European authorities are calling on member states to make sure that citizens are helped with media literacy
The European Commission has warned that citizens that cannot use digital media could risk being left out of society and is pushing the importance of tech training to help combat the problem.
In a statement released this week, EC Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding said that people who are not been able to interact online will not be able to take part in the world around them. “We must make sure everyone is media literate so nobody is left out. Citizens are being talked to all the time, but can they talk back? If they can use the media in a competent and creative way we would take a step towards a new generation of democratic participation,” she said.
The commission announced that it has adopted policy guidelines which call on EU countries to promote new media literacy and help citizens “evaluate” online content such as advertisements and TV and film. One example is the UK’s kidSMART website which teaches children and young people how to use social networking sites safely
“The more skilled they are in using these technologies, and the more savvy they are about how online advertising works, the better they can protect their privacy,” the EC said in a statement. “People who are more media literate will also be more curious about and explore their cultural heritage and recent European cultural works.”
Earlier this month, the EC said that the development of Europe’s digital economy is vital to the economic recovery of the area according to the European commission but more could be done to support technology growth and young people who have grown up using IT.
In a report, Digital Competitiveness, the EC said that Europe’s digital economy has grown strongly since 2005 and 56 percent of citizens in member states now use the Internet regularly. The EC also points to a pool of “digital savvy” young people who will help develop the tech community in the future.
“Europe’s digital economy has tremendous potential to generate huge revenues across all sectors, but to turn this advantage into sustainable growth and new jobs, governments must show leadership by adopting coordinated policies that dismantle existing barriers to new services,” said Reding.
In June, the UK government published the long awaited Digital Britain report which outlines the UK’s plans to support and develop digital content and infrastructure including issues such as rural broadband roll-out, file-sharing and digital radio.