6.8 Media literacy and safe use of new media
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The national strategy Digital (4) Education which is being implemented by the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth aims at enabling students to develop the skills necessary for the appropriate and responsible use of ICTs and at promoting innovative pedagogical projects using digital technology in schools.
The Digital (4) Education strategy defines educational challenges which are to:
- Give all students equal access to ICT tools and use the potential of ICT to address the different needs of students
- Promote the use of ICT in education (formal & non-formal) and integrate ICT-related skills into the curriculum
- Contribute to a national effort and adapt the education system to the demands of the labour market
- Develop and strengthen skills in the following fields: communication, collaboration, creativity, well-being, understanding the world and the society and critical thinking.
The Digital (4) Education strategy is built around five dimensions for which specific projects are developed to ensure that the participating schools have the necessary tools (software, hardware, teaching resources, teaching scenario, digital learning environments, etc.) to create learning situations that promote the development of 21st century skills.
The five dimensions and the corresponding objectives are:
- Digital Citizen: prepare students and future citizens to live in a world where technologies play an ever-increasing role
- Digital Peer: promote a secure and responsible use of ICT technologies
- Digital Learner: provide teachers and pupils with the necessary resources (learning tools, software, multimedia resources, etc.) to create appropriate learning situations
- Digital Worker: give young people the skills required to manipulate the basic technological tools (preferably in a 'cloud' environment) in their daily working lives in order to be creative and productive
- Digital Entrepreneur: provide space, the so-called 'Maker-space', where initiatives and activities can be organized that encourage young people to take a look at various technologies and to supply the digital economy with specialists.
The implementation of the Digital (4) Education strategy is accompanied by the initiative 'Simply Digital', initiated by the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth. The initiative highlights five future skills needed with regard to digitalization: critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration and coding. The initiative is based on three flagship projects:
- General framework for education with media and towards media skills (Medienkompass)
- Coding in school education: Computer sciences will be taught as a new subject in the lower years of secondary education (as of school year 2021/22)
- Awareness campaign on the use of screens in the family: guidelines and advice for parents to promote a safe use of Internet.
BEE SECURE is a national initiative that specifically addresses media literacy and the safe use of new media by young people in Luxembourg.
Introduced in 2010, BEE SECURE aims to promote information security and the safe use of networked devices among the general public in Luxembourg, with a special focus on children, youth, parents, teachers, educators and senior citizens. As a national centre of competence and excellence in information safety, BEE SECURE supports the implementation of the country's strategy for information safety and security.
BEE SECURE is a common initiative of the Ministry of the Economy, the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth and the Ministry of Family Affairs and Integration. An advisory board, which has a consultative function, is composed of different stakeholders from policy, practice, research and economy. BEE SECURE is operated by three complementary partners: National Youth Service, KannerJugendTelefon (KJT), Securitymadein.lu (SMILE g.i.e.) with the following roles and functions:
- The National Youth Service is in charge of the coordination of BEE SECURE
- The KJT runs the BEE SECURE Helpline for the same target groups including educators and the general public. KJT also operates the 'BEE SECURE Stopline', a website for reporting illegal activities
- Securitymadein.lu (SMILE g.i.e.) is an economic interest group owned by the Ministry of the Economy, the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth and the Ministry of Family Affairs; the Intermunicipal Association of Information Management (SIGI;Syndicat Intercommunal de Gestion Informatique) and the Association of Towns and Municipalities (SYVICOL;Syndicat des Villes et Communes luxembourgeoises). SMILE g.i.e. has strong ties to the information technology area.
To ensure high quality trainings, the research department of the University of Luxembourg regularly surveys the satisfaction of both trainers and their audience. According to an analysis of the 2014/15 school year, teachers (N=665) rated the effectiveness and execution of the training programmes in class as good or very good. The teachers who had participated in a BEE SECURE training programme showed a higher interest in integrating media education into their courses. At the same time, students showed a strong interest in the topics discussed in class and stated they could easily understand the training content. BEE SECURE trainers were satisfied with the students' level of knowledge and discipline and the overall dynamics in class.
Media literacy and online safety are part of the school curriculum. A separate training programme on media literacy and online safety is offered by trainers of the BEE SECURE initiative. It is mandatory for all 7th grade classes in secondary schools in Luxembourg.
Training sessions are also offered to other primary and secondary school classes, as well as to parents, teachers and any other group upon request (youth centres, senior citizen clubs and local initiatives). The contents and topics of the sessions are always determined according to the target audience and situation.
Luxembourg is the only country in Europe that has established mandatory training on safer Internet use within the education system. The training programmes are financed by the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth. The National Youth Service is in charge of all organisational aspects, trainer coordination and school appointments, as well as the evaluation of the training courses. All BEE SECURE trainers work under the label 'BEE SECURE Trainer', devised in 2012, which helps to monitor the quality of the offered training and ensures a high level of excellence. The 'BEE SECURE for schools' training programmes (such as all other programmes) aim to encourage positive, responsible and safe Internet usage among students. Overall, the training communicates three fundamental messages:
- The Internet is not magic – it is a technical infrastructure
- The Internet never forgets
- You are the only one who can protect yourself.
The web page bee-secure.lu provides comprehensive information, pedagogical tools and support for teachers, parents, young people and any other interested persons. Offers include e.g. online tests (password security test, cyberbullying test), videos, guidelines on Internet security and a glossary. The Centre for Political Education (ZpB; Zentrum fir politesch Bildung) also promotes media literacy by different projects (e.g. Concours Jeune Journaliste).
Media literacy and online safety are also addressed in the framework of the eTwinning project, the European Commission's eLearning Programme for teachers. For school staff , eTwinning offers a platform to promote communication, school collaboration and development of projects in a transnational European learning community. In 2021, several seminars on media literacy and online safety have been organised on the following topics were 'Critical Digital Literacy and Disinformation', 'Tackling online bullying in schools', 'Building a School Digital Strategy with the SELFIE Tool'.
Promoting media literacy and online safety through non-formal and informal learning is organised within the framework of the BEE SECURE initiative. BEE SECURE offers various training opportunities for youth workers and youth leaders on request, according to their specific needs and objectives.
The national framework of non-formal education defines 'Acquisition of media literacy' as an important field of action for youth work. According to this framework, media education of youth work aims at equipping young people with competences, knowledge, abilities, skills and critical judgement so that they learn to deal with media offers and content in a self-determined and critically reflective way (MENJE & SNJ, 2021).
BEE SECURE is in charge of raising awareness about the risks posed by new media. The web page bee-secure.lu is an important platform where information about the risks posed by new media are made available to young people, parents and youth workers. BEE SECURE also distributes leaflets and posters in order to raise awareness about the risks related to new media.
BEE SECURE organises different campaigns, such as 'SHARE RESPECT – Stop Online Hate Speech'. The objective of this campaign is to educate and raise awareness among children and youth (as well as among an older audience) as to how the term 'hate speech' could be defined on the conceptual level, how to recognise hate speech and distinguish it from freedom of expression, why it is important to fight against it and, finally, how all actors (offenders, victims, third parties, website administrators, etc.) can handle this subject in a definite way.
The campaign 'Bass de sécher?!' (Are you sure?!) aims at raising awareness among children and youth of the safe use of information and communication technologies and the consequences of careless image and video postings. There are two hotlines, operated by the KannerJugendTelefon (BEE SECURE, 2021):
- BEE SECURE Stopline: citizens can anonymously report suspicious content, such as child sexual abuse material, racism, revisionism, discrimination and/or terrorism. In 2020, the BEE SECURE Stopline registered a total of 4022 links containing child sexual abuse material. 2410 of these links were classified as illegal by the BEE SECURE Stopline. The Stopline received a total of 292 links containing racist, revisionist and discriminatory content. 240 of these links were classified as illegal by the BEE SECURE Stopline team and a total of 22 links containing terrorist content, of which 15 were classified as illegal. The numbers show an increase in reports in the domain of racism, revisionism and discrimination. The report highlights factors that could explain this increase. It refers to a better knowledge about the BEE SECURE Stopline, the pandemic, but also to the fact that citizens are doing their part, take responsibility and report illegal content they encounter.
- BEE SECURE Helpline mainly targets children, youngsters and their parents and offers information, advice and help on ICT-related topics. Callers can remain anonymous while talking to pedagogues and psychologists who are also experts in the field of information security. In 2020, the Helpline received calls on the following subjects: e-crime, data protection, technical settings, sextortion and cyberbullying. The Helpline received a total of 464 calls (514 in 2019; 226 in 2014) and 351 online requests via the online form. The report highlights a significant number of people who called the BEE SECURE Helpline for help with respect to cyberbullying, an issue that continues to raise concerns. Another issue is sexting, which poses an increasing challenge not only for those who work with teenagers, but also for the teens themselves, especially when situations get out of hand and could lead to sextortion situations.
BEE SECURE organises and hosts different events in Luxembourg which aim at raising awareness about the risks posed by new media (BEE SECURE, 2021):
- 'Safer Internet Day', titled 'Together for a better internet' in 2020, a wide range of activities were organised throughout the country to highlight digital security (e.g. film screening, a press conference, discussion evenings and trainings)
- 'Digital Privacy Salons': skill & knowledge sharing sessions that aim at teaching people the basic ways of protecting themselves and their data from intrusive surveillance (for further details, see: Digital Privacy Salons)
- 'DigiRallye' offers children a creative approach to media and digital technology, while teaching them how to use the Internet, computer and smartphone safely. Due to COVID-19, the physical edition of the DigiRallye in Summer 2020 could not take place. BEE SECURE has developed a virtual edition for children ages 9 to 12, offering them a first look at how to use media and technology in a safe and responsible way.