Safer Internet Day was held on 6 February, striving to promote a better and safer Internet and safe use of online technologies and mobile devices amongst children and youth. Hence, a large number of activities was held at schools and organisations throughout Croatia.
This year’s Safer Internet Day addressed the issue of "Create, Connect and Share Respect! A Better Internet Starts with You!". Over 130 countries throughout the world participated in it, as well as over 360 organisations throughout Croatia. Amongst other things, the Assistant Professor Tena Velki, Ph.D. (Faculty of Education), presented the findings of the research that saw the participation of over 3,000 secondary school students from throughout Croatia. The findings pointed out the concerning behaviour and knowledge of young IT system users. As many as 31% of the pupils surveyed wrote down their private e-mail password without coercion. On the overall national sample, the average risky behaviour of pupils as computer users was ranked as highly risky (4 out of 5), whereas their knowledge was assessed as merely average (3 out of 5).
Safer Internet Day was marked also through the signing of the Children’s Internet Safety Charter between Hrvatski Telekom, Vipnet, Tele2, the Croatian Regulatory Authority for Network Industries (HAKOM), the Safer Internet Centre, and the Centre for Missing and Exploited Children. The specific objective of the Charter is to raise the awareness of the public and parents about this important issue, whilst simultaneously also showing the determination and the preparedness to participate in the creation of a better and a safer environment for children on the Internet and in the promotion of child and youth protection.
"In co-operation with the Safer Internet Centre, we have brought together all the representatives of mobile operators in Croatia in order to invest both individual and joint effort into tackling this issue, since a "Better Internet" starts also with us – operators and the mobile market. I believe we are the first in Croatia to be prepared to show that we care also in this way. Moreover, compliance of the operators with corporate social responsibility principles is an opportunity for all of us to contribute towards achieving the final goal, which is to make Internet a better place, not only for children, but for all of us, as its users", as pointed out on this occasion by Mario Weber, M.Sc., Executive Director of the Croatian Regulatory Authority for Network Industries (HAKOM).
Tomislav Ramljak, President of the Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, stated: "Internet content is becoming increasingly interactive, appealing, and available, and it is becoming very difficult to monitor where, when, and how children access it. The best protection ends at the tip of their fingers and starts with education, which must be accessible and adaptable to their age. Throughout the world, children have been using a large number of apps in order to become involved in virtual communication with their friends, but also with total strangers. I believe that there will never be a technical protection that will make children absolutely safe and that education is the best prevention for everyone. Nevertheless, parents need to be educated in the first place in order to have both the skills and the knowledge to regulate the use of modern technologies for their children".
Nina Išek Međugorac, Director of Corporate Communications at HT, pointed out: "Hrvatski Telekom, as the leading telecommunication operator and the front-runner of digital transformation in Croatia, feels it is its responsibility, within its means and scope of activity, to ensure the safest environment in which the public and especially young people use new technologies. We believe it is an extremely important issue, which we will continue to support through our initiative "Share the Positive, Block the Negative". The fact that we are currently faced with an insufficient level of awareness about risks is confirmed by the information that one third of young people become involved in online communication with total strangers, whilst every fourth teenager aged between 15 and 17 years of age has actually met in real life with a person they had first met online. Consequently, this year we are going to additionally improve the education and training of our users and continue with the implementation of products and services intended to increase digital platform safety".
For further information, please visit www.csi.hr or the official Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/csihrv/. In case you suspect Internet violence, dial 0800 606 606, a free and anonymous telephone number intended for help and support in the event of Internet violence. Should you identify illegal online content, you can report it via a Hotline anonymous application form at http://csi.hr/hotline/.