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SmartBus: Getting Smart About Online Safety for Children

The Huawei SmartBus will stop in 15 Italian cities and teach 4,500+ children how to stay safe online

For all its incredible benefits, the Internet can be a risky place for young people. Cyberbullying and privacy protection are just two of the issues they face – issues that will only grow as people spend more time in the digital world.

Young netizens need the knowledge to navigate the Internet and social media safely.

To help them on their journey, Huawei and Parole O_Stili have launched the SmartBus project in Italy to offer free training sessions to secondary school students aged between 10 and 14. The sessions are designed to help children develop a strong awareness of Internet security and the opportunities and risks associated with using digital tools.

Functioning as an interactive mobile classroom, the SmartBus is equipped with digital devices and expert trainers who will create an engaging, interactive, and fun learning environment that students can relate to. For the project, Parole O_Stili has developed a special app that helps simulate potentially risky situations such as requests to share data and photos.

Aiming to reach more than 4,500 students, the Italy SmartBus will stop in 15 cities across five regions.

Little awareness, a lot of vulnerability

According to a 2022 survey by Ipsos and Changes Unipol, 30% of Italians do not perceive online risks as a danger, while 17% are unable to effectively assess risks and consequences. Young people are particularly vulnerable to sharing photos on social media networks, and tend to have a low perceived understanding of the risks of doing so.

Young people need concrete examples, a guide who knows how to support them in a complicated and difficult world. The initiative promoted by Huawei and Parole O_Stili, goes precisely in the direction of preparing younger generations, through interaction and entertainment, to overcome potentially dangerous situations.Andrea Tronzano
Councilor for Productive Activities Development, Piedmont Region

The conscious use of technology and the Internet among new generations is a priority for our city, which is why we strongly support the initiative by Parole O_Stili and Huawei. As a city, we are also starting a discussion around the theme of online safety to build a structured and participatory path with school communities.Carlotta Salerno
Councilor for Education at Turin Municipality

In 2022, the Postal Police and the Cyber Security Operations Center recorded an increase in the number of people or websites identified for crimes connected to techno-mediated abuse against minors. Of particular concern was the increase in online grooming of children aged between 10 and 13. Although showing a slight decrease, cyberbullying mainly affects 14- to 17-year-olds.

Under the hashtag #CYBERSICURIABORDO, the training offered during the SmartBus program will help students better understand which online resources are age-appropriate and which protective measures to take to protect themselves online - things like using antivirus software, updating devices, choosing strong passwords, and configuring social networks to maximize data privacy.

Students will also learn to navigate the online world with the same caution as they would in real life, and immediately report any inappropriate contact to a teacher or parent.

It's with huge enthusiasm that we're starting this journey, which offers us the extraordinary opportunity to be able to stand by the side of so many boys and girls, teachers, and citizens to help them acquire adequate awareness of using digital tools. The partnership is enriched by the Postal Police who, at some stages of the tour, will be on board to directly engage with the new generations. Three partners, one single watchword: cybersecurityRosy Russo
President, Parole O_Stili

Threats related to the use of the network have become a problem that must be addressed by building an awareness of the risks of the Internet. Huawei developed SmartBus to provide students aged 10-14 with the information they need about online safety and cyberbullying.Wilson Wang
CEO of Huawei Italy

The SmartBus will stop in each city for three days. While children are a priority, afternoon sessions will welcome all citizens to improve their knowledge on the topics of cybersecurity, privacy, and the use of digital tools. Each session will start with a test on the bus to assess attendees' existing knowledge levels.

The project is supported by Piedmont, Lombardy, Tuscany, Lazio, and Campania regions; the Municipalities of Turin, Settimo Torinese, Novara, Bergamo, Brescia, Cremona, Pisa, Grosseto, Livorno, Frosinone, Viterbo, Caserta, Salerno, and Naples; and the telecommunication association ASSTEL. Alongside Huawei and Parole O_Stili, the technical partners are FASTWEB, Piemonte Innova Foundation, Spazio UaU, G2EVENT, and EventRent.

The SmartBus initiative was launched in Europe in 2019. The program has so far visited more than 300 schools in eight countries, including Spain, Portugal, Belgium and the Netherlands, reaching more than 65,000 students, parents, and teachers.