The objective of the Safer Internet project in Lithuania is to promote safe, responsible use of the Internet by increasing public awareness about harmful content and behaviour on the internet, promoting safer online environment, providing the public with a contact points for reporting illegal and harmful content and behaviour, in particular on child sexual abuse material, grooming and cyber bullying.
The Safer Internet project is partially funded by the European Commission’s Safer Internet Programme. The project started in Lithuania in 2005. The recent stage of the project began in July 2012 and will last until October 2014.
The Safer Internet Centre in Lithuania established by this project consists of:
- an awareness centre, which aims to help children, parents and educators to avoid the dangers associated with the harmful content and behaviour on the internet and aims to educate the society and promote a safer online environment;
- a hotline, which provides a facility to accept and process reports from the public about illegal and harmful content on the internet.
- a helpline, which provides a facility to answer online questions and telephone calls from children and parents related to their use of online technologies, in particular in relation to harmful contact (grooming), harmful behaviour (cyber bullying), harmful content and uncomfortable or scary experiences in using online technologies.
Safer Internet is a programme of the European Commission’s (EC) Information Society and Media Directorate General which has been implemented since 1999 in all EU countries. In 2005 the programme was started in Lithuania. The Safer Internet Programme aims to promote safer use of the internet and new online technologies, particularly for children, and to fight against illegal and unwanted content on behalf of the end-user, as part of a coherent approach by the European Union.
In May 2012, the European Commission published a European Strategy for a Better Internet for Children. The strategy is articulated around four main ‘pillars’ that mutually reinforce each other:
- Stimulating quality content online for young people;
- Stepping up awareness and empowerment;
- Creating a safe environment for children online; and
- Fighting against child sexual abuse and child sexual exploitation.
European network of awareness centres, helplines and youth panels, and the network of hotlines is being coordinated by the Insafe and INHOPE networks (both funded by the European Commission’s Directorate General CONNECT under the Safer Internet programme). The Insafe network comprises 30 Safer Internet Centres from around the EU, including Iceland, Norway and Russia. Each centre comprises an awareness centre, helpline, youth panel and hotline; the hotline being coordinated through the INHOPE network.
Description of target users and groups
The main target group of Safer Internet project are children and young peoplewith the purpose to encourage them to use the internet, as well as other online and mobile technologies, positively, safely and effectively. The target group is reached mainly through schools, as well as engaging parents, teachers, social workers.
- Seminars and competitions are being organized and new awareness tools are being constantly developed to reach specific target groups such as children and youngsters, their parents, headmasters and teachers of schools.
- Youth Panel is established, where children and young people can express their views and exchange knowledge and experiences about their use of new online technologies.
- One of the main awareness-raising tools in Lithuania is the National Safer Internet website www.draugiskasinternetas.lt, which is dedicated to disseminating all of the awareness-raising resources and related activities.
Description of the way to implement the initiative
Since the recent Safer Internet project stage in Lithuania which started in July 2012, there are four official partners of the project that have clear division of their responsibilities. The partners are:
- Awareness Centre –Centre of Information Technologies of Education (CITE). CITE is project coordinator, responsible for the activities of Safer Internet Centre as well as awareness raising. CITE also organizes the work and meetings of the project Advisory Board.
- Training / Awareness Centre – NGO “Langas į ateitį” (LIA). The awareness centre aims to help children, parents and teachers to avoid the dangers associated with the harmful content on the internet and to educate the society and promote a safer online environment.
- Hotline – Communications Regulatory Authority of the Republic of Lithuania (RRT). The hotline provides a facility to accept and process reports from the public about illegal and harmful content on the internet.
- Helpline – NGO “Vaikų linija” (Child Line). The helpline provides a facility to answer online questions and telephone calls from children and parents related to their use of online technologies, in particular in relation to harmful contact (grooming), harmful behaviour (cyber bullying), harmful content and uncomfortable or scary experiences in using online technologies.
Main results, benefits and impacts
According to surveys in Lithuania, about 70% of adults believe that internet might be harmful to their kids. Mostly mentioned threats are illegal and harmful content on the internet, loosing private data, grooming and cyber bullying. Nevertheless only quite small percent of parents, teachers or carers explain to their children about internet safety themselves.
Safer Internet project is dedicated to promote safe, responsible use of the internet by increasing public awareness about harmful content and behaviour on the internet, by promoting safer online environment. Various activities are implemented to reach this objective.
Results achieved in Lithuania so far:
- Development of awareness tools and methods. Lithuanian SIC created a number of various tools to reach the target groups: organization of events and competitions for children, creating recommendations for children and adults, organizing seminars for social workers, developing educational online test and e-course on internet safety.
- Hotline operational work. As of today the hotline has received 558 reports about illegal or harmful content on the Internet.
- Helpline operational work. As of today the helpline received 233 contacts from children regarding online threats.
- National cooperation: close cooperation with national and local partners, such as industry representatives, Advisory Board members, libraries in the cities and rural areas.
- Contribution to European network participating in training meetings and sharing the recourses with other Safer Internet Centres.
Return on investmentReturn on investment: Not applicable / Not available
Track record of sharing
Safer Internet projects under European Commission’s Safer Internet Programme are being implemented in all EU countries as well as Iceland, Norway and Russia. It means that all of these countries have Safer Internet Centres (SICs) that comprises of awareness centre, hotline and helpline.
European network of SICs is being coordinated by the Insafe and INHOPE networks that guarantee the exchange and share of good practice among SICs: share of experience, recourses, tools, etc.
The project is still ongoing, so it is too soon to describe the lessons learnt. Several important things could be mentioned for the good implementation of the project: good partnership and clear coordination.Scope: National