Feb 11

Happy Safer Internet Day: a look into our past campaigns

Happy Safer Internet Day! Today is a day to reflect on the dangers of the Internet, and to take think about the ways in which public institutions, market players and consumer organisations can make the Internet a safer place. In celebration of this event, we would like to share with you our past experiences concerning the protection of consumers online.

The dangers of the Internet are well known and largely fall into two categories: cybersecurity and cyberbullying. The former is caused by the gap between the public’s understanding of the Internet relative to the actual threats that permeate the Web. The latter is a natural consequence of the establishment of the digital age: many individuals are uneducated on the appropriate etiquette that is required online.

In the past few years, Euroconsumers’ member organisations (Test Achats/Test Aankoop, Deco Proteste, OCU and Altroconsumo) have all individually launched a dedicated campaign tackling the issue of Internet safety, particularly in the context of children, who are exposed to the most risk. 

In Belgium and Portugal, our member organisations offered mini-games and tests designed for children to learn more about the dangers of the Internet. Similarly, in Italy, Altroconsumo developed a free certified online course for adults, with the ultimate aim of preparing them to educate children about safety. In addition to offering content for children, OCU in Spain also made available online tools for the elderly, often the forgotten victims of digital abuse. Together, the four organisations achieved a reach of 54 million interactions. 

Collaboration was at a hallmark of all of these campaigns. Euroconsumers’ member organisations made a point to work with all types of stakeholders: public institutions (Spanish Data Protection Agency and the National Institute of Cybersecurity); NGOs (Telefono Azzuro) or market players (Google). Yet the collaborative aspect of these campaigns was not incidental. Rather, they are part of  a renewed strategy that focuses on cooperation. 

Through cooperation, consumer organisations can move beyond their traditional roles of watchdogs, to become something greater. Our campaigns have the potential to fundamentally change consumer behaviour, and prepare it for the digital age. At Euroconsumers, we are convinced that our national campaigns will serve as a blueprint for future action: multi-stakeholder collaboration to empower individuals to truly become digital consumers.