More than 100 participants joined the conference in Brussels and online to discover more about digital parenting and the good practices that exist in Europe to empower caregivers in the digital age. To mark the end of the 3-year project, in early June this year, partners from Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece and Romania illustrated our experience and reported on the methodology, the difficulties we faced and the solutions we adopted. The scope of this event and its related publications was also to offer reflections on the broad subject of digital parenting, understanding online media use by children and supporting the parents.
Digital parenting involves guiding younger children to use technology safely and wisely, understanding their online activities, setting boundaries together with children and teaching them to be responsible in a positive and beneficial way. It also includes informing parents themselves about digital technology and providing them with the tools and resources they need to support children when facing risks, enhance their creativity and learning, and have fun instead.
The European Safe Online Initiative (ESOI) followed the successful Flemish practice, which since 2007, organised more than 1500 training sessions for parents. With eight partners joining forces across Europe, ESOI today engages with thousands of parents across five different countries on how they could better learn to support their children’s digital life.
Around 5000 parents were reached through the SafeOnline training programme since September 2022 across five countries in Europe, including Flanders.
Training sessions on social media, online privacy, gaming, cyberbullying, online relations and sexuality have proved very impactful in raising awareness about online challenges children may face, possible solutions and responses to them. Interactivity, peer-to-peer learning, and sharing of lived experiences are what make the programme unique and attractive: parents are free to share their fears and experiences, and they can seek support from each other.
SafeOnline does not propose a universal solution to all the questions parents have concerning the digital environment. Leaning on the positive aspect of the internet, as a place where children have fun, discover and determine themselves, adopting a non-judgmental approach and acknowledging the different needs each family has, ESOI proposes a wide set of solutions and tips to choose from according to the needs, culture and values of each family in Europe.
The European Safe Online Initiative is the brainchild of the Flemish SafeOnline Initiative applied to the larger context of the European Union by organisations from five EU countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece and Romania.
What do we do?
Associations and educational institutions bring their know-how to build a program to educate parents and other carers to become fully aware of the risks and opportunities the new media offer to their children.
Who are we?
Child Focus | Gezinsbond | La Ligue des Familles | Athens Lifelong Learning Institute | Universitatea de Vest Timisoara -UVT | University of Sofia “St. Kliment Ohridski” | European University Cyprus | EAVI European Association for Viewers Interests