Local Conference about Internet and Associated Risks


I’m back from a local event organized in my village: “Ce qu’il faut savoir pour surfer sans risque” what can be translated by “How to use the Internet in a safe way“. I heard about this conference via the local newspaper and found interesting to attend. Not to learn new things, I hope to be aware enough on this topic, but to have an overview of the public and the way Internet will be presented.

In fact the event was clearly dedicated to parents. The presentation was done by a representative of the “Service de médiation scolaire en Wallonie“. He presented a study performed against 2700 young people between 12 and 15 years old in the French part of Belgium . The questionnaire was oriented to the usage of new technologies (Internet & mobile applications). The slides were presented to all students but slightly modified to meet the audience of today. Twenty people, between 10 and 70 years old, present this evening (not bad for a small village, IMHO) . Very different Internet users profiles (students, parents and retired)

The study was based on a several questions like:

  • Do you have access to Internet?
  • Do you have a mobile phone (with/without camera)?
  • How long do you use the Internet per day?
  • What are your favorite applications?
  • Where do you request help when required?
  • Did you already see inappropriate material (pornography, …)?
  • Did you make contacts via Internet?

The study is now over, statistics are being processed and conclusions will be available soon. The most important aspects today are: All young people (>99%) have access to Internet. Mobile phones are heavily used and often for bad purpose (stolen pictures or movies). And the worst one: Young people have a false feeling of anonymity on the Internet!

The speaker was not technical (it was clearly not the purpose of the conference) but has a strong Internet usage profile, a good knowledge and (most important in this case) a good feeling with young people (educational profile). The slides covered several topics:

  • Main applications
  • False sense of anonymity
  • Copyrights
  • Do and don’t
  • A large part about blogs and their side effect (publicly available and editor responsibilities)
  • Online gaming and chat
  • Main security issues (spam, phishing, identity)

The conclusions were multiple: First, the young people have a very good knowledge of new technologies! But they use them often in the wrong way and have a false sense of protection (anonymity). New media are used to spread bad information (against a colleague or a professor). Of course, copyrighted material is also an important vector of problems (like viruses, illegal actions, …). Second, they must be accompanied by adults (to solve problems or when facing unexpected content). Finally, like for all users, a very strong awareness continuous training is mandatory. That was an interesting evening.

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