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ADVANCING ONLINE SAFETY IN SCHOOLS – WHAT DO YOUNG PEOPLE REALLY THINK?

On the occasion of the Safer Internet Forum 2009 in Luxembourg, the first pan-European Youth Panel on online safety will be organised by INSAFE on 21 October 2009. Entitled "YEP* 2009", the initiative will bring together 54 young people aged 14 to 17 selected by the national Safer Internet Centres in all 27 Insafe member countries. The young panelists will discuss issues related to their use of online technologies.

"The Pan-European Youth Panel has my full support. This is a very valuable initiative which allows European youngsters to voice their own opinions, concerns and suggestions about the impact of the new technologies on their everyday lives. I would like to congratulate INSAFE for organising this event, and thank the sponsors for giving it their backing. It is a good example of public-private partnership" said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media.

National youth panels exist in all 27 member countries of Insafe, and advise the national Safer Internet Centres on awareness raising materials and campaigns to be produced, as well as on online safety issues. This is the first time under the Safer Internet Programme that a panel has been organised with such wide geographical coverage.

Assisted by professional moderators, these young delegates will discuss their experience of getting online safety education in schools, providing us with greater insight into their online activities. Together they will try to define how to empower teachers to understand, tackle and teach e-safety issues to young people. In parallel a Teachers' Panel will be held to discuss the barriers they see to the integration of e-safety in the school curriculum.

The main conclusions of both the Youths' and the Teachers' Panel will be presented at the Safer Internet Forum on 22-23 October 2009, an international conference for online safety experts, representatives of ministries of education, teachers, researchers, NGOs and industry, including Internet Service Providers, mobile network operators and software developers.

On 20 October 2009 the young people will take part in a fun ice-breaking event at the Rockhal, the biggest music complex in Luxembourg: scratching, DJing and music production will notably be on the programme. This will be the occasion for the young panelists get to know each other and transcend language barriers through a culture that most young Europeans share – music!

This initiative has been made possible through the support of the Information Society and Media directorate of the European Commission, and three organisations from the private sector, Liberty Global, Microsoft and Vivendi.

For further information, please contact your national Safer Internet Centre

See the list at www.saferinternet.org

Further information:

About Insafe

Insafe is the European network of Awareness Centres promoting safe, responsible use of the internet and mobile devices to young people (see www.saferinternet.org). It was set up by the European Commission in 2004.

European Schoolnet

European Schoolnet (EUN), coordinator of the Insafe network, is a unique not-for-profit consortium of 31 ministries of education in Europe created in 1997. EUN provides major European education portals for teaching, learning and collaboration and leads the way in bringing about change in schooling through the use of new technology (see www.eun.org).