Cambridge, MA — February 7, 2023 — Today the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Messaging Convention (STC) announced plans for a new epoch in the advance of the global STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign, refocusing and relaunching the global campaign to emphasize guidance for young people and school-aged youngsters navigating the technical and social risks that attend contemporary ICT usage.
In the decade-plus interval between the inauguration of the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign as the United States Government’s federal campaign for cybersecurity awareness in 2010, the STOP. THINK. CONECT. Messaging Convention has launched dozens of national STC campaigns, making it the largest such campaign in history – with a large proportion of them focusing on the young information and communication technology (ICT) user.
In that advance, the Messaging Convention has come to appreciate awareness as culture and how inculcation of user awareness as a process best initiated as young people are introduced to information technology, whether at home or school. That perspective, informed by STC national curators in Spain, Japan, and other nations has moved the Messaging Convention to propose the reorientation of the campaign’s cohort strategy – in this, its second deca – to focus on school kids and young adults as part of its foundational deployment architecture.
“It’s fitting that we make this announcement on Safer Internet Day. The motto of day Together for a Better Internet is the same principle that The STC Messaging Convention was founded upon: unity and collaboration,” said Aimee Larsen Kirkpatrick, President of the Messaging Convention. “With the continued global adoption of the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign and conversations we have with our national campaign curators we know that need for online safety and security awareness materials has only increased and that there is an ever greater need to address children and families. Information technology use begins at very young ages – at home and at school. Further, young people are expected to be proficient users of technology as they enter the workforce. Safe and secure use of technology should be a fundamental aspect of instruction just as we teach the safety and security aspects of other disciplines. Together, as a global community, is how we can best address online safety and security for all people.”
STOP. THINK. CONNECT. first launched during National Cyber Security Awareness Month more than a decade ago. Originally launched in the United States in 2010, STOP. THINK. CONNECT. was founded by the APWG and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) along with a consortium of industry and government partners to educate people about how to protect themselves against all manner of cybersecurity and digital safety concerns. Since the initial launch of the campaign, 26 nations have officially engaged the campaign deploying it through cabinet-level government ministries, national CERTs and national-scope NGOs. Bangladesh, France, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Romania, Panama, Poland, Spain, and Tonga are among those nations joining the campaign partnership.
“Online safety and security continues to grow as a global concern. The STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Campaign seeks to provide a clear message and framework to help people make good judgements about how to navigate the digital world more securely. Council of Anti-Phishing Japan looks forward to working with the STC community to bring STOP. THINK. CONNECT. into the next decade,” said the Council of Anti-Phishing Japan, curator of the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign in Japan.
“Education and awareness about online safety and digital wellbeing is a key point at very early ages to prevent online risk situations for minors. Through “PARA. PIENSA. CONÉCTATE.” we are developing two main action lines in Spanish schools, in close collaboration with educational centers: free training aimed at minors and adolescents, as well as their family and educational environment, to promote the safe and healthy use of the Internet through the Connect to digital well-being and Connect against gender violence programs, “ said Ángel Sola López, Head of International Programs at Fundación Cibervoluntarios in Spain. “The program objective is to sensitize the youngest generations to the healthy and empathetic use of the Internet, and to avoid situations that can cause mental illnesses such as addiction to technology. We need to expand the message with the language that young people use and leverage Social Media in a positive and engaging way.”
“The international need for basic online safety and security awareness materials is tremendous,” said Peter Cassidy, Secretary General of the APWG and CEO of the Messaging Convention. “Appetite for a globally unified awareness campaign remains strong as demonstrated by the recent MOU’s we have signed with Kazakhstan and Argentina. STOP. THINK. CONNECT. provides governments and organizations an existing campaign infrastructure — as well as an international community of expertise and support.”
Argentina, the most recent country to join the campaign, announced their partnership with STC in late 2022. The Argentine federal campaign, “PARA, PIENSA. CONÉCTATE.” aims to sensitize and raise awareness of the responsible use of technologies throughout the country. To date, 6 provinces and 2 organizations have officially joined and activities have been carried out in 3 provinces.
“Ninety percent of this task is about communication. It is very important that people know that they are being scammed, how they do it, how they can act so that this does not happen to them, that they have the tools to be warned. We have to go out to investigate, to prevent,“ said Pedro Janices, Director of Cybercrime Investigations of the Minesterio de Seguridad de la República Argentina. “We’ve decided to join the initiative to create greater awareness, throughout the country. On the communication level, being able to go to schools, universities, give talks, because this is a shared responsibility.”
The STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign’s foundation is a series of actionable instructions that people can apply to their daily digital interaction. STC seeks to empower individuals to take control of their digital presence and learn how to navigate cyberspace using a framework of judgement based on the types of interactions and places one might be. Plans for the updating the campaign include a new government and industry outreach and partnership program, research and development, updated messaging framework, and updated campaign materials.
Chief among the Messaging Convention’s campaign program updates include:
· Development of a standardized metrics and data collection framework to: help curators establish a baseline for their respective polities, provide insight to allow for more effective campaign strategy and targeted messaging, and provide a way to measure campaign effectiveness;
· A comprehensive revision of the campaign with an augmented advisory suite which addresses the evolution of technology, and includes technical and contemporary social threats left unconsidered in the original campaign;
· An updated logo/slogan pair; and a 12- month (renewable) schedule of activities/program milestones/blog postings for national curators; and, finally,
· A globalized relaunch with the expressed objective of pole-to-pole deployment and coverage of the campaign within five years.
“At the heart of this campaign update is the development of a universal metrics program by which campaign efficacy and cybersecurity awareness can be measured. To be effective we must understand what our audience knows, what the gaps are, and how effective our efforts are at reaching people, and if we are successful at moving them to action,” said Larsen Kirkpatrick.
Aimee Larsen Kirkpatrick
STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Messaging Convention
About STOP. THINK. CONNECT.
The STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Messaging Convention, an independent non-profit organization manages the development and maintenance of the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. cybersecurity awareness campaign assets; and the deployment of the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign within every nation on earth that experiences cybercrime and cyberabuses. The Messaging Convention is a Georgia, USA corporation operating under 501(c)3 of the US Internal Revenue code. STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ is a global online safety awareness campaign to help all digital citizens stay safer and more secure online. The message was created by an unprecedented coalition of private companies, non-profits and government organizations in 2009-2010 after APWG proposed the establishment of a ‘messaging convention’ for cybersecurity to its members in winter of 2008-2009.
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