Digital Citizenship program
Despite the extensive efforts to curb the harm children come across in the digital environment, the prevalence of online harm is still intolerably high.
With 1 Million USD support from Google.org, Save the Children is running a two-year Digital Citizenship Program to tackle online violations and harmful experiences that children face.
Generally, the vulnerability in the offline life is reflected in the online, as well. Certain groups of children are especially vulnerable, due to their exposure to different risk factors and the lack of protective factors.
Especially vulnerable groups include, for example, children belonging to sexual or gender minorities, refugee children and migrant children, children with disabilities or neuropsychiatric challenges and children who have suffered from abuse or who live in the low income families. Girls are encountering negative experiences more than three times more often than boys.
The Digital Citizenship Program is focusing especially on these most vulnerable children to reduce inequalities between children in terms of possibilities and to support a safer and more balanced digital everyday life.
Child rights at the heart of the digital world
The Digital Citizenship Program is supporting vulnerable children aged 6–17 and their support networks, including teachers, parents, carers and professionals working with children, to stay safe and secure online.
The program aims to create a safe and non-discriminating access to digital opportunities to all children, especially those in the margins, and increase the abilities of children and of those being responsible for their education and skills to tackle the challenges the digital world creates.
Key themes of child rights online include right to participation, right to safety and protection in the online environment, right to health and well-being and right to education and information.
Save the Children in the Nordics are well-known for their online child protection expertise and they share a common vision and approach to the phenomenon. Each of them also has specific areas of expertise, which will be put in practice and utilized to support the work of the other partners in the Digital Citizenship Program.
With the support from Google.org, not only can the scale of current activities be increased, but also the process of mutual learning and adoption of solutions developed by others can be accelerated.
In Finland the Digital Citizenship Program is focusing on Huippula, which is a service strengthening 5-graders’s knowledge and capabilities in digital well-being and online safety, and also to setting up a Rapid Response System together with key partners within the ecosystem. Save the Children Finland is coordinating the pan-Nordic Digital Citizenship program.
In Sweden the program focuses on developing and spreading content on online safety to children, with a specific focus on children in socioeconomically vulnerable areas, as well as reaching children and young people suffering from honor-based violence and oppression and to support them through an online chat.
Laura Sillanpää, Digital Wellbeing Team Leader
Douha Kermani, Project Manager