24 Mar, 2020

Digital Families Map: How to harness the full potential of technology

The growing digitalisation of our societies and the rapid advances in digital technologies affects every family and lacking the skills or the means (including financial means) to positively engage with and access digital technologies can lead to social exclusion, discrimination from access to certain services, and being exposed to various risks (privacy, security, etc).

The onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic has plunged all of us, families, children, workers, consumers, into the digital age with imposed and recommended lockdowns meaning that digital tools are slowly but surely becoming the norm for schooling, working, socialising, gaming, staying connected with family members. This makes digital citizenship and critical thinking ever more urgent.

Our Digital Families “Map” provides a European snapshot of innovative practices from civil society organisations which represent and/or support families in Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Spain, and Finland. These innovative practices cover many topics such as boosting digital skills, protecting children online, fostering digital inclusion of the most vulnerable (poor families, women, people with disability…), gaming advice, providing digital services to families via online platforms, dealing with certain risks such as cyberbullying, using ICT to boost independent living, and much more.

With this publication COFACE wants to inform and to stimulate commitments in the field of digitalisation, we want to inspire and encourage our civil society organisations and a broad network of partners and citizens to engage further in improving and shaping the digital world. This Digital Families Map draws out the great work of COFACE members in tackling the different facets of digitalisation as expressed in the 13 digitalisation principles of COFACE Families Europe.

The practices also show the fundamental interplay and interconnectedness between the “offline” and “online” worlds, which cannot be artificially separated. Although the practices focus on initiatives linked specifically to the “digital”, empowerment of people can permeate from digital to analog and vice versa. COFACE-Families Europe, has been involved for more than 60 years in building a strong social, family friendly Europe, and at a time of significant digital transformations, we will continue mainstreaming new digital realities to ensure policies (economic, family, education, health, employment, and more) are fit for 21st century challenges.

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