The eNACSO board members Naureen Kahn, Agnieszka Wrzesien and John Carr went to Belgrade to participate in the Pan-European dialogue on internet governance.
During the EuroDIG Agnieszka Wrzesień spoke in the session "Digital literacy and skills towards economic and social development." The workshop looked at the projects that are helping to get people online and also discussed the importance of digital literacy to ensure that users fully benefit from the opportunities offered by new technologies.
Agnieszka Wrzesień looked at the many challenges related to accessing Internet by children and young people from mobile devices, and talked about the importance of digital literacy programmes to cover these issues at an early age. One of the findings from the EU Kids Online II survey shows that in Europe 31% children 9-16 yrs old use the Internet via mobile phone or handheld device. Agnieszka made the point that this is revealing a trend towards more privatised Internet use, which would mean that adults will have less and less supervision over what children do online. She stressed that digital literacy initiatives therefore had to put more focus on empowering children from early ages to deal with many problematic issues on their own.
John Carr spoke in the opening plenary entitled "Setting the scene: what impact does Internet governance have on our lives? - Internet governance from a European perspective." He made the point that, especially in the light of President Sarkozy's comments at the e-G8 and in the subsequent communiqué of the G8 itself, if EURO Dig wished to remain relevant it needed to start taking up in a more direct and central way the issue of online child protection. It was clearly an important issue for almost every country in the developed world.
In the afternoon John also spoke in the workshop on "Ethics and corporate responsibility" where he suggested it was a grave error to think of large companies as being social service agencies. Although many firms did a great deal of good work in the wider community which often has little obvious impact on the bottom line, they were essentially driven by the legal duty they owed to their shareholders and investors to ensure profit maximization. Some companies took a longer term perspective, others a shorter one.
However, in an economic downturn such as we are experiencing now, almost all companies needed to reduce expenses or to generate more cash. In such circumstances it was very often the "softer" more social projects that were the first to be put on hold. It was noted, for example, that recently several large companies had laid off their child protection staff and others who worked on corporate social responsibility issues.
EuroDIG is a network which is open to all European stakeholders that are interested in contributing to an open and interactive discussion on IG issues.