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The Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre at the Applied Research and Communications Fund has started its new educational campaign “Cyberscout.” With the financial support of Telenor Bulgaria and in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior, students from five Bulgarian towns participate in two-day trainings on online safety.

In April, the first two Cyberscout groups were trained. Each consisted of 25 students from the fifth and sixth grades. All participants received certificates and Cyberscout badges. The first group was formed in Smolyan. Its participants are members of the Child Police Academy in two Smolyan schools. The Vidin group includes children from two Vidin schools and their peers from schools in Belogradchik, Kula and Bregovo. All students are members of the so-called Child Police Academies in their towns coordinated by local police.

During the two days, the trainers familiarized the students with the most common Internet risks and the ways to avoid them, and also taught them how to pass on what they had learned to their peers. On parallel sessions, their teachers were introduced to the programme and told how they could assist the students to organise various activities with their peers.

At the start and the end of the training, participants filled out questionnaires on online safety. A comparison of entry and exit questionnaire results showed that understanding and awareness about the most significant Internet risks for children has increased almost twice. After passing the training, the students are now well prepared to help their peers, when they encounter a risky online situation, and advise them where to turn to for help and cooperation.

In the beginning of the next school year, three more groups will be trained – in Pleven, Shumen and Turgovishte. The Cyberscouts will compete with each other to organise the most interesting, original and useful for their peers activity for bringing to their attention the most common examples of risky behaviour of children in Internet. The best ideas will be presented on 9th February 2016 in Sofia on the occasion of the international Safer Internet Day, when their authors will receive rewards from the Minister of Interior.