Youth participation has become a buzz-word in online child protection as in many other societal sectors. The voice of young people has certainly been amplified through social media to gain greater visibility in the public arena, but what role does it really play in shaping and impacting governance models in the real and virtual world?
The main purpose of this workshop is to give young people the opportunity to participate - on an equal status - in on-going IGF debates on public policy issues relating to the internet. Under the framework of the European Commission’s Safer Internet Programme, the Insafe/INHOPE network of Safer Internet Centres has built up - since 2004 - extensive experience in collaborating with young people to deliver a safer and better internet. The annual Safer Internet Day, which is now celebrated in more than 100 countries across six of the world’s seven continents, has been particularly successful in providing a global focal point for awareness raising on online risks and opportunities. In line with the Insafe/INHOPE network’s continuous engagement with youth across (and beyond) Europe to gain their views on current and emerging online issues, we propose a highly interactive workshop session in which adult and youth representatives will jointly examine how best to promote valuable interaction with (and amongst) youth on issues related to internet governance and the most effective means of turning words into action.
In the first part of this session, four young panellists from across the world - representing truly diverse youth perspectives from Europe, Africa, and Asia - will elaborate on their ideal internet governance model and essential steps to achieve the full potential of the internet as a universal tool for communication and learning. Based on findings emerging from an online youth-led research programme and preliminary peer-group discussions, they will argue how - in their view - young people’s opportunities online are often hampered. Also, they will urge specific stakeholder groups to take up responsibility and to come up with possible solutions. These presentations will be complemented by the views of two groups of youth representatives from North and South America who will connect remotely to the workshop and act as respondents.
In the second part, discussion will continue in small parallel groups, part of which will happen in an online meeting environment with remote participants. At this point, adult representatives – from industry, government, education, and civil society – will have the opportunity to defend their case and, if reasonable, put the ball (partly) back in the young people’s camp. Once all group members have agreed upon a shared understanding of what is at stake, they will explore and define responsibilities for all actors involved. Concrete strategies (with specific engagements to resolve the challenges) will be put forward.
The session will come to a close with electronic voting - involving both offline and online attendants - of the various scenarios proposed. Together, participants will stipulate the three steps which stakeholders will jointly take to make substantial progress in the coming year.