Creating the digital citizen of the future? Knowledge and confidence is key

Creating the digital citizen of the future? Knowledge and confidence is key

The Government’s Digital Britain report rightly devotes a chapter to how you can “equip everyone to benefit” from the digital future.

Whilst much of the commentary around the report has focused on infrastructure, broadband speeds and protection of copyright online, the important issue of how to drive take-up has been somewhat overlooked.

Such an oversight would be dangerous.

Without widespread take-up of broadband and the services which run over it, growth scenarios for the sector and the economy more widely will suffer.

Without tackling the various and often complicated reasons for people choosing not to get “online”, there is also the risk that a significant section of the population miss out on the opportunities that the digital future offers them.

Not a outcome that anyone would seek.

The Digital Britain report recognises that one of the reasons that people choose not to engage with digital technology is a lack of confidence.

The BSG agrees with this and believes that it is vital to resolve any consumer concerns and misgivings about how digital services work and their implications.

It may seem a self-evident point to make, but the provision of clear information about the nature of services can certainly go a long way to achieve this outcome.

This is the approach taken by the Good Practice Principles on Audiovisual Content Information, which were facilitated by the BSG. The Principles commit leading content players to give clear and easy to use information about commercial content that may be unsuitable to children and young people or cause more general offence, so that individuals can make informed choices about the content they want to access – whether online, on a mobile phone or through an on-demand TV service.

This week, leading social network providers across Europe committed to a set of principles to enhance the safety of children and young people using their services. These are to:

• Raise awareness of safety education messages and acceptable use policies
• Work towards ensuring that services are age-appropriate for the intended audience
• Empower users through tools and technology
• Provide easy-to-use mechanisms to report conduct or content that violates Terms of Service
• Respond to notifications of illegal content or conduct
• Enable and encourage users to employ a safe approach to personal information and privacy
• Assess the means for reviewing illegal or prohibited content/conduct

These principles embody existing practice of social network providers and further demonstrate the role that industry can play in giving the consumers the tools and confidence they need to engage with digital services in a safe and confident way.

As the final findings of Stephen Carter’s Digital Britain report are crafted, we hope it will conclude that in order to empower the digital citizen of the future, knowledge and confidence is key.

Pamela Learmonth, Policy Manager, BSG

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