on latest online trends and apps, and acts as technology watch for the most recent technological developments.
- It brings together experts and other relevant stakeholders around child online safety and provides them with guidance and capacity building opportunities and events, such as training meetings to Safer Internet Centres or the yearly Safer Internet Forum.
- It coordinates the yearly flagship event Safer Internet Day.
- It offers a repository of educational resources and videos, in all EU languages, helping children and young people, parents and teachers to discover the online world safely.