The internet and the social media sites are part of the the daily activities in the lives of young people in Israel but the internet is also rife with many dangers: from criminal activities such as pedophelia, distribution of illicit sexual content, ostracism and shaming.
Not all of these common features of conduct on the internet are defined as criminal. However, they can have a devastating effect on the lives of young people. In light of the accompanying dangers, the government is expected to embark on a new strategy to counter cyber threats.
Last Tuesday, the government approved a national initiative to protect children and young people on the internet. Known as “the prevention of violence and crime on the internet” the initiative will involve the operations of 131 policemen and civilians and will be allocated an annual budget of NIS 50 million. The national initiative will also operate an emergency center 24/7 and will include dedicated police units.
The initiative will be lead by the Internal Defense Ministry and will be composed of permanent representatives from a number of ministries and the Israel Police. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan praised initiative, saying it would constitute a digital “iron dome” which will protect children in Israel on the internet.
The Israeli plan is based on the British model which has also been forced to find ways of coping with violence and abuse prevalent on the internet. Indeed, Erdan even visited London in order to learn the various methods which Israel might employ against the phenomenon.
“One of the central goals which I set in place was the creation of a national initiative which would provide an answer to threats and dangers on the internet,” Erdan told Yedioth Ahronoth on Saturday night.
“The initiative, which is a new model and a breakthrough, will operate toward the goal of leading a strategic change in the State of Israel, to create a safe environment on the internet and to strengthen feelings of personal security for the public.”