In Sarajevo, in the week from June 8 to June 11, organized by the Faculty of Criminology, Criminology and Security Studies, Save the Children, UNICEF and the International Solidarity Forum - EMMAUS, as part of the EVAC (end violence against the children) project online training "Children at risk of the digital environment" was held.
With a setting that mirrored the online context of communication in which today’s children grow up extremely well, attendees listened, learned, and discussed about the world of the digital environment and children’s role in it. The last decade has posed many questions to us about why and how children use the Internet and all its products, and how adults create protective mechanisms and safe spaces for children to grow up in a safe digital environment.
The data from Bosnia and Herzegovina that every seventh child would meet up with an unknown person from the Internet without an escort is particularly worrying, given the widespread use of social networks in their daily communication.
The participants, mostly child protection professionals, academics and humanities sciences students, gained knowledge in four modules on the etiology and phenomenology of sexual exploitation of children in the digital environment, legal frameworks for child protection, referral mechanisms in cases of violence against children in the digital environment, and at the end of the training, the personal experiences of the investigators of the Federal Ministry of the Interior in working on cases of violence and abuse of children in the digital environment.
Professors Elmedin Muratbegović, Elvira Čekić, Marija Lučić- Ćatić, Jasmin Ahić, Lada Sadiković, Dina Bajraktarević- Pajević and FUP investigators Hana Ugljanin and Saša Petrović, shared their expertise and insight into how the time children and young people spend using digital technologies affects to the various domains of their lives, what dangers they face and how to protect them. The benefit of the training is undeniable according to the comments of the participants who pointed out the completeness of the content, the timeliness of the topics and the extensive knowledge of the lecturers. For the needs of the participants, the publication "Review of lectures of the training program" Children at risk of the digital environment " was created, whose authors are the above-mentioned lecturers. It is planned that the Faculty of Criminology, Criminology and Security Studies will publish this publication as a Collection of Papers "Children at Risk in the Digital Environment".
Rownak Khan, Head of the UNICEF Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Amela Efendić, Head of the MFS Emmaus Office and Andrea Žeravčić, Director of the Save the Children Office for the North-Western Balkans, also addressed the participants and spoke about the broader context of the EVAC project and the benefits that education, awareness, and in particular the concrete procedures in protecting children in the digital environment that this project provides.
Aida Ivković, EVAC project coordinator, points out that in the next steps, the project will continue with education for parents and teachers on child protection in the digital environment, developing a national strategy and national action plan for child protection in the digital environment, developing guides and training for state judges and prosecutors, and, as one of the important goals in the project, training for police investigators and commisioners and procurement of software equipment to protect children as fully as possible from sexual abuse, exploitation and violence in the digital environment.