It is our own problem to sort through the content we see on TikTok. After all, you are responsible for your own algorithm
The quote above is from an 8th grade student who participated in a seminar on algorithms on Safer Internet Day 2023 organised by the Media Council for Children and Young People with the Centre for Digital Youth Care.
The quote illustrates very well that young people, unfortunately, often feel responsible when they are faced with content that they are not always comfortable with. At the same time, young people also express that they do not want all the content to be "clean and neat". The driving force of many, especially the boys, is in fact to watch content that goes right to the limit of what they are comfortable with. Several of the young people at the seminar acknowledge that they may well know that they are "being tested" with the content they watch, but also that they are often offered videos that cross a line and are unpleasant. It is a difficult balance, they say.
The Media Council for Children and Young People and Centre for Digital Youth Care stress that this responsibility should not be placed solely on the children.
It is of course highly relevant that we give children the skills so that they can critically reflect on the significance of algorithms for the content they see themselves, but it is also highly relevant to make it clear that the platforms have a responsibility to protect the children.
The experiences and perspectives of children and young people must be highly valued in the work to create a better, safer and more secure digital world for children and young people, says the chair of the Media Council, Miriam Michaelsen, in the video.
From youth seminars to teaching material
At the seminar, the Media Council for Children and Young People and Centre for Digital Youth Care delved into algorithms on social media together with a group of 8th grade students and their teachers from three local schools. The programme consisted of a presentation from expert in digital culture Maia Kahlke Lorentzen from ‘Cybernauterne’ on how algorithms are shaping the way we see the world. The presentation was followed by workshops with board games and debate activities.
The seminar on Safer Internet Day 2023 was the first of three seminars on how algorithms are increasingly shaping the way we see the world. In May and August 2023, similar events will be held in different municipalities.
The purpose of the three youth seminars is to learn more about how we can prepare young people for a world of algorithms. Furthermore, the Media Council and Centre for Digital Youth Care wish to receive knowledge from the young people on where the platforms can take on more responsibility and action.
Afterwards, the Media Council and Centre for Digital Youth Care will convey experiences and statements from the young participants about their perspective on the consequences of algorithms for everyday life, well-being and communities. Activities and products for the seminars' workshops will be published for free use in schools at the end of the year.
Find out more about Safer Internet Day in Denmark. Alternatively, find more information about the work of the Danish Safer Internet Centre, including their awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services – or find similar information for other Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.