Views on the internet

keyboard14 year old Erin, from the UK, wrote to us about her views on the internet. Thank you, Erin!

The internet is great but it can also be dangerous as everyone is aware from reported cases of cyberbullying. However, it’s not just cyberbullying that’s the issue: everyone knows about predators online but nobody knows who they are or when they’ll strike. Young people may become victims, for example if they are asked for explicit pictures of themselves and send them, but there are good websites and resources that these victims can go to for help and advice. Read more….

Happy Europe Day!

EU FlagEurope Day takes place today, 9 May, celebrating peace and unity in Europe.

We took the opportunity to thing about eSafety issues in Europe. We asked our youth ambassador, João, what are his thoughts on the rights of young digital citizens in Europe.

He told us: “As a young teenager, I feel that Europe is on the right track to maintain young people’s rights, both through national initiatives, held by National Awareness Centres, and international projects, such as Insafe.” Read more…

Celebrating women in technology

Today is Girls in ICT Day!ICT for girls

Organised annually by the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) in April, this global event endeavours to encourage girls and women to take up studies and careers in ICT. It celebrates women in the field of technology and also seeks to make girls and women aware of the opportunities in this sector. It has been a huge success globally with over 2,700 events being organised in 121 countries over the last four years.

As technology plays an ever-bigger role in our lives, the career opportunities and financial incentives the sector will bring in the future is set to increase. Despite this, girls and women are grossly underrepresented in this domain. Marissa Meyer and Sheryl Sandberg are famous names in the technology world, but the fact is that only one in ten code-writers is a woman and less than 15 per cent of the world’s engineers are women. What is also surprising is the recent statistics from developing countries, such as China, where 40 per cent of the people working in science and technology are women in comparison to just 24 percent in the US. The number may be higher than in the US, but the situation still needs to improve globally.

In this scenario, it is important to inspire more young girls to take up ICT as a career option and to encourage them to take up technology-related subjects in school. The very image that we have of a software professional is of a man in his twenties working on his computer, and hence stereotypes and social attitudes may be a part of the problem. According to a 2011 study, “Women are being put off working in and studying science by ‘subtle’ messages in the media and society.” One of the authors of the study said that gender stereotypes start very early and that many parents are more likely to buy a car as a toy for their sons and a doll for their daughters. There is less visibility of female role models in the media also.

So, on this day, we probably need to think and reflect on our attitudes to women in technology and on how to encourage more young girls to be a part of this dynamic sector. We should also take this day to celebrate the individuals who have contributed to technology, from Ada Lovelace to Jocelyn Goldfein and even one of our winners from the SID 2013 youth achievement competition, 14-year-old app developer and entrepreneur Nina Devani.

 Watch the Girls in ICT Day 2014 Highlights Video here

Game on! But keep in mind a few tips

  • gamingDon’t neglect your friends, social activities and homework, and keep your gaming time under control.
  • Protect your privacy, and take care with your personal information.
Keep an eye out for game ratings: they tell you more about the content of the game and the appropriate age to play it.
Bad or inappropriate behaviour or content is never OK. Imagine if your younger brother or sister came into contact with the content? Block the harasser’s access and report to the game provider and your parents.

Find out more at the Insafe website and stay safe online!

Do not hesitate to ask for help

Bulgarian Helpline Mobile AppWhen you are feeling troubled or confused by something you have come across on the internet, when someone is bullying you online or via your mobile device or when you (think you) are in trouble, you should never suffer in silence. Talk about your problems with an adult you trust. If you feel comfortable doing so, you could confide in someone close to you, for example, your parents, a relative, a teacher or a youth leader.

However, if you prefer to have a conversation with someone more independent you can always contact your national helpline. If you are troubled by something you come across that you think is illegal, contact a hotline.