Supporting young people to be active digital citizens in a safe online environment is the stated objective of European youth digital policy, reflecting an important focus for the European Union since the mid-1990s. Several initiatives are funded or partly funded by the European Commission, such as the Insafe Network (Safer Internet Day); Creative Europe also has a big potential to create awareness. UNESCO and European Media and Information Literacy Forum are examples of international organisations active in creating awareness in this regard and more and more regulators are becoming active in the space of Media Literacy.
The overview and multi-stakeholder consultations undertaken by the Council of Europe’s DCE Expert Group seem to indicate that digital citizenship is only now beginning to move on to the agenda of many European governments.
The importance of media literacy is critically identified as a way of creating awareness and, thus, the relevance of users’ empowerment in terms of allowing people to develop critical evaluation skills towards the media is steadily growing. Most international institutions have expressed themselves in favour of this trend and more and more countries are setting up programmes or developing codes of conduct in order to promote good practices in this regard.
Implication for Policy or Practice
Similar win-win reasoning should also stimulate the commercial sector to develop many cross-sector initiatives, self-regulatory arrangements in addition to educational structures initiatives aimed to promote fundamental rights and democratic values, and giving the tools to design new learning environments.
Last, an emerging consensus in the approaches adopted by transnational and intergovernmental actors, such as UNESCO, Council of Europe, European Commission, etc. towards conceptualising digital citizenship education should be fostered and extended to other public and private stakeholders.