The fourth season of the Bulgarian SIC’s Cyberscout programme has successfully finished. In 2018, 506 students were trained at 28 schools in 16 settlements in Bulgaria. The certified Cyberscouts raised awareness about online safety to more than 2,000 of their peers through their own attractive and original activities.
The Cybersout training programme launched back in 2015 with the financial support of the European Commission, Telenor Bulgaria and the support of the Ministry of Interior and the Cybercrime Unit. For the last four years, more than 1,200 students have been trained who reached more than 5,000 peers with their raising awareness initiatives.
The trained students have been prepared to perform the three roles of a Cyberscout: to be an example of positive and responsible online behaviours, to advice their peers on internet related problems and to raise awareness on online safety among other children participating in Cyberscout team. The trained Cyberscouts had the opportunity to develop their teamwork skills, presentation skills and their critical thinking.
On the first day of the two days trainings, the students were acquainted with the online risks – both “technical” (viruses and malware, hacked accounts, how to create strong passwords and privacy setings in social media) and risks related to the internet as a social environment and an information source. The students were prepared how to avoid the risks or react properly of they face them never the less – how to recognize dangerous adults including paedophiles and react if a suspicious person contact them, how to avoid Cyberbulling or react if they or other children are victims, etc. The students also learnt how to recognize fake news and evaluate whether online source of information is credible.
On the second training day, the children focused on the Cyberscouts’ roles. They discussed on what knowledge and which skills and qualities they should have in order to be an example for online behaviours and learnt how to advise their peers. Also, they had the opportunities to work in teams and express their talents and creativity in order to present their own ideas for attractive raising awareness initiatives and thus, to prepare for the third role of the Cyberscouts. After their trainings, the students had two months to form their “Cyberscout squads” which were able to participate in a national competition for the best raising awareness activities planned and provided by Cyberscouts.
In the past year, the largest number of teams took part in the competition with their various projects (interactive presentations, quizzes, crossword puzzles and other games, drama, videos, posters, brochures, etc.). For the first time on their own initiative, Cyberscouts also carried out trainings of parents. The best teams included in the competition will be awarded at a special ceremony in Sofia on the Safer Internet Day on 5 February 2019.
The Bulgarian SIC maintained active communication with the certified Cyberscouts, who were able to perform special "Cyberscout missions", if they wanted to, which also expanded their knowledge of online safety and develop digital media skills, as well as the skills of their peers. Many Cyberscout squads performed these tasks perfectly, and some even creatively added new elements to them.In the past year, trained students also advised their peers on online issues and even reported actual threats online to the Bulgarian SIC’s Hotline. In this regard, the most active Cyberscouts trained in the previous season of the programme who had already achieved the rank of "Cyberscouts-experts" also contributed a lot. In 2018, they received additional online trainings and continued to spread knowledge among other children through their own initiatives.
Along with the trainings for students, trainings for teachers interested in the topic of online safety and development of the digital and media literacy in children were also provided in all the schools in the fourth season of the programme.
The successful Cyberscout programme will continue with the support of Telenor Bulgaria and in 2019 trainings of children and teachers will be provided in dozens of settlements across the country.
You can find out more about the programme here.