Social Warning is a project that brings the topic of digital awareness to schools through a network of young volunteer trainers, all professionals who work with digital technologies on a daily basis. The aim is not to alarm or reassure, but to inform.

The project was born in 2018 with the aim of bringing the topic of digital awareness to Italian schools. The identified need was to inform young people about the risks and opportunities of the internet, illustrating best practices and cases of young people like them who use the internet and social media to work, live, and conduct community projects. To achieve this, the Digital Ethics Movement has created a network of around 300 volunteer trainers throughout Italy, mostly young digital professionals who can set an example for young people.

Get to know the project

At the core of every Social Warning intervention is the dissemination of information on the benefits of new communication technologies, if used with knowledge, awareness, and serenity. The goal is not to alarm or reassure parents, adults, and young people, but to inform them objectively. The movement aims to: 

  • Inform about the risks and limits of new technologies
  • Illustrate with concrete examples how these technologies influence our daily lives
  • Facilitate the search for a constant balance between online and offline activities

Sharing stimuli and information is aimed at developing critical awareness of how digital technologies are changing our world, emotions, and social behaviour

The project specifically consists of two-hour training interventions that explore various topics such as the functioning of major social networks, personal branding, reputation, phenomena such as hikikomori, digital professions (such as social media managers that many high school students still don’t know about), and other topics that each trainer deepens based on their skills. The interventions are more of a conversation than a lecture, and it is from the conversations and requests of the young people that the most interesting ideas emerge. 

Why is this a good practice?

The association has also created a scientific observatory that collects anonymous data from young people regarding their use of the internet and social media, and publishes an annual report on the subject. It is increasingly common for training to be requested for an adult audience, especially teachers and parents, as the need for greater awareness of the dynamics of the web and social networks becomes more evident. Social Warning aims to address this need to build a better society online and offline. 

The Digital Ethics Movement is now seeking to expand what has already been done in Italy to the European territory. First and foremost, the educational template and format are being refined so that more trainers can join and spread the project, and initiatives are being developed for young Europeans. The first is a hackathon that took place in Rome, involving 70 university students from all over Europe, future decision-makers who came together to find solutions for a better digital future.The other major initiative is the European Digital Citizenship Day, which aims to promote digital education throughout Europe. The first edition has been held in Rome on October 2021