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19 May 2020

UNICEF to hold online safety webinars for Belarusian teenagers

UNICEF to hold online safety webinars for Belarusian teenagers
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MINSK, 19 May (BelTA) – The Office of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Belarus in collaboration with the Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs and MTS mobile network operator with financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland is holding a series of free webinars for parents, elementary school children and teenagers to educate them about Internet safety. The second webinar is meant for teenagers and is due to take place on 22 May, BelTA learned from the UNICEF Office in Belarus.

The webinar will start at 16:00. It will teach teenagers how to handle Internet trolls and resolve a conflict. The webinar will be administered by Illiana Matviyenko, a psychologist from the National Center for Psychological Help, child and adolescent psychologist. Those who want to take part in the webinar, should get registered by 21 May.

The subsequent webinars will also be held by trained psychologists and experts from MTS and the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

According to the UNICEF Office, online safety is getting increasingly relevant because during the COVID-19 pandemic families have to stay at home and use the Internet more often. Although the Internet is a convenient means of communication, it poses certain risks, too. Up to 70.6% of Internet users aged 15-24 may be subject to cyberbullying, stalking, and other dangers according to a global research carried out by UNICEF and involving one million young people in 160 countries across the globe.

According to the Belarusian Statistical Committee, 84% of Belarusian children aged 6-10 years and 98.1% of children aged 11-15 years are Internet users. According to a 2017 nationwide survey to assess the scale of violence against children, 9% of children studying in the 5th-7th grades and 18.2% of children studying in the 8th-11th grades said they were subjected to cyberharassment.

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