UNICEF Portugal, with the support of AXA GO Portugal, launches the new campaign “Digital Security, Real Action”

Safer Internet Day 2023

The initiative’s main objective is to alert and sensitize children and adults to the risks related to the Internet and to contribute to the adoption of safer online behaviors.

On Safer Internet Day 2023, which is celebrated tomorrow, Tuesday, February 7th, UNICEF Portugal, with the support of AXA, launches the campaign entitled “Digital Security, Real Action”, which aims to alert both children and adults alike, to Internet-related risks and contribute to safer and more responsible online behavior and practices.

Children spend more and more time online and keeping them safe on the Internet is a daily concern for parents and teachers, revealing itself as a real priority for contemporary society, so marked by innovation and galloping digital progress.

The Internet is a tool that must provide and enhance a safe space for children and young people to realize fundamental rights – such as freedom of opinion, access to information, or the right of association, among others. On the Internet, it is also possible for children and young people to access tools for their own protection, such as accessing helplines, support systems, or protection services.

But on the other hand, children and young people are also more exposed to various risks, in particular online violence or cyberbullying. These types of dangers are increasingly frequent scenarios and can manifest themselves in various ways: through ‘phishing‘, identity theft; access to false and/or counterfeit news (also known as ‘fake news‘); or even through addictive behaviors, such as online addiction.

Online threats can have serious consequences for children and young people, including an unwillingness to attend classes, loneliness, depression, and, in some extreme cases, even suicide. Violence, including cyberbullying, disproportionately affects children and compromises their health, education, and physical and emotional well-being, and can have long-term effects, jeopardizing the full realization of these fundamental rights.

Beatriz Imperatori, Executive Director of UNICEF Portugal, recalls that “with the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen an increase in unsupervised use of the Internet, which has increased the exposure of children to the risk of cyberbullying, abuse, and discrimination. Media literacy and digital education play a key role in preventing and mitigating online security risks. We must involve the whole community – parents, educators, teachers, children, and young people. Making the internet a safe place has to be a real priority for everyone.”

Isabelle Sonneville, Chief Transformation Officer of AXA Group Operations, and sponsor of the CyberVengers project said: “Preventing cyber risks to children and their parents has become a real social issue to address at AXA, in line with our mission: ‘Acting for human progress by protecting what matters’ Digital threats are having an ever-increasing impact on the mental health of our young people, and we at AXA Group Operations rely on the expertise of our Technology, Data and Security experts, to contribute to a safer digital world. With this in mind, we created, a platform designed to raise awareness among young people about cyber risks and encourage them to use the Internet in a safe way”.

To support children and young people, as well as families and teachers, and so that everyone understands the risks online and how to avoid them, the new campaign “Segurança Digital, Ação Real”, by UNICEF Portugal, with the support of AXA, presents to the public with a set of pedagogical resources and suggestions, which will be available on the official website.

The initiative’s materials also include an educational and interactive comic series, Cybervengers by AXA. Through five episodes, the Cybervengers, a group of five friends, take their young readers on adventures that revolve around online risks and how to avoid them. In addition, parents, educators, and other facilitators will find the necessary resources on the platform to help engage young people in a dialogue about online dangers and errors to avoid, ensuring safe navigation.

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