STOP. THINK. CONNECT. International Online Safety Awareness Campaign Enters New Era



Global Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign to be Updated With Focus on Young Adults and Student ICT Users

STOP. THINK. CONNECT. provides governments and organizations an existing campaign infrastructure -- as well as an international community of expertise and support.”
— Peter Cassidy, CEO, STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Messaging Convention
CAMBRIDGE, MA, UNITED STATES, February 7, 2023 / -- Today the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Messaging Convention (STC) announced plans for updating the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign, with emphasis on guidance for young people and children that addresses technical and social online security risks.

In the decade-plus since the inauguration of STOP. THINK. CONNECT. as the U.S. government’s cybersecurity awareness campaign in 2010, STC has launched dozens of national campaigns, making it the largest such campaign in history – largely focused on youth and families.

STC 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 decade – to focus on school kids and young adults as part of its foundational deployment architecture.

“It’s fitting that that today is Safer Internet Day. SID’s motto 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, STC. “With the continued global adoption of the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign and conversations we have with our national 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. Together, as a global community, is how to best address online safety and security for all.”

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 in 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.

"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 STC. “Appetite for a globally unified awareness campaign remains strong as demonstrated by MOU’s we have just recently 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. “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 Messaging Convention’s program updates include:
• An updated government and industry outreach and partnership program;
• Development of a standardized metrics and data collection framework to: help curators establish a baseline for their polities, provide insight for more effective campaign strategy and messaging, and to measure campaign effectiveness;
• A comprehensive campaign revision with new messaging to address the evolution of technology including technical and social threats;
• An updated logo/slogan with a 12- month (renewable) program milestones and content for national curators;
• A global relaunch with pole-to-pole deployment within five years.

“At the heart of this campaign update is the development of a universal metrics program to measure campaign efficacy and cybersecurity awareness. We must understand what our audience knows, identify the gaps, and be able to measure how effective our efforts are if we are going to be successful,” said Larsen Kirkpatrick.

Learn more about the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign at

The STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Messaging Convention, a 501(c)3, manages the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. cybersecurity awareness campaign. STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ is a global online safety awareness campaign to help all digital citizens stay safer and more secure online created by a coalition of private companies, non-profits, and government in 2010.

Aimee Larsen Kirkpatrick
STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Messaging Convention
+1 808-282-9850
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