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Online safety for children and youths at risk by availing the positive influence of social youth work

New EU project SocialWeb - SocialWork develops and evaluates training for social youth workers

Berlin/Brussels, January 30th, 2013 The upcoming Safer Internet Day on the 5th of February 2013 will again highlight the issue of online safety for children and young people. Although there exist already a large number of projects and measures to ensure their safety and security while surfing the web, minors that count to high risk groups such as vulnerable children and youths are literally falling through the net.

This is exactly where the new EU project SocialWeb - SocialWork steps in: socially and educationally disadvantaged children and youths are less likely to get sufficient guidance from their family or their school education, if they go to school at all. To reach them, new areas of work with children have come into focus. Social youth work can contribute to Internet safety for these young people.

"Even though social workers might be familiar with the social web and its appliances nowadays, the rapidly changing Internet usage of their young clients and the online risks and threats they might face, present a major challenge for their daily work", says Jutta Croll, managing director of the project coordinator Stiftung Digitale Chancen.

In the first phase of the project, a small survey was implemented and nearly 200 professionals working with children and youths at risk in the partner countries were asked about their awareness of online threats and risky behaviour of their target group. The results show that the respondents noticed that the children or youths they work with made inappropriate or potentially inappropriate experiences, the issues mostly refer to contact with someone, the children/youths had never met before (47 %), to experiences that generally bothered the children/youths (46 %), to images that were obviously sexual (41 %) or to harmful and nasty messages children/youths received (41 %).

The survey results proved the need of social workers for support. When asked to estimate the percentage of their young target group that could be attributed as socially and educationally disadvantaged, indeed over 60 % of the respondents attest a huge share of their young clients a difficult social background. And although 85% of the respondents declared that talking with children and youths about what they are doing on the Internet is the countermeasure most often applied, 81 % of them stated their interest in a vocational training on social web appliances and their effects on children and youths.

The goal of the project SocialWeb - SocialWork is to pilot a training approach for social youth workers under the given circumstances and backgrounds of social work in the countries involved: Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania, Poland and Spain. The training campaign will start in spring 2013, collaborating with institutions from the partner countries that employ professionals working with children and youths at risk. Interested people in the training please contact us at cbretl@socialweb-socialwork.eu.

Figures regarding the results of the ex-ante survey are provided here

A summary of the ex-ante survey report can be found here

About the project SocialWeb - SocialWork

The project SocialWeb - SocialWork is a knowledge enhancement project in the Safer Internet Programme funded by the European Commission and coordinated by Stiftung Digitale Chancen from Germany. Project partners are Nobody’s Children Foundation (Poland), Fundación Esplai (Spain), Narodni centrum bezpecnejsiho internet (Czech Republic) and RIAP Association (Lithuania). The duration is 24 months from May 2012 till May 2014.
The project is sustained by the expertise of an Advisory Board including (in alphabetical order) John Carr, Dr. Per Christiansen (Hans-Bredow-Institut), Dr. Renata Geležiniene, (Lithuania Republic Special pedagogue association), Loreta Krizinauskiene (Association LIA /Langas I ateiti), Andreas Link (jugendschutz.net), Prof. Sonia Livingstone (London School of Economics), Tink Palmer (The Marie Collins Foundation), Ana Luiza Rotta Soares (PROTEGELES).

For more information, please visit the project’s website under www.socialweb-socialwork.eu

About the Stiftung Digitale Chancen

The goal of the Stiftung Digitale Chancen (Digital Opportunities Foundation) is to make people interested in the Internet and to support them with their steps into the digital world. The foundation wants them to become aware of the opportunities this digital medium offers and to make use of them.
Stiftung Digitale Chancen was founded in January 2002 in Berlin by AOL Germany and the University of Bremen. Co-founders are Accenture and the Burda Foundation. The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth have taken on the patronage.

For more information, please visit the foundation’s website under www.digitale-chancen.de

Press contact
Jutta Croll
Stiftung Digitale Chancen - Managing Director
Chausseestr. 15
10115 Berlin
Tel.: (030 ) 437277-30
Fax: (030) 437277-39
E-Mail: jcroll@digitale-chancen.de
Mobil: 0163-5493-773

Further information: http://www.socialweb-socialwork.eu

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