Digital Single Market
Digital Economy & Society

Action 61: Educate consumers on the new media

The action aimed at developing in 2011 an online consumer education tool on new media technologies (e.g. consumer rights on the internet, eCommerce, data protection, media literacy, social networks, etc). This tool will provide customised information and education materials for consumers, teachers and other multipliers in the 27 Member States.

A community website for consumer education, aimed at teachers of 12-18 year-olds, was launched in March 2013; steady developments of the project have been achieved in 2014 (see the 2014 consumer classrom achievements infographic). The updated version of the Code of EU online Rights (Action 16), which was published in December 2012, takes into account the latest legislatives developments.

What is the problem? Consumers do not feel as comfortable and well informed shopping online as they do offline for lack of information.

Consumers should be able to access user-friendly information about how to fully benefit from digital technologies. Online education is crucial to improving consumers' experience online. They have difficulties finding information about buying and exercising their rights in the digital environment.

Why is EU action necessary? Awareness and information on new media will increase consumers' trust.

Awareness and critical autonomy towards new media EU-wide will increase the consumers' skills, attitudes and knowledge required for living in an information society and can generate spill-over effects that boost growth, jobs and innovation in the digital single market

The European Commission will develop online education modules on new media technologies, by using online tools similar to the consumer classroom website. The aim is to present user-friendly information to consumers on the use of digital technologies, available in their own languages.

Giving consumers clear information about their rights will increase trust and help unlock the full economic potential of Europe's single online market. One of the goals is also to provide training plans for teachers who could spread the word about internet rights in their schools.

What has the Commission done so far?

In 2012:

  • The Commission worked on a review of the Code of EU online Rights. An updated version, taking the latest legislatives developments into account, was published in December 2012 (DAE action 16).
  • The Commission began developing a community educational website called "Consumer Classroom", aimed at teachers of 12-18 years-old, which will provide them with free access to educational materials related to consumer issues.

In 2013-2014:

Progress Report
Status: Completed Patricia Manson Patricia Manson