Safer Internet Forum (SIF) is a key annual international conference in Europe where policy makers, researchers, law enforcement bodies, youth, parents and carers, teachers, NGOs, industry representatives, experts and other relevant actors come together to discuss the latest trends, risks and solutions related to child online safety. This year's edition will take place online, with a theme of Digital (dis)advantage: creating an inclusive world for children and young people online.
For over two decades, the European Union has played an important role in promoting a safer and better internet through a range of legal measures, funding programmes and self-regulatory initiatives. There are huge benefits to be gained from being online and the European Commission’s digital strategy is seeking to ensure that everyone is able to contribute to, and benefit from, the digital economy and society.
The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the view that digital technology can empower children and young people to find information, communicate, socialise, learn and play, often in ways that are not possible to the same extent in their non-digital lives. Yet there is growing awareness and concern that online tools and services are often not designed with the best interests of children and young people in mind, and those with diverse disabilities can be especially impacted.
In the main SIF event, taking place online on Wednesday, 25 November 2020, Professor Laura Lundy will discuss the challenges and opportunities that children with diverse disabilities encounter when accessing and using the digital environment, focusing on how they experience and navigate “danger” and “disruption”. As part of this session, a number of experts and young people themselves will consider the challenges they face and suggest what actions should be taken by different stakeholders to ensure that children with disabilities are able to access and engage in the digital environment in the same way as all other children. Importantly, this session will also consider the positive role that the digital environment can play in helping children with disabilities to realise their rights.
As usual, a number of deep dive sessions will complement the main focus of SIF, taking place on the Wednesday afternoon following the keynote session, and across morning and afternoon sessions on Thursday, 26 November 2020. With a focus on innovative tech and educational solutions, one session will consider how industry are responding to demands for increased accessibility and subsequently designing platforms with all users in mind, while another session will explore some of the existing content and resources created for vulnerable groups from a broader perspective. A further session will consider inclusive education, while also exploring best practices in using technology in schools to support children and young people with disabilities.
Alongside the main event, additional side events will take place online during the week of SIF, providing further opportunities for stakeholder engagement and exchange. On the morning of Tuesday, 24 November 2020, an online session on youth participation will take place, with a particular focus on the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) Youth Pledge initiative, highlighting the importance of age-appropriate design principles. An optional open space networking opportunity is provided in the afternoon. The morning of Friday, 27 November 2020 will provide a focus on the EU Strategy for a more effective fight against child abuse, and various stakeholder responses to it. The afternoon session will provide an opportunity to learn more about the most recent findings from the BIK Policy Map exercise which seeks to compare and exchange knowledge on policy making and implementation of Better Internet for Kids strategies in EU Member States. This session will explore the outcomes in a global context also.
SIF 2020 is organised by European Schoolnet on behalf of the European Commission in the framework of the EC's Better Internet for Kids strategy with funding provided by the Connecting Europe Facility programme (CEF).
Please note that individual session descriptions, speakers, content and timings may still be subject to slight change. Any amendments will be published on the agenda tab.