Today, February 8, is Safer Internet Day. Prinsparets Stiftelse together with Skandia Idéer för livet, Tele2, H.M. The Queen Silvia
Foundation’s Care About the Children and Friends Foundation notice the opportunities for children and young people to be creative with
the help of the internet, communicate with the world around them and learn new things, provided that everyday life is safe. Because of this we want to encourage you, as a safe adult in the vicinity of a child, to contribute to a safer online everyday life for
children and young people.
In parallel with an increased use of screens, we can state that there are increased challenges for the child’s safety and well-being in everyday life. According to the Friends report 2021, about every third student states that they experience vulnerability online. Security and well-being are challenged, among other things. of unwanted and offensive images or messages, unwanted contact requests from strangers and a comparison with others who live a seemingly “perfect life”.
And then there is the issue of removing the phone from the children as a solution. As adults, we have a responsibility for the upbringing and development of children and young people. An important part of this responsibility is to protect them from what may be detrimental to their development. But another, at least as important part of the responsibility is to give children the opertunityt to express themself and interact with their surroundings so that over time the children can become an increasingly independent and responsible person. In addition to children and young people using the Internet to express their creativity, communicate with their friends and learn new things, access to the Internet is a matter of course and in principle a must in order to participate in society. Becaus of this it is both a democracy problem and an obstacle to the realization of children’s rights if the parents feel they have to ban their children from using the internet to ensure their safety. Rather than banning, we must create safe conditions for children and young people in the online everyday life, and also together with the schools and its principals who must have access to knowledge and resources for a safer online everyday life.
In a report from 2020 on young people’s well-being and faith in the future, Skandia’s foundation Ideas for Life states that there is a connection between the use of digital media and an increasing mental illness among children and young people. What the connection consists of is still relatively unexplored, but support from parents and other adults is stated as a protective factor against mental illness. With regard to cyber-hatred and cyberbullying more specifically, parents’ insight into the child’s online life is highlighted as a protective factor in another research overview from the Swedish Media Council.
The web is a fantastic tool for both learning, creativity and socializing, but it also provides access to content that can be both inappropriate and unpleseant. As adults, we are responsible for creating the conditions for a safer online life, where the child can take advantage of the fantastic communication and learning opportunities that the internet offers. We are responsible for the safety of our children but also and for ensuring that they safeguard the safety of others by not spreading threats, hatred or otherwise inappropriate content online. Children’s safety and well-being are the responsibility of adults, and in order to live up to that responsibility, we adults need to understand the children’s online life. We do not have all the answers, but we can provide perspective, advice and support to contribute to increased security for children and young people. So, today, on Safer Internet Day itself, we hope you contribute to a safer online life by asking the question: How was it online today?
Prince Carl-Philip’s and Princess Sofia’s Foundation was founded in connection with the wedding of Prince Carl Philips and Princess Sofia in 2015. One of the Foundation’s two areas of activity is a safer online life. The foundation works for a safer online everyday life by disseminating knowledge and acting as a unifying force. Skandia Ideas for Life is a foundation with the goal of contributing to a society where the health and safety of children and young people is a priority. Skandia Ideas for Life acts as an innovative catalyst by supporting research, methods and non-profit local children and youth projects. One such project that Skandia Idéer för livet supports is Lajka, a free platform with information and pre-made lesson plans for the whole school, which Prinsparets Stiftelse launched in 2019. Together with Skandia Idéer för livet, Prinsparets Stiftelse held webinars in the autumn of 2020 on how the school can contribute to create a safer online life for children and young people.
H.M. Queen Silvia’s Foundation, Care About the Children, CATCH, was presented as a gift from individuals, companies and organizations to the Queen in connection with the Queen’s 70th birthday in December 2013. Through the establishment of the foundation, the Queen received the opportunity to provide even more support to the most vulnreble children in society; to the children who themselves lack a voice. The foundation provides grants for projects based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to work for a world where all children have their most basic needs met. Through well-defined projects, the foundation’s focus is to give vulnerable children support for education, good health care and an opportunity to feel safe and happy while growing up. That children should simply be allowed to be children! CATCH has so far provided support for over 60 projects both in Sweden and Internationally. These projects fall into four thematic categories; Psychosocial Support, Education, Health and Vulnerability Online.
Tele2 has the vision to be the world’s smartest telecom operator and to create a society of unlimited possibilities. Tele2 works actively to create a safer experience for children and young people online, and as part of this work, Tele2 publishes annual reports on children and young people’s internet useage. In the 2020 report, Tele2 states that four out of ten parents feel that they have too little insight into the child’s online life and that only eight percent of all parents feel that they are very involved in the child’s online life. In December 2020, Prinsparets Stiftelse and Tele2 launched Föräldrasajten, which among other things contains concrete tips on how parents can talk to their children about their online everyday life.
Friends is a non-profit children’s rights organization that works for a world free from abuse and bullying. Since 1997, Friends has worked together with schools, preschools, associations, guardians and companies in the fight against bullying through increased education and knowledge. Friends also conducts policy and advocacy work and has an advice and support function for children and their guardians who are in an ongoing bullying situation.
A question for a safer online life