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The Federation of Associations of media users (iCmedia) held a conference on digital citizenship, a concept that supports an informed citizen, demanding protection of his rights as media user.

The event was opened by the Ambassador of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Jean Graff, in representation of the Presidency of the European Council. EU aims to revitalize the digital single market, with the underway elimination of legal barriers, thus facilitating the access of citizens to digital public services.

The international vision of the Digital Citizenship was presented by Natalie Labourdette, Director of the Academy of Eurovision and Peter Andematt, Director of Creative Media Europe in Spain. N. Labourdette assured it is key for the public televisions to renew the sense of public service to society, in order to promote a genuine digital citizenship. She also presented international experiences of European public televisions which facilitate interaction with the audience and citizen participation. According to P. Andematt, Europeans have high quality audiovisual content that must be optimized leveraging its spreading. Showing movies in the classroom is a step forward in media literacy. There are great initiatives to enable media production initiatives such as crowdfunding.


The digital classroom

Regarding the regulation and policies from the Spanish Administration to promote digital citizenship, Félix Serrano, (Director of INTEF) pointed out the measures that The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports is putting in place from inside and outside the classroom, for the formation of educators, teachers and students. He defined the modern concept of empowerment as training in the use of digital technologies, thereby increasing the requirements for the protection of the rights in relation with the new digital era.

Representing Red.es (public company for the development of the Information Society), Alfonso Morales was critical with the misuse of digital technologies, to avoid falling into what he called “infoxicated society”, in which important information is confused with the accessory one. In this regard, he announced a media campaign in the coming months, for the sensibilization of internet use for minors, in collaboration with different Ministries, the Academy of Television and associations such as iCmedia.


Digital and today´s society

JM Pérez Tornero UAB Professor, Chair Unesco and consultant of the European Commission stressed the need of a global, democratic and digital citizenship with criteria to choose in freedom. Training on digital skills must connect and integrate citizens in the current interconnected society. The European Union must move quickly forward in this direction. Pérez-Tornero warned about the vulnerability of the digital world and the danger of losing the individual rights when digital citizenship is reduced to a mere consumption of contents.


Multinationals, for safety


Finally, representatives from several technological multinational presented their work in favour of the protection of the users, both maintaining their right to privacy, accuracy, etc., and protecting minors from harmful contents.

Natalia Basterrechea from Facebook assured “We are all digital citizens. In this new technological environment, social networks have a key role in facilitating the process of citizen empowerment “. “Young people are the main users of social networks and increasingly they use them to communicate with their environment and to express their opinions. Therefore, the digital empowerment of these young people is essential to ensure that their participation in the network is safe, healthy, responsible, and effective. Facebook offers advanced tools for all those who use the platform, to control their privacy and their security. We also work in projects with institutions, companies and industry experts, whose main focus is education and protection. ”

Antonio Vargas, from Google, spoke about My Account, the Google page from which the user can manage all his privacy and data security in Google platforms. He also commented on the importance of the Family Safety Center, a page created by the company in collaboration with multiple institutions, showing the tools that exist to protect the security and safety of the minors. Moreover, in collaboration with the Realmadrid, FAD Foundation and the BT Foundation, Google is committed to the empowerment of citizenship. Finally he spoke about Geniuses project, a project where programming is taught to more than 5000 children enabling them to become not only technology consumers but technology creators.

Hector Sanchez Montenegro explained how Microsoft encourages active collaboration with a youth-centered society through its products and its international partnerships with NGOs and international organizations. Innovation in the case of HoloLens emphasizes the need to work together to optimize the good use of technology. Microsoft is actively working for the online safety of children on contents, contacts, behaviours and illegal trade. Sanchez Montenegro stressed the great work of collaboration with the National Police and Civil Guard to promote cibersecurity in Spain.

Maria Jose Cantarino from Telefónica assured “Parents should act with good criteria when we lead the digital education of the children. We ask them to be responsible with the use technology and most often, we do not preach with our example. At Telefónica we work to support families in this new challenge, with the “Digital Family “platform (www.familiadigital.net) as well as with the parental control tools such as Movistar Protect, which facilitates the management of the digital lives of children “.

Dimitri Barua from the European Commission, closed the session reaffirming the interest of the Commission to advance in the digital citizenship as well as protecting the most vulnerable.

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