Abuse of children through informational and communication technologies as global criminal activity is primarily practiced and most widely spread on the internet. This represents the most widespread form of sexual exploitation in children and minors in contemporary society.

With a goal of preventing sexual exploitation and abuse of children in digital environment and ensuring information and tools for safe and responsible use of informational and communication technologies, we established Safer Internet Center in Bosnia and Herzegovina through innovative and improved web platform www.sigurnodijete.ba.

Safer Internet Center is consisted of- Awareness center, Helpline and Hotline (member of international network INHOPE):

  • Awareness center actions are directed towards raising awareness and understanding the question of internet safety and current trends. The goal of the center is realization of public campaigns in order to provide knowledge, skills and strategies for children, youth, parents, educators and other professionals to use internet and benefits provided by informational and communication technologies;
  • Helpline provides information and professional advice through free phone line, as well as support of psychologist for children, youth and parents when dealing with harmful content, contact and behavior online;
  • Hotline sigurnodijete.ba was established in year 2010. It enables anonymous report of illegal and inappropriate online content that are further being sent to relevant agencies that can take action in this field (law enforcement agencies or INHOPE member/Hotline in certain state).

Safer Internet Center is established in frame of initiative “Combating violence against children: Working on prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse of children in digital environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina” implemented by consortium for child protection in Bosnia and Herzegovina, consisted of UNICEF BiH, Save the Children and IFS-EMMAUS, with the support of Global Partnership Fund “Stopping violence against children”. Aim of the initiative is prevention of violence against children in digital environment through support for the government, institutions and professionals in Bosnia and Herzegovina to develop new work mechanisms and step up their work in the field.

With full membership of IFS-EMMAUS in INHOPE – International Hotline (SOS line) association for reporting inappropriate content online, from 2012 – the work of B&H hotline www.sigurnodijete.ba has been improved and the main condition for establishment of Safer Internet Center in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been fulfilled.

IFS-EMMAUS established cooperation with internation organization InSafe – Europen network for raising awarenesss and promotion of safe and responsible use of internet and smarphones amongst children and youth. This cooperation resulted in traditional annual Safer Internet Day celebration in Bosnia and Herzegovina each year from 2011.

 

Up until today, following activities have been implemented:

Establishment of web site www.sigurnodijete.ba

As a part of informative-preventive campaign entitled “Surf Safely”, which was continually conducted during the period 2009-2013 with the aim of raising awareness of the public as well as specific target groups about the problem of child abuse through information and communication technologies, following activities were implemented:

  • an informative and interactive web site www.sigurnodijete.ba, was established, with two sub-pages with the aim to raise awareness and animate identified target groups, primarily children and parents, and then the general population in BiH, also with the purpose of allowing the possibility of reporting abuse of children through the Internet;
  • in September 2011, due to the need to create separate web sites for children up to the age of 12 and teenagers from 13 until 18 years of age, four completely new web sites were designed, with general information about online protection and Internet safety, as well as three additional web sites for parent, youth and children. English version of the web page was also finished and is in function since 1 January 2012, and is being constantly updated with new information and materials;
  • since October 2012, a web site was established for teachers and educators, as a sub-page of the existing portal , with the intention to serve as a platform for networking of teaching staff around BiH and exchange of experiences and good practices, with the purpose to protect children and teenagers from this danger. It was established on the proposal of the teaching staff which participated on educational activities of the project. Since 2012, 42 teachers were registered on the web site.

Establishment of an SOS Hotline for reporting of inappropriate content

The most important segment of the web site www.sigurnodijete.ba, is the activation of the SOS Hotline for reporting of inappropriate content and all forms of children abuse through information and communication technologies. In just a few simple steps for children, parents and all other users of the web site it is possible to report of child pornography, inappropriate content and other forms of abuse through information and communication technologies. To send a report, it is needed to click on the category of content that is being entered, and then specify where you found the content, as well as a brief description of what was found, but it is emphasized that any information left on the site, or personal information of that logs inappropriate contents are strictly confidential and they are managed in accordance with Law on Protection of Personal Data.

Within the realization of establishing a hotlines for assistance in BiH, IFS-EMMAUS has implemented activities to establish contact with INHOPE-International Association of Internet Hotlines, including coordination activities and presence in training on the establishing and managing of Hotlines organized by INHOPE.

During the period from 2010 until now, IFS-EMMAUS as a member of the INHOPE, has received over 860 reports through the SOS Hotline for reporting of inappropriate content. Of the total reports received, 210 were related to child pornography and inappropriate online communication, other forms of abuse and misuse of the Facebook account. 650 were incomplete reports, including questions from concerned parents and requests for related information. All relevant reports were submitted to responsible law enforcement agencies and reported in the INHOPE database, whereby feedback was provided to individuals who had submitted their contact details within the report.

Prevention and awareness raising campaign

Within the campaign for prevention and awareness raising, implemented in collaboration with law enforcement agencies, two videos with the young hip-hop music star Adnan Hamidovic (Frenkie) have been produced. One video clip was designed targeting children and youth, with warning messages about the possibilities of internet abuse for purposes of child sexual abuse material.The second video was designed for parents, teachers and the general public, with informative messages about online child abuse and for awareness purposes.

To make sure that the campaign is available to the wider public, in cooperation with BHRT video clips were broadcasted two times per day in prime time, in different periods during 2010 and 2011.

Moreover, as a part of 2012 activities, implementation of the informative campaign ”Surf Safely” was continued, with the aim to raise awareness in BiH as well as specific target groups-children and parents, about the problem of online child abuse. Within the campaign, education video clips for children and parents were broadcasted, and informative material was distributed-leaflets, posters and brochures for children and parents, containing advice for safer use of the Internet.

Distribution of promotional materials

IFS-EMMAUS has produced promotional material for different target groups: parents, youth and the general public. Two samples of the promotion materials were made in form of leaflets and posters. The leaflets provide basic information concerning the protection of children on the Internet with advice for parents and children alike, as well as contact information for reporting cases of child abuse on the Internet while the poster is based around the promotion of the web page www.sigurnodijete.ba.

Moreover, during 2011, in coordination with German organization klicksafe.de and Nobody’s Children Foundation from Poland, additional promotional materials were made in form of leaflets, posters and two brochures (for youth and parents) about use of the Internet. The leaflet was prepared and designed by IFS-EMMAUS.

All materials are continuously being distributed to interested schools for further intern distribution and education. Materials were distributed in primary and secondary schools across BiH, for purposes of teaching activities and lectures about safe use of Internet, as well as during other project activities. In total,90.000 leaflets, 5.000 posters and 7.500 brochures were distributed. Collaboration with agencies for printing of child newspapers was established, during which 15.000 leaflets were distributed.

Educational workshops in schools

In order to raise awareness of children, parents and teachers about the issue of online child abuse through information and communication technologies, educational workshops for children, parents and teachers were implemented in primary and secondary schools all over BiH on the topic “Surf safely.”

Educational workshops were held in nearly 55 schools, with more than 2000 children and parents, as well as more than 300 teachers in primary and secondary schools. These activities resulted in the intensification of education on Internet safety in schools in BiH, as well as setting the portal www.sigurnodijete.ba as homepage in the IT classes in most of the schools involved in the project.

As an added value to the activities implementation, several workshops were implemented in schools, as a result of cooperation and as initiative of the schools themselves. Through the involvement of parent and parallel involvement of the student council, IFS-EMMAUS increased the potential for continuous electronic education among parents.

Capacity building of teachers for the sustainable continuation of educational workshops in schools (ToT)

During the implementation of activities, in order to build the capacity of teachers for the sustainable continuation of educational workshops in schools, special interactive and practical workshops for teachers were organized (ToT).

Three workshops for teachers (ToT workshop) were implemented with a selected number of IT teachers and other teachers from schools where information technology is not included in school programs for specific target groups. Workshops were held in Sarajevo, Banja Luka and Tuzla, attended by 68 teachers including educators, school principals, and representatives of educational pedagogical institutes. Moreover, in cooperation with Association of IT teachers and professors of Sarajevo Canton, an education was realized and certificates were distributed for 120 IT teachers which represent additional value to these activities.

As a result of successfully conducted workshops, a basis for further cooperation with students was established through other activities, such as marking of Safer Internet Day. Workshop participants initiated the establishment of a special web page on the portal www.sigurnodijete.ba – www.e-school.sigurnodijete.ba, which is used as a platform for networking of the teaching staff.

A direct result of the initiated workshops for the teachers is the established of collaboration with other non-governmental organizations: Center for education and research “Nahla”, Association XY, Association of IT teachers and professors of Sarajevo Canton as well as institution for sheltering of neglected children.

Press conference / project promotion

In the period between 2009-2014 several press conferences have been held with the aim of prevention and awareness raising through the electronic, printed and alternative media and the inclusion of the media as an important segment in awareness raising of the public regarding problem of child abuse through the information and communication technologies. The conferences were addresses by the Ministry of Security of BiH/Department for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Save the Children and IFS-EMMAUS, gathering numerous partner institutions and CSOs. A very important segment during the press conferences was the presence of high school students as one of the main target groups of the project who were actively involved in the projects activities and who presented their work (documentaries, video clips, papers) on the theme of protection on the Internet during these events.

A Regional conference was realized regarding safety of children and youth on the Internet, with the aim of intensifying regional cooperation of competent authorities and non-governmental organizations in the area of fighting against abuse and exploitation of children by information and communication technologies, and raising awareness of the public, especially of the decision-makers about the existence of this problem in BiH and the necessity of joint activities on its prevention. The Conference was attended by over seventy representatives of state institutions, diplomatic and consular missions in Bosnia, law enforcement, judicial and educational institutions, day care centers for children, representatives of INHOPE, Insafe, Interpol BiH, Europe Safer Internet Centers, as well as representatives of the ministries of internal affairs from the region and non-governmental organizations active in this field.

Celebrating the Safer Internet Day in BiH

As a initiator and one of the founders of Committee for marking Safer Internet Day (SID Committee, The Committee of BiH), IFS-EMMAUS traditionally celebrate the Safer Internet Day in February for five years, as a support for the initiative of the International Organization Insafe-a European network of centers that raise awareness of and promote safe and responsible use of the Internet and mobile phones among children and youth, which is being conducted with the aim of strengthening of preventive and promotional activities regarding abuse of children and youth when using information and communication technologies. Every year, Insafe is trying to tackle problems concerning the Internet and chooses the most current topic, from cyberbullying until use of social networks.

Safer Internet Day was marked for the first time in BiH in 2011, initiated by informal coordination group, which was consistent of IFS-EMMAUS, Communications regulatory agency of BiH, Save the Children, OneWorldsee platform for southeast Europe, Council of Europe and Microsoft BiH. Under the slogan, “Internet, it’s more than a game, it’s your life!” in primary school „Osman Nuri Hadzic“ and Secondary Economic School in Sarajevo, presentations for both students and teachers were held about the necessity of safer use of Internet and social networks.

Safer Internet Day 2012 was marked under the slogan „Discover the digital world together…safely!“. On this occasion, IFS-EMMAUS presented a web portal www.sigurnodijete.ba, and Microsoft published the results of its research Microsoft Computing Safety Index (MCSI), with the purpose of promoting safer digital environment.

Central event of marking the Safer Internet Day 2013 was held on 5 February in Secondary Dental School in Sarajevo, under the slogan „Connect with Respect“, where the students were informed about safe use of Internet by State Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, head of IFS-EMMAUS Sarajevo Office and director of OneWorldSEE organization.

Safer Internet Day in 2014 was marked on February 11, under the slogan „Let’s create a better Internet together”, and collaborated with partner CSO “Center for Missing and Exploited Children” (CNZD) from Osijek, Croatia, and through the development of special web site (www.boljiinternet.com) including application for online competition for children of primary schools on Internet safety. 2969 children from BiH participated in the competition consistent of an online quiz with questions related to Internet security. Special awards to the most successful students were awarded in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education and Science, and Federal Minister of Education and Science participated in the ceremony and awarded the prizes to the winners, students from BiH.

Safer Internet Day 2015 was marked on February 10, under the slogan „Let`s create a better Internet together”, through joint activities in collaboration with a partner CSO the “Center for Missing and Exploited Children” (CNZD) from Croatia. Following the success of last year’s campaign, IFS-EMMAUS was organized an online competition for primary school children from BiH and Croatia related to safer use of the Internet, with valuable awards for the best participants.

Safer Internet Day 2016 was marked on February 09, under the slogan „Play your part for a better internet”, through joint activities in collaboration with a partner CSO the “Center for Missing and Exploited Children” (CNZD) from Croatia. Following the success of last year’s campaignes, IFS-EMMAUS organized an online competition for primary school children from BiH and Croatia related to safer use of the Internet, with valuable awards for the best participants.

Safer Internet Day 2017 was marked on February 07, under the slogan „Be the change: unite for a better internet”, through joint activities in collaboration with a partner CSO the “Center for Missing and Exploited Children” (CNZD) from Croatia and Fondation Tijana Jurić from Serbia. Following the success of last year’s campaignes, IFS-EMMAUS organized an online competition for primary school children from BiH and Croatia related to safer use of the Internet, with valuable awards for the best participants.

Safer Internet Day 2018 was marked on February 06, under the slogan „Create, Connect and Share Respect: A better internet starts with you”, through joint activities in collaboration with a partner CSO the “Center for Missing and Exploited Children” (CNZD) from Croatia. Following the success of last year’s campaignes, IFS-EMMAUS organized an online competition for primary school children from BiH and Croatia related to safer use of the Internet, with valuable awards for the best participants.

European Schoolnet: eSafety Label

As a continuation of the activities of protecting children and youth from all forms of abuse through information and communication technologies (ICT), during 2013 IFS-EMMAUS started its cooperation with Insafe within the project “eSafety Label”, and the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, included BiH in common activities of European countries initiated with the primary objective to provide support and assistance to schools and other educational institutions in order to respond to a number of challenges faced when using ICT in teaching and running the school administration. These challenges include a wide range of activities, from data protection and privacy, to abuses such as cyberbullying, sexting or misuse of mobile phones during school hours.

Within the abovementioned cooperation IFS-EMMAUS continued with adaptation of multilingual web portal “eSafety Label”to the Bosnian language and during 2014 established a wide communication with schools from all cantons of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republica of Srpska and District Brcko, and initiated activities focused on registration and joining of BiH schools on web portal www.esafetylabel.euto share experiences, best practices and solutions to the problems faced when using ICT in the classroom and beyond.

Also, by registering and filling out questionnaires at the “eSafety Label”, schools can assess the infrastructure, policies and practices in this field, and receive an action plan for the implementation of activities aimed at establishing the safe use of ICT (eSafety). Moreover, leaflet ‘‘eSafety Label’’ was updated and adjusted to Bosnian language, where advantages of the project was shown on an illustrative way as well as statistical data as a relevant indicator of level of competent teaching staff in developing skills by during use of ICT.

The future of Safer Internet Center

In the upcoming period, IFS-EMMAUS has intended to continue with implementation of project activities, with minor modifications and expansion of the new activities aimed at preventing and combating this problem in BiH.