SWGfL Attends Annual Insafe Meeting to Discuss Collaborative Efforts in Protecting People Online

SWGfL Attends Annual Insafe Meeting to Discuss Collaborative Efforts in Protecting People Online

Last week, representatives from SWGfL attended the annual Insafe meeting in Warsaw, Poland to discuss the collaborative efforts being made to protect individuals online. Joined by organisations and representatives from Safer Internet Centres across Europe, this two-day session was a chance to further highlight the online issues and trends that are being seen by our global partners, as well as present our own findings from SWGfL alongside the wider UK Safer Internet Centre (UKSIC).

Insights and Collaboration

During the collaborative session between Insafe and INHOPE, the focus was on fostering an exchange of experiences and best practices between the two networks. Emphasis was placed on understanding areas of mutual interest and potential avenues for closer collaboration among helplines, hotlines, and awareness centres. An important aspect discussed was the incorporation of children and young people's perspectives into the development and evaluation of online resources concerning sexual issues.

Additionally, participants engaged in dialogue regarding various online safety concerns such as deep nudes, sextortion, gender-based violence, and adult content. Time was also taken to reflect on Safer Internet Day (SID) 2024, and discuss plans for the upcoming Safer Internet Day that will take place in 2025.  Further discussions encompassed the latest updates to the Digital Services Act (DSA), and addressed some of the anticipated challenges that Safer Internet Centres might encounter in the future.

Helplines and Initiatives

Our representatives had the privilege of visiting the Polish helpline operated by the Empowering Children Foundation. Hearing their experience of operating two helplines, one catering to young people and another supporting practitioners and parents, was incredibly insightful due to our own work on the Professionals Online Safety Helpline, which supports professionals working with young people with their online safety concerns. It was intriguing to discover that parents constitute this helpline’s largest number of clientele, highlighting the need for support in navigating both online and offline risks for all audiences.

Additionally, learning about the proactive measures taken in the Netherlands by OFFLIMITS allowed us to see the wider action being taken against child sexual abuse material (CSAM). From their reporting service for CSAM material, to their helpline addressing online issues like sextortion and grooming, their approach demonstrated the ongoing battle against CSAM.

Kate Worthington and Hayley Laskey (Senior Helpline Practitioners) took part and delivered a presentation with youth ambassadors and professionals on how to talk to young people about pornography. They outlined resources such as "So You Got Naked Online" and "Let's Talk About Porn," provided by SWGfL and the UK Safer Internet Centre, whilst emphasising the importance of educating young people on consent and healthy online behaviours. During the session, discussions shifted perspectives, with colleagues posing questions from a parental angle as opposed to their professional stance; highlighting the need for tailored messaging appropriate for  different audiences.

Insights from sessions on handling adult content online shed light on the ongoing debate around age verification protocols for adult sites. A call for proactive measures by some of the leading tech giants underscored the collective responsibility to safeguard online spaces. This was further exemplified by Boris Radanovic’s session on StopNCII.org  and Take it Down tools, which explored the essential need for global use of hashing technology to protect individuals from intimate image abuse. It was encouraging to see so many people being evidently impressed by the initiative, which led to many conversations and further discussions.

Boris Radanovic (Head of Engagements and Partnerships at SWGfL) said:

''The annual Insafe meeting is an essential opportunity to understand the wider landscape of the online safety climate. Internet has no boundaries, no borders and we need to make sure we are protecting children in the global digital environment. In the UK, we are experiencing first-hand the issues and concerns individuals encounter when they go online, but to listen to the wider problems can encourage us to work more closer and collaborate on where the solutions are. It was another valuable meeting, and we look forward to continue working closely with our partners to ensure everyone can benefit from technology free from harm.''  

Back to Magazine

Related Articles