Critical and creative thinking provide barrier against cyber threats

Maria Gabriel and Wim Wenders
Photo: BGNES

World-famous filmmaker Wim Wenders has recently paid a visit to Sofia as ambassador of the SaferInternet4EU campaign. The director spent more than two hours with the students of Second English Language School "Thomas Jefferson" in Sofia, talking about using the net safely and distinguishing truth from lies through critical thinking.

"Sofia and Berlin had been chosen for the initiative, because there are many intelligent and creative young people here who give hope for the future of Bulgaria and Europe as a whole," said Mayor Yordanka Fandakova, who also took part in the meeting.

The guests received paintings as gifts from the forum

"Now it is more important than ever that education helps young people develop skills for critical thinking, in order to make difference between truth and lies and still stay confident in knowing that new technologies give them a chance to realize their talents and creative thinking," said EU commissioner Mariya Gabriel, responsible for Digital Economy and Society.

“New technologies bring great opportunities for young people and the society as a whole, but they also bring a number of risks. Therefore, we need an information campaign that would allow us to have knowledge, to preserve our critical thinking, and to protect ourselves from dangers such as cyber bullying. I am glad that today the young people in Sofia, together with Wim Wenders, are sending a message that online space should be a place where we can all behave in a respectful way, but this needs to be taught. Young people should know that they must not just stand as witnesses, but be vigilant and ready to help others when there was a threat. Our campaign has been going on for a year now and we have reached over 30 million people in Europe and more than 15,000 schools in different countries. Bulgaria seems to be the most active in this area.”

"Sometimes, against the backdrop of new technologies, the world of the soul we discover in Wim Wenders' films remains in the background. That is why it is good to be acquainted with European cinema because it is part of our history and identity," Commissioner Gabriel added. “Wim Wenders himself says that the best thing in shooting movies is the use of a universal language that everyone could understand.”Being in a new era, young Europeans need to know what to take from the past and what to expect from the future," the world-renowned director during his meeting with high-school students in Sofia.

“We have been living in the digital age for the past 10 to 20 years. Our children must be prepared for it. This is our common future. It is time to think about these new challenges that young people face today. One of the biggest challenges is distinguishing truth from lies in the digital world.”

9th-grade student Alexandra Skerova is among the fans of Wim Wenders and her favorite film is "Wings of Desire". She says cyber security is a matter of personal activity and every student should be interested in finding information about the risks in the net.

"Some people on the web present themselves as something they aren’t and we have to be careful. I do not give any information about myself to strangers. In our school we often talk on such topics with teachers and psychologists. "

The next meeting of the famous director with Bulgarian audience will be on April 10, when he will present his latest film dedicated to Pope Francis. Speaking about the upcoming visits of the Pope to Sofia in May, Wim Wenders said that Bulgarians are to meet a remarkable man who is among the real world leaders of our time. It is no coincidence that he titled the film "Pope Francis: A Man of His Word," because, according to Wenders, the Pope is a man who practices what he preaches.

English: Alexander Markov

Photos: BGNES and Gergana Mancheva

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