February 8 has been declared the Safer Internet Day (SID) in the online safety calendar for the 19th year in succession. As a result, state agencies, civil society organizations, and various stakeholders have a greater degree to unite across the globe for the initiative "Together for a better internet.” In celebration of Safer Internet Day, the initiators reiterate the importance of ensuring Internet a safer and more secure place for everyone, especially children and young people. Indeed, to celebrate this day, every year, on February 8, large-scale awareness-raising campaigns are implemented worldwide on the following issues: cyberbullying and virtual harassment, use of social networks, digital identity, etc.
The Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) joins this initiative annually. This year, Teona Turashvili, Internet and Innovations Directions Head at IDFI, will participate in an Internet Society-led (ISOC Georgia) online conference dedicated to creating a safe online environment for children and young people. During the panel discussion, Teona Turashvili will discuss the steps strengthening digital literacy.
Internet freedom, enhancing digital literacy, and Internet access are one of IDFI's top priorities. Through the Institute’s advocacy and recommendations, access to and unrestricted use of the Internet was recognized as a fundamental right of the citizens of Georgia. Therefore, IDFI continues actively monitoring Internet access, developing various informational materials/guidebooks on internet safety (For instance, in 2017, IDFI prepared “Top 10 Internet Safety Rules” and “Guidebook for Internet Security” in 2018), conducting workshops with the relevant agencies, also, providing recommendations to the stakeholders in terms of improving digital rights law.
Apart from the preceding, IDFI has been implementing activities to encourage safe access to digital technologies by children, adolescents and younger people for many years. The organization has developed various informational materials and conducted awareness-raising campaigns to raise digital literacy - also, interactive guidebooks and visualizations containing practical and valuable tools for parents.
Online safety and security have become more vital than ever during pandemics. In addition, the rise of distance learning caused by school closures impacted Georgia along with many other countries, facing new challenges. In this connection, based on different data sources, IDFI assessed the Internet usage and accessibility tendencies, the status of the government-initiated “Universal Internetization Project,” and trends regarding Internet availability among school students.
Pandemic has clearly emphasized the need to increase the digital literacy of parents. To raise parents' awareness in this regard, in cooperation with the non-governmental organization, Parents for Education, IDFI elaborated practical and informative video instructions for parents on the following topics:
The Institute for the Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) will continue to actively pursue creating health and safety on the Internet and awareness-raising activities in the areas of digital literacy.
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