Safer Internet Day: let’s put education at the heart of online safety


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Today is Safer Internet Day 2020. Safe internet use is vital for everybody, but is especially relevant in the educational context. Teachers and other education personnel educate their students about the dangers of online activity, while also facing their own risks like cyber-harassment. Education trade unions are working together to support them.

Most citizens across Europe now have an active online presence, including students and educators. Indeed, the internet offers tremendous opportunities for learners and educators. We enjoy faster and easier access to information than ever before, and a wide range of tools empower global connection and communication. However, the internet also presents new safety risks, such as theft of personal data, fake news, and online bullying and harassment. The dangers inherent in online activity and the unwise use of online resources can have grave consequences, especially for vulnerable groups such as younger people. For this reason, educators are at the forefront of promoting secure internet use among their students.

This year’s theme, Together for a better internet, rings particularly true for education professionals in all parts of the education sector. Not only do they strive to educate students on safe internet practices, they also suffer from online abuse themselves. This emerging risk for the workplace health and safety of teachers and other education staff is has been a long-standing concern for ETUCE. It was the subject of our 2009/2010 project on Cyber-harassment, which produced Practical Guidelines for Anti-Cyber Harassment Measures in Education. These Guidelines offer ETUCE member organisations concrete examples of practices which aim to prevent and combat the cyber-harassment of education professionals.

The internet is always changing, but it is certainly not going away. Therefore, safe internet use for both education professionals and students will remain an important issue for education trade unions. ETUCE and member organisations are determined to keep working together in their endeavours to raise awareness, improve practice and call for adequate training and sustained support so that teachers and other education professionals can deal with this vital issue.

  • To know more about Safer Internet Day activities at national level, click here.
  • To know more about the ETUCE Practical Guidelines for Anti-Cyber Harassment Measures in Education, click here.