To MLAS Members:
Looking forward to seeing many of you in Athens in a few weeks. Here is a message from Valensiya Dresvyannikova, Policy and Research Officer, IFLA, about hearing about any activities your association is doing around Safer Internet Day 2020. Thanks for responding to her. Her email address is at the bottom of the message.
MLAS Chair, 2017-2019
Safer Internet Day 2020
In preparation for Safer Internet Day 2020, we are working on a briefing about how libraries can get involved in the day itself, and more broadly in protecting the safety and wellbeing of children online. This will contribute both to a briefing on how libraries can use the day to highlight their own work, and to a contribution to the Human Rights Council on child privacy on the internet.
During our background research, we have already come across many great examples of librarians offering training for both young patrons and their parents, raising awareness, developing useful teaching materials, and much more. I include these at the bottom, and of course there are the collections we shared in 2018 and 2017.
However, we are aware that this is only a selection, and that there are many more examples out there. That is why we would be happy to hear what other library associations and libraries are doing to protect the privacy, security and wellbeing of children online. I would therefore welcome any links to stories or papers about libraries initiatives you are taking, or aware of.
If you would like for your contribution to be included in the Safer Internet Day 2020 or “Privacy and Children” consultation background papers, please send your responses before September 30th.
We look forward to hearing about your experiences.
Policy and Research Officer, IFLA
Examples of libraries working to keep children and young adults safe online
- In Australia, a network of “eSmart Libraries” is an important community cybersecurity initiative. It offers certification (with over 75% of public libraries in the country having joined already) and a range of online materials and tools to educate both library staff and users on how to use digital technologies in a responsible and safe manner. The toolbox includes resources for librarians to teach internet safety for children, help children affected by cyberbullying, and more.
- Libraries in Quatar, Phillipines, Czech Republic and the US have assisted various academic research projects on how children and teenagers understand their online data footprint, digital identities, online safety and behavior. Such studies can help educators find the best ways to teach online safety and digital citizenship to children and teenagers.
- In 2017, an Internet Safety Strategy Green Paper was published in the UK – one of its key focuses was improving the safety of children and young people on the internet. After its publication, a consultation on the role of libraries in achieving this goal was launched. Based on the results of this consultation, the 2018 update of the Green Paper has noted a high level of activity carried out by libraries in this field. It also reported on the government’s collaboration with the Society of Chief Librarians and the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians to explore and share best practices.
- In Wales, Torfaen Libraries continue to run weekly ‘IT Drop-in Sessions’ free of charge, where librarians can help with specific IT problems or offer general advice for beginners.
- Sophisticated digital learning portals on online safety and digital citizenship have been developed in Canada and the US. In Canada, the Seneca Libraries and the Fleming College Library jointly developed a “digital citizenship hub” on the student learning portal of College Libraries Ontario. The portal offers students information and learning resources on many subjects, from social media to security, defamation and more.
- Meanwhile, the NYC “Data Privacy Project” provides libraries with resources on how to protect their patrons’ online privacy, as well as raise awareness and explain privacy and data-sharing to their patrons. The project included in-person training for library professionals in the local area, and online resources for other libraries in the country. While the online resources are tailored for the general population, the content is kept relevant for children and young adults as well (for instance, possible answers to one question on a quiz for patrons about the person most likely to steal their passwords include “parent” or “classmate”).
- In Lithuania, many libraries are active in supporting the Safer Internet Day initiative. In 2018, over 600 libraries hosted educational and awareness-raising events for their young patrons. Throughout the year, the Lithuanian Safer Internet Center also offers training for librarians and other educators to help children stay safe online, and broadcasts webinars for parents in public libraries.
- Similarly, in both Ukraine and Latvia the 2017 Safer Internet Day activities in many libraries included games, storytelling, creative labs, quizzes, information sessions, and more.
IFLA Policy and Research Officer
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions