Safer Internet Armenia Program Launched

11-02-2016 16:07:50   | Armenia  |  Science and Technology
On February 09, Safer Internet Day, the Safer Internet Armenia program is launched aimed at promoting safe and effective usage of the Internet and other ICTs. The program has been carried out in Armenia since 2009, Narine Khachatryan, Safer Internet Armenia program coordinator said at a press conference organized on the occasion of Safer Internet Day.
 

According to her, every year in frames of the Safer Internet Armenia three-month program over 5000 school children participate in open lessons and receive relevant information and educational materials on how to use Internet safely and effectively. The program has been widely supported since 2012, when Orange Armenia joined the initiative in an effort to raise awareness about Internet risks, privacy and security issues through training programs for schools and information campaigns.
According to Narine Khachatryan, meetings with parents are organized at schools as well, during which Internet safety issues are discussed and relevant information on technical solutions, on how to make the Internet better place for children is provided. More information about activities and resources can be found at http://safe.am web site.
Being adherent to the pan-European theme of Safer Internet Day 2016 ‘Play your part for a better internet!, this year the program has an educational component aimed to foster proper skills to take advantage of new technologies. Thus, new e-platforms, such as www.edublogs.am, with child-specific and educational materials for schools will be established, where pupils can find a variety of resources, watch lesson recordings, follow topical blogs moderated by teachers, Ms Khachatryan said. Training will be organized for 100 educators from Yerevan and Armenia's regions in blogging and e-learning standards.
As recent researches have shown, children who are technology and Internet literate are better equipped to cope with the risks and have better resilience skills. «We try to teach how the benefits of technology can serve positive purposes. Training programs and awareness raising campaigns about safety, privacy, personal information, copyright issues will be organized,  during which practical solutions on how to prevent negative and unethical use of new technologies will be provided»,-  Narine Khachatryan said. 
According to her, such educational initiatives are ultimately aimed at helping young people to acquire new skills and competencies, necessary to fully participate in the information society, become producers of information rather than consumers and to gain from new education and learning opportunities, overcoming the possible risks. 
According to Internet Governance Forum Council Secretary Grigory Saghyan, Internet safety concept does not refer only to children, since adults are also not protected.  In his opinion, technical security issues should be differentiated from content ones. «For the purpose of ensuring technical security technical experts, network administrators should be trained,» - said G. Saghyan  stressing that without that component it would be impossible to have a safer Internet. 
Concerning the topic of content, the expert suggested separating ethical and criminal issues, emphasizing the importance of personal data protection. According to him, the Safer Internet Armenia program has a huge role especially in educating about ethical use of new technologies, fostering from an early age the respect towards copyright, privacy, teaching how to resist negative influences on the Internet, refrain from communicating with strangers, keep personal information private, effectively use digital technologies and gain from opportunities embraced by them. 
The experts stated that in championing a better internet, all stakeholders should play an active role: industry, state, decision makers, civil society and educators.
“Safe Internet” project is dedicated to the International Safe Internet Day, celebrated since 2004 on the 2nd day of the 2nd week of the 2nd month of each year. The pan-European INSAFE initiative, which is enlarging its borders year by year, is gathering people together to combat unlawful, harmful and irrelevant content. Find out more about Safer Internet Day at www.saferinternetday.org, including links to campaign activities in your own country. More information about activities in Armenia is available at http://safe.am.
 
 
 
Eliza Zakharyan, Noyan Tapan
 
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