“I’m a 15-year old boy, in the ninth grade. Recently I met a girl in the social networks. After chatting a few days in Skype, we turned on cameras, send saucy pictures…. Now it transpires the girl is not a girl at all, I was recorded and being blackmailed, for money, for more pictures, otherwise the recordings will be made widely public. What do I do to get out of this situation?”
“I’m in the sixth grade. A classmate who is a Facebook friend of our history teacher downloaded her picture and made her a professional profile in a porn site. What do I do, how do I react?”
The two cases are just a small part of the one-day training on the Cyber Scout programme for internet safety and online security for the members of the Learning action partnership (LAP). We talked about online bullying, online sexual exploitation, about the ways we should react, what rules apply, what is allowed and effective… We review different cases – from a threat from a pedophile regarding the security of a child to an innocent at first exchange between friends which escalates to online harassment that can have serious and long-term consequences for the victim’s life and mentality.
The partnership with a mission “Zero tolerance towards sexual exploitation of children and adolescents” is within BFPA’s project “The ability to change”. The project is supported by the OAK foundation and our training was implemented by the colleagues Georgi Apostolov and Emanuil Georgiev from Safenet Centre, also members of the LAP.
The main accent of the training is the necessity of developing critical thinking in children from the earliest age. Because today’s digital kids develop their emotional intelligence later but they grow in a “sexually poisoned” environment. It’s good to know that if a child has a problem, its parents most often are not aware but its friends almost definitely are. That is why we try to initiate a proactive attitude on behalf of parents. The age of the first unsupervised online search is constantly dropping – from 9 years of age in 2012 to 7 years old in 2016. Where are we in 2020?
124123 is a phone number for advice in cases of online harassment of children. On the other side of the line are specially prepared psychologists.