Making digital and media literacy inclusive: the Media Literacy Manifest

  • Awareness
  • 20/12/2019
  • Dutch Safer Internet Centre

Organisations and professionals all over the Netherlands are standing up for better guidance in media literacy for people with a mental disability. 

Research shows that young people with a mental handicap are more often victims of online abuse – such as (shame) sexting, grooming and cyberbullying – and that not all care institutions have proper policy in place to deal with such problems. But a life without internet is not an option in the 21st century. Digital media offer countless opportunities. Apps, videos and social media bring these young people fun, creativity, contact ánd more control over their lives.

That is why the Dutch Media Literacy Network, part of the Dutch Safer Internet Centre (SIC), encourages care organisations to make media literacy a priority. As part of an action programme, a manifest was published that organisations, professionals and other people or parties involved can sign to show that they care about media literacy for this group of society and want to contribute to this aim.

A year after the start of the action programme and the manifest, more than 800 people have signed. During the national Media Literacy Week, the signed manifest was handed to Rick Brink, the "Minister of Handicap Affairs". In the same campaign week, the Special Media Awards took place to celebrate the best media makers with a mental disability. Also this year, a handy starting guide was published, containing interviews with professionals to offer a kick-start to those wanting to do more with media literacy in their own (care) organisation. And last but not least, this year the annual incentive arrangement designed as a "Challenge" that the Dutch Media Literacy Network offers, was all about finding innovative ways to help vulnerable people and their caretakers/guides in becoming media literate.

All in all, a good start has been made to support young people with a mental disability in the online world, but we are far from finished. Together, we can ensure that this group can participate in our media society in a concious, critical, active and safe way. We will continue to work towards this aim. Do you have any questions, tips or experiences that you would like to share? Please email the Dutch SIC at

Find out more information about the work of the Dutch Safer Internet Centre (SIC) generally, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services on the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) portal, or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.

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