‘’Lectures of the protection of children on the Internet at Vladimir Grbić volleyball camp’’


This year Zlatibor mountain hosted, for the second time, one-month volleyball camp of Vladimir Vanja Grbić, ( ‘’Vladimir Vanja Grbić Eurocream sports camp’’)  which was realized in four shifts. The camp of celebrated volleyball player and the winner of medal on Olympic game, has gathered around 450 children from the Serbia and abroad aged from 8 to 20 years.

The camp has not been intended only for children with previous volleyball experience, as the camp’s goals are: health, prevention and improvements, regarding children’s orthopedic motoric and psychosocial skills. With personal practice with Vanja Grbić, the team has 70 professional trainers. Apart from the work on volleyball elements, wider education of children is also present in order to focus on proper development.

One of the lectures at the camp was dedicated to children’s and youth protecting on the Internet and social networks. Lectures for the third and fourth group of children were held by Katarina Jonev, a lecturer on the topic of children’s protection on the Internet.

-It was a great honor and pleasure to be part of the camp of Vladimir Grbić who is renowned sport and volleyball legend. I would like to thank Vanja for recognizing the need to educate children about the dangers that lurk on the Internet, as a growing problem of modern society, and for allowing more than 320 kids to hear how they can protect themselves on social networks – said Katarina.

Protection of the children and young people from dangers on the Internet is a global problem. Republic of Serbia is not excluded. Therefore, education is one of the most important segments when it comes to protecting children on the Internet and on social networks.

– Until a few years ago, children had toys, Lego and Barbie to keep their attention, and today their modern toys are smartphones. Children live in a new cyber-era. With the opening of profiles on social networks they discovered in the early days the virtual world, and many of them have come to life with it. They do not know how to underline the difference between the real and cyber life. Cyber security can no longer be considered as separate from security in the real world. The damage that arises from cyberspace is equal to the physical, real world, and life.

As someone who is involved in education and protection of children on the Internet, in the last few years I have had a number of successful workshops, with children, with parents, with high school students and young people. From my own experience I know that it is a great importance to prepare future generations for life in a virtual world. We have to educate children about the security culture and safe use of the Internet and popular social networks. They should be directed how to develop healthy cyber identities, learn how to preserve their privacy, to minimize risks in the virtual world, and the rule that “what you do not do in the physical world (for example, talking to strangers) should be used also on social networks ”. Young people often make a mistake and put themselves too openly on the networks, share personal information, privacy, information with the public, communicate with strangers and all this can be abused for illegal purposes.

In the Republic of Serbia, young athletes often face problems on social networks.

– Lectures were perfectly matched with the vision of Vladimir Grbić that good basis for healthy development – sport, physical and mental should be provided to children. The aim of the camp is children to train and play, learn the basics of sport and life and, above all, to be healthy. I repeat I firmly believe that quality education can contribute to a better understanding of the dangers that lie in the cyber space and to which children are exposed. Hatred, violent content, laughing and mockery, insulting, leaving threatening comments are just some of the dangers of the Internet and social networks that are increasingly rising and becoming more common among young people. When someone mistreat the child with messages in inboxes that are inappropriate content, then insults, disturbs, sets false information about him or her, makes groups on social networks where the goal is laughing, blackmailing, calling for physical violence, knowing that it is cyber violence. Unfortunately, it is common for young athletes to become victims only because they are playing for the opposing club.

Mistreat in the cyber world is equivalent to mistreat in the physical world. Young athletes will be confused at first because they are targeted through social networks, but in the case of lack of support and understanding of parents, trainers, schools, the situation may become bad and the kid will become depressed, asocial, reticent. The child will even think of leaving the club and sports. Unfortunately, the more and more popular trend of chasing ‘’likes’’ on social medias caught the children too. A number of children generally consider it more socially acceptable and popular if they have a lot of friends or followers on social networks. The more likes – the more successful you are. But are they aware of the danger of who can be on the other side? Who are they actually chatting with? Children at the camp got the explanations of the importance of creating a healthy cyber identity, the culture of using social networks, the importance of good and quality relationships with parents, because they are the only ones who can help and protect them, but also which situations to avoid and how to react when someone jeopardize them.