Telenor recently received the VIRTUS award, in the category of long-term partnership between the business and non-profit sector in 2019. The company received this recognition for its twelve-year partnership with UNICEF on programs educating children and their parents on the safe use of Internet and prevention of digital violence.
If someone had told us just three months ago that our children would be getting their education online, through distance learning, that they would be doing exams and tests via Viber, Teams, Skype and other digital platforms, it would sound like an experiment, far from our reality. And not only that. For the past two months, we probably allowed our children to use the Internet more than they usually do, to help pass the time they spent at home and communicate with the people they could not meet face-to-face. Everything moved to online world in short time.
As parents, teachers, educators, guardians and society as a whole, once again we found ourselves faced with the question: how can we ensure that our children make the most of all the benefits that the Internet can offer, and, at the same time keep them safe from potential dangers?
First, it is important to know that there are already tools, platforms and research available that can be of help. For one such project, Telenor recently received the VIRTUS award, in the category of long-term partnership between the business and non-profit sector in 2019. The company received this recognition for its twelve-year partnership with UNICEF on programs educating children and their parents on the safe use of Internet and prevention of digital violence.
“The VIRTUS Award is a huge recognition and we are really proud of the entire partnership with Telenor that has lasted for more than 10 years. The results we have achieved are a great help to children, parents, educators and teachers, and are also part of the system-wide solution in response to the global challenges posed by digitization. Our partnership includes the public sector, so the cooperation between Telenor, UNICEF and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, is an example of good practice for developing new partnerships that can contribute to the strengthening of the society” said Vesna Savić Đukić from UNICEF.
“Family Safety Net” project included a research of Internet usage by younger children, aged 4-8, and the willingness of their parents, educators and teachers to properly guide and protect them from any risks and dangers. The results showed that most do not have enough knowledge and skills to do so and therefore several activities were implemented:
- Training and education sessions for 150 educators and teachers in five cities: Niš, Belgrade, Užice, Kragujevac and Novi Sad. Teachers and educators piloted a workshop program that included around 3,750 children aged 4-8 and about 2,000 of their parents;
- The e-version of the training is available in all schools and preschool institutions in Serbia, thanks to which educators and teachers can use these resources in their work;
- Flyers were distributed to every first graders in Serbia, and they are also available online;
- The importance of digital competences and online safety for young children was discussed in panel discussions with more than 500 teachers and parents;
- 10,000 copies of brochures were distributed to parents;
- A Digital Guide that includes the key positive and constructive messages on Internet safety was developed: https://digitalni-vodic.ucpd.rs/ It contains topics such as: protection of personal data and privacy on the Internet; screen-time — how much and in what way; playing video games (gaming); internet predators; how to improve a digital device for safer use of the Internet etc. It also includes a knowledge check quiz and other useful materials;
- Four cartoons were created for children (three animated videos intended for children aged 7-8 and one for children aged 4-6) that can be used for continuous dissemination through the media and social media and in training and work with children.
This is the third time that Telenor has received the VIRTUS award for its socially responsible actions.
At the end, 50 percent of parents, educators and teachers made significant progress in their level of digital knowledge and skills. Thanks to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, the developed materials were available to primary schools and preschools, as part of a system-wide solution for the prevention of digital violence.
This is the third time that Telenor has received the VIRTUS award for its socially responsible actions. Telenor received its first award in 2008 in the category of special contribution at the national level, and its second award in 2011 for the “Connection” project.
“We, as a telco company, make the digital world available at any time and place. This is why it is our responsibility to point out the risks in case of unsafe and improper use. None of this would have been possible without the support of and partnership with UNICEF, the Ministry of Education and the Užice Child Rights Centre, who may deserve the most credit for the implementation of the project. In the following period, we will continue to use our expertise where it is needed the most”, says Milica Begenišić, Manager of Telenor Foundation.