Children’s safety on the Internet in the focus of a joint project of Telenor and UNICEF in Serbia

Contract worth 200,000 Euros for project implementation over the next two years

Belgrade, June 1, 2017 The latest studies conducted by UNICEF show that children start using the Internet for the first time before they turn six. On average, almost 90 percent of them use the Internet 80 minutes each day, and every third child is exposed to some kind of disturbing contents.

That’s why education of children on the safe use of the Internet should start at early, pre-school age. In this connection, Ingeborg Øfsthus, Telenor CEO and Michel Saint-Lot, UNICEF in Serbia Representative, signed a contract announcing the official start of the project “Family Safety Net”. The project will last two years and focus on educating children between the age of four to eight years, their parents and teachers. The State Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Development, Anamarija Viček, also attended the event. 

“As a leading telco company, our responsibility is to make our services safe, especially when it comes to youngest users. The topic of child protection on Internet is an important social issue that requires engagement and systemic approach in times of full digitalization of Serbian society. With our partners and the support we have, I am positive we are on the right track”, said Ingeborg Øfsthus.

Studies show that each fourth parent thinks he/she doesn’t have sufficient knowledge to provide adequate support to his/her child in any situation that implies potential danger on the Internet. That’s why one of the main objectives is for 100,000 parents and 2,000 teachers to undergo the training in the next two years. 

“Protecting children from abuse and exploitation is everybody’s business. It requires coordinated responses between numerous actors.  Companies are more and more agents of change for children. Telenor’s corporate commitment to support children’s rights through its core business activities and through strategic social investments is a model of how business sector enables positive contribution to children and families”, said Michel Saint-Lot.

Telenor has been actively dealing with the topic of safe conduct on the Internet as of 2012. Since then, a number of activities have been implemented in partnership with the responsible Ministries and UNICEF. In March 2016, an event entitled “Cyber Dictionary” was organised for 4,000 elementary school students, with the support of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Development and UNICEF. 

In the past years, within its competences, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Development has participated in the creation of activities, as well as workshops and other materials aimed at preventing abuse on the internet, with significant support of Telenor and UNICEF. The acquired experiences were valuable also in preparing the contents of the plan and curriculum of informatics as a new subject, which will be introduced as of September 2017 as obligatory from the 5th grade of elementary school“, said Anamarija Viček.

The project with UNICEF is one in a series of Telenor initiatives in the field of sustainable operations and you can find the 2016 integral report on Telenor site.