Microsoft and GNR join forces to raise awareness of Safer Internet

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The Safer Internet Day is on February 7th, so Microsoft Portugal and the Portuguese National Guard (GNR) have teamed up to, once again, raise awareness and create a “Safer Internet Month” between February 7th and 14th.

This year’s theme is “Metaverse vs. Reality” due to the rapid technological evolution that has been experienced especially in the last decade. Thus, the goal is to “delveinto the development and impacts of the metaverse in the lives of schoolchildren, in learning and navigation contexts. With the goal of promoting the responsible use of technology, the initiative will address topics such as digital security, online user rights, privacy, data protection, social networks and cyberbullying.

Andrés Ortolá, General Director of Microsoft Portugal, points out that “technology is a powerful tool that can significantly improve our lives, but it is important to ensure its responsible and safe use, especially in the metaverse, which is now a growing reality in our lives and which our children have not yet fully mastered.

Adding that “we are committed to working with the GNR, the school community and society in general to raise awareness of the importance of digital security and risks in a world where the line between real and virtual is increasingly blurred.”

According to Raquel Valente, a GNR captain,“the digital revolution we have witnessed has promoted the rapid integration of technology into our lives. It is essential to ensure that young people are informed about the dangers of the Internet and know how to protect themselves. Through collaboration with Microsoft Portugal, we intend, through the nearly 400 soldiers of the Criminal Prevention and Community Policing structure throughout the GNR’s area of responsibility and within the scope of the “Safe School Program”, to raise awareness of online prevention measures, including in the “metaverse.”

Thus, between February 7 and 14, the military of the Guard will conduct several actions with the school community, with the aim of “raising awareness of the need to prevent risky behavior inherent in the use of the Internet.”

The sessions will be aimed at primary and secondary school students from all over the country, through GNR military personnel and more than 100 volunteers from Microsoft Portugal, where they will address metaversos. This concept corresponds to “a set of technologies that allows to represent and establish connections between the real world and the virtual world, between people, places, things and processes. To strengthen security in the metaverse, it is essential to invest in the principles of privacy, security and data protection, including strong authentication in access to accounts or applications and infrastructure security, including networks, servers and devices.

Microsoft Portugal is a founding member of the Safe Internet Consortium and has partnered with GNR for nine consecutive years to mark Safer Internet Month in February. For 19 years celebrating Safer Internet Day, the technology company announced the “Global Online Safety Survey 2023: Perceptions of parents and children about online safety”, in which it analyzes, in 16 countries, the perceptions of adolescents and parents about Internet safety and respective risk behaviors.

According to the Microsoft study, 69% of respondents have experienced at least one risk in the last year and 42% of people have become less trustworthy when using the Internet. In the top risks identified were misinformation (51%); personal risks (42%) such as hate speech, cyberbullying, harassment, abuse and threats of violence and violent content (39%) such as graphic violence, terrorist and extremist content. For more information about the study click here.

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