Over the years, Safer Internet Day has become a landmark event in the online safety calendar. Starting as an initiative of the EU SafeBorders project in 2004 and taken up by the Insafe network as one of its earliest actions in 2005, Safer Internet Day has grown beyond its traditional geographic zone and is now celebrated in more than 100 countries worldwide, and across all continents.
Safer Internet Day is celebrated globally in February each year to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology for children and young people. Hundreds of organisations unite to raise awareness of online safety issues and run events and activities across the different Safer Internet Centres (SICs).
From cyber bullying to social networking, each year Safer Internet Day aims to raise awareness of emerging online issues and chooses a topic reflecting current concerns. This year Europe has chosen the theme “Be the change: unite for a better internet”.
The Safer Internet Centre in Malta, BeSmartOnline!, will be setting up a stand in Freedom Square Valletta on Saturday 4th February, between 09.00hrs and 16.00hrs and invites the general public to visit and discuss any issues they may have on the subject with a range of experts that will be readily available to address any concerns. Resources will be available and entertainment will be provided for the children, allowing the parents or carers to discuss and learn more on the subject. Entertainment includes face painting, balloon modelling and a puppet show.
The BeSmartOnline! project brings together the Malta Communications Authority, Aġenzija Appoġġ, the Office of the Commissioner for Children (CfC) and the Directorate for Quality Standards in Education (DQSE). The project, which commenced in 2010, seeks to raise awareness on the safe use of the Internet amongst parents, educators and, obviously, children themselves. This is done through various ways. DQSE plays a pivotal role in this particularly through the provision of lessons during the Personal, Social and Career Development (PSCD) subject offered to all students and through the provision of resources and training to educators.
The partners in this project have successfully secured further funding for this project through the Connecting Europe Facility. This shall allow BeSmartOnline! to continue working in this regards for a further 30 months. A website that contains all resources developed to date, shall be launched shortly.
However, in the meantime, the public is encouraged to follow https://www.facebook.com/saferinternet.mt/ to learn more about the project and the many initiatives to be undertaken.