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eTwinning and Friends: Better Internet for Kids (BIK)

BIK is an eTwinning friend that aims to create a safe internet environment for children.

The explosive growth of social media, smartphones and digital devices is transforming children’s lives, both in school and at home. One in three internet users worldwide is a child. If on the one hand this is a natural adaptation to the development of technology that also provides opportunities for children to access knowledge, to communicate and to develop their skills, on the other children can be exposed to harmful content they do not expect.

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In this regard, the 'Strategy for a Better Internet for Children' proposes a series of actions to be undertaken by the Commission, Member States and by the whole industry, the aim being to create a safe internet environment for children.

The Better Internet for Kids (BIK) guide to online services aims to provide key information about some of the most popular apps, social networking sites and other platforms which are commonly being used by children, young people and adults today.

The annual celebration of Safer Internet Day (SID) aims to raise awareness of a safer and a better internet, where everyone is empowered to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively. The campaign aims to reach out to children and young people, parents and carers, teachers, educators and social workers, as well as industry, decision makers and politicians, to encourage everyone to play their part in creating a better internet.

Furthermore, as part of the SELMA project (Social and Emotional Learning for Mutual Awareness), a research report titled “Hacking Online Hate: Building an Evidence Base for Educators” was conducted and published on Safer Internet Day (SID) at the beginning of February. This report synthesises the main research findings of a comprehensive research programme carried out by the SELMA project to achieve an understanding of the online hate speech phenomenon.

BIK is an eTwinning friend. eTwinning fully supports Safer Internet Day (SID) and every year encourages teachers to join the campaign. Moreover, eTwinners can join the group Bringing eSafety into eTwinning projects, which is specifically dedicated to keep pupils eSafe while using digital media in education.

Though the road to making the internet a completely safe place for children is long, all these activities contribute to a better understanding of the challenges faced and provide practical strategies to develop a better and safer internet for children.