The International Center “La Strada” will launch a campaign to raise the school community’s awareness of the risks faced by children online. A study of online child safety standards conducted at the beginning of this year shows that the subject is addressed sporadically in the education process and is insufficient in terms of the training of teaching staff. It was also determined that there is no suitable institutional framework for efficiently implementing child protection initiatives. The campaign will be carried out concomitantly with the activities to pilot the Online Safe School Standards in six national schools as part of a project that is launched by the International Center “La Strada” in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Research, with financial support from the Council of Europe.
In a news conference at IPN, the Head of the Council of Europe Office in Moldova William Massolin said the campaign’s goal is to inform the teachers, school community and parents about the risks to which the children are exposed online, primarily how grownups should prevent child sexual abuses online. These activities are particularly necessary now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the number of cases of child sexual abuse online increased alarmingly both in the EU and in the Republic of Moldova. One of the key objectives of the Council of Europe is to heighten the awareness of child sexual abuse, including of online cases, as the Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child stipulates.
Elena Botezatu, executive director of the Center “La Strada”, said the level of information and awareness of the risks to which children are exposed online is rather low nationwide. “The model of Online Safe School that we launch today represents the education players’ assumed commitment to protect the child from any form of violence online and to take the necessary measures to develop resilience to online abuse. With small, but safe steps, supported by our partners, the school will learn to prevent and intervene correctly, with a lot of care, but promptly, when there is a situation of abuse committed in relation to children online,” stated Elena Botezatu.
Angela Prisăcaru, senior consultant of the Genera Education Division of the Ministry of Education and Research, stated that the online child safety standards are designed to solve a major problem that affects the psychoemotional wellbeing of students online. It also goes to the lack of a consolidated framework for action at education institutions. The functionary voiced hope that these standards will meet the needs of the school community and will clarify the actions that need to be taken by each education player to ensure child safety online. In the long run, after these standards are piloted, they will become mandatory for all the national education institutions.
The event held today was organized by the International Center “La Strada” in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Research in the farmworker of the Combating Violence against Children in the Republic of Moldova Project that is implemented with the financial assistance of the Council of Europe.