On 8th of February 2022, the international Safer Internet Day was celebrated in more than 140 countries all over the world for a 19th time in a row, under the moto “Together for a Better Internet. The main event for celebration the Safer internet Day in Bulgaria was traditionally organized by the Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre. For a second time the event took place online and was livestreamed on the SIC’s Facebook page.
The main part in the event was taken by the members of the Bulgarian SIC’s Youth panel. They have chosen three main topics for discussions – Cyber bullying and online violence, Disinformation online and Video gaming. Experts and representatives of State institutions and NGO’s including the members of the Public Council for Safer Internet Use, as well as young people from various youth networks and organizations participated in the discussions.
The online event was opened by the President of the State Agency for Child Protection Dr. Elena Lilova and Commissioner Vladimir Dimitrov, Head of the Cybercrime Unit of the General Directorate Combating Organized Crime. The aim of the discussion panels was to provide specific recommendations to institutions, parents, young people, and professionals working with children on how to prevent cyberbullying and online violence, spreading of disinformation and misinformation online, and how to prevent negative aspects of video gaming benefiting the positive sides of that.
The first discussion panel was hosted by Vanesa Filipova, a member of the Bulgarian SIC’s Youth panel and was dedicated to Cyber bullying and other forms of online violence (why they happen and how to prevent them). Lyubomir Krilchev, a representative of UNICEF Bulgaria, Mladen Vladimirov, a known psychologist, Plamena Nikolova, a representative of the National Network for Children, Alek Yordanov, Coordinator of the Youth Club “Let’s Be Friends” of the PULSE Foundation, the famous Bulgarian vlogger Megsun, and young people from the Children’s Council of the State Agency for Child Protection have participated in the discussion.
The second discussion panel was hosted by Simona Todorova, also a member of the Bulgarian SIC’s Youth panel. It was dedicated to the topic of disinformation and misinformation online (how they influence us and how to recognize and counteract fake news and media manipulation). Iglika Ivanova, a representative of the Media Literacy Coalition, Katya and Kristian, representatives of FactCheck Bulgaria, Adi and Alex, young members of the “Megaphone” Youth Network and Yana from the Teen Station youth media platform have participated in that discussion.
Video gaming was the topic of the third discussion panel hosted by Milena Radoytseva (a member of the SIC’s Youth panel and a representative of Bulgaria in the Eurochild Children’s Council) and Anton Spasov (also a member of the Youth panel). Donika Borimechkova, a psychologist in Association Roditeli (Parents), Martin Kadinov, a former professional gamer and an iniciatior of the #goodgame initiative, and the young people Konstantin Dzharkin and Darin Toromanov from the Thomas Jefferson Second English High School have participated in that discussion.
Along with the main discussion panelists, other professionals, experts, and young people participated in the discissions as well.
Media Literacy Days campaign provided by the Media Literacy Coalition (of which the Bulgarian SIC is among the co-founders) was also launched at the main event for the Safer Internet Day in Bulgaria. The Pink Shirt Day campaign for prevention of bulling at school and Cyber bulling was also announced at the SID event. Number of schools, libraries, organized their own parallel activities for the Safer Internet Day in Ruse, Dobrich, Kozloduy, Varna, Svishtov, Plovdiv, Burgas and other towns and cities all over the country.