Cybergram: Empowering Youth for Safe Online Behavior

In a joint effort by the Estonian Human Rights Centre and Telia, the educational platform known as Cybergram has been created to guide young individuals in safe online conduct. Renowned Estonian content creators Kerli Paaslepp, Manna, and Sebastian Freiberg share cautionary tales from their own lives. Providing the theoretical framework is Kristo Siig, a history and social studies teacher who gained popularity through YouTube videos. In addition to informative videos, this platform, structured akin to Instagram, includes spam posts and test questions to challenge users’ knowledge. Facilitating the use of the platform in the classroom is a set of supplementary materials for educators.

A significant portion of young individuals in elementary school navigate the online world more freely than their parents or teachers. However, their ability to critically assess, analyze, and self-regulate is still in development. This means they may not foresee or prevent the dangers associated with sharing personal information in various online environments.

“According to a privacy survey conducted by Telia in late 2022, which was carried out by Norstat, half of Estonia’s children fear password theft and the sharing of pictures and videos without their consent on the internet,” says Elo Võrk, Head of Support Activities at Telia. “This indicates that the issue is crucial among the youth and must be addressed.”

What should one do when someone posts an embarrassing video of them on social media? Is pretending to be someone else in a chat acceptable? How should you react if an online acquaintance you’ve grown close to asks you to send pictures? These are just a few of the questions that the newly launched online platform aims to provide sound answers to. With a user-friendly interface that feels familiar, the platform serves as a tool for middle school teachers, but it can also be easily used independently. Supplementary materials for teachers in preparation for lessons can be found here, and background information on data protection and privacy is available here.

“Cyber hygiene and data protection may seem less exciting than surfing the internet, but careless or unknowing behavior can lead to irreversible consequences. Many of us fail to realize how much of our identity is carried in our smartphones and what can happen when malicious individuals gain access to personal data,” urges Mari-Liis Vähi, a digital rights and data protection lawyer at the Estonian Human Rights Centre, calling on all internet users to exercise caution.

Our data belongs to us. We have the right to know what happens to it and the responsibility to protect it ourselves. This new, engaging educational platform offers an opportunity for self-education on this important topic.

The technical concept for the educational platform was developed in collaboration with the design agency Velvet, while content contributions came from the Data Protection Inspectorate and Telia. The platform’s development was supported by the Estonian Internet Foundation, Luminate Foundation, and Telia.

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