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Press releases archive


Young leaders promote responsible digital citizenship at ECPAT conference

19 November 2014

Make-IT-Safe Berlin Conference

Young people from across the European Union shared their recommendations for improved digital citizenship amongst children and young people at the final Make IT Safe conference in November 2014. 

The “peer experts” discussed their two-year journeys training in peer-to-peer online safety and called for stronger preventative work against online child exploitation through youth development and government action.

During the two-year programme, Make-IT-Safe ECPAT partners in Austria, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands and the UK  have supported schools, youth groups and shelters for unaccompanied minors to identify and train young people as experts in the safe use of the internet. Professionals in the fields of children’s rights and online safety have fulfilled the role of coaches, helping to identify new peers in order to replicate the model in the future. 

The threats to children in the digital world have proliferated with the rapid growth of new technologies. Governments and corporate providers have struggled to keep pace with technological developments across social media, smart phone apps, messaging services and hidden internet portals, which have been exploited by tech-savvy offenders. The Make-IT-Safe model supports young people to respond to these issues and become responsible citizens in these new digital terrains. 

The final conference showcased the in-depth learning developed throughout the programme and the opportunities created through the unique exchange of experiences with experts across the European Union. 

ECPAT UK “peer expert” Nicole said: “It was nice to be in Brussels to be around other young people with different experiences. I most enjoyed being able to ask the European experts questions and getting good answers.”

Debbie Beadle, Head of Youth & Training at ECPAT UK, said: “The conference was a fitting end to the project. I was so impressed with the enthusiasm of the peers and the work which has been done in each country. The conference was a perfect balance of youth participation and inclusion of EU representation and policy.”

About Make IT Safe 

Make IT Safe is a peer education project supporting children and young people to become responsible digital citizens and champions of online safety. Funded by the European Commission, the project is a collaborative effort between five ECPAT partners across Europe -- ECPAT Austria, ECPAT Belgium, ECPAT Germany, ECPAT Netherlands and ECPAT UK. 


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