In general, initiatives carried out in French-speaking Belgium concerning the Internet are based on one of two models: protection and education.
In the protectionist model, we find The Internet Rights Observartory whereas the model of education includes initiatives such as Educaunet, ClickSafe and "Cliquer futé" (To click smart).
The SPF Economy (Service public fédéral Economie), with its Internet Rights Observatory (http://www.internet-observatory.be), carries out initiatives relating to the protection of minors on Internet. This working group puts forward concrete legislative measures to the Minister so that young people can surf the Internet in full confidence and in dignity. This working group first studied the issues of minors and the Internet and drew up an inventory of the problems raised. It then established priorities for these problems, so making it possible to outline the sphere of action.
The Observatory issued an opinion that was approved at the plenary meeting of January 29, 2003. This opinion relates to the measures to be implemented to prevent young people being confronted with damaging sites (violent ones, pornographic, racist, etc.).
The following points were analysed: identification of minors on line; filtering via adequate software; certification and use of domain names; adaptation and/or improvement of the legal framework. The Observatory also recommends launching a public awareness campaign addressed to a variety of sectors.
ClickSafe (Child Focus, SPF Justice (Service public fédéral Justice) and Federal Police force initiative) (http://www.clicksafe.be) and Safer Internet (European Commission initiative) (http://www.saferinternet.org) are information and public awareness campaigns which aim at improving the safer use of the Internet and mobile technologies by minors. Using games sites, they try to teach young people which attitudes and responses they should have about the Internet with the aim of avoiding the risks with which they might be confronted.
It is with this idea in mind that the "Cliquer futé" ('To Click Smart') initiative (of the Ministry for Education) was launched. Following the many questions from parents, teachers and educators about the Internet and young people, it seemed more useful to develop the critical, autonomous and responsible mind rather than to prohibit young people to confront the world which surrounds them. After distributing 3,000 teaching kits in schools, a day of study was organised in order to discuss the teaching work necessary to educate young people to the risks they could meet.
COLLECTIF, «Quelle éducation aux risques de l'Internet, actes de la journée d'études organisée dans le cadre de la campagne Cliquer futé», Mars 2003.
Within the framework of Educaunet (http://www.educaunet.be) (supported by the European Commission). The role of Educaunet is not to prohibit access to some sites neither to advice but to propose an educational approach improving critical use of the Internet. A multimedia teaching kit was designed at the end of this project, and distributed to each primary school of the French Community for use by teachers. Educaunet promotes media literacy, which is obtained by the means of a teacher who develops, by the way of adapted activities, a critical point of view regarding the media in young people.
Through its 'Cyber-Schools' program (http://www.wallonie-isoc.org/), the Walloon Area equipped 435 high-schools, 105 establishments of social advancement and 1791 primary schools with powerful and appropriate computer equipment in 2000.
In this framework, each school is invited to provide a "cyber media centre", with a "resource person". This person has an educational mission, but in fact this mission extend more on a technical competences than on media literacy.
The government of French-speaking Belgium set up the Conseil de l'éducation aux Médias (CEM) (Council of media education) (http://www.cfwb.be/cem), alert to the issues of Internet, and three resource centres aimed at schools and associations. "L'école mise au net: enjeux d'une education aux medias et à Internet (The School put @t the Net: Stakes of media literacy and the Internet) " (1999) is one of the many publications of the Council of media education. This booklet aims to make secondary school teachers aware of and alert to a central issue which determines the success of teaching carried out with new technologies: media literacy, multimedia, and more precisely, with the Internet. Available for the secondary schools, "L'école mise au net" wants to give tracks for all the teachers who ask them questions about Internet. This publication gives the word to experts, teachers, students ; it presents examples of educational use and provides practical information.