"As one of three young people, I was meant to participate in a panel called ‘Internet Governance - Next Generation' and confront three veterans of internet governance: Martin Botterman (Chairman of ICANN), Roberto Gaetano and Wolfgang Kleinwächter.
"During the panel discussion, a large part of the exchanges focused on the issue of youth participation. Some participants argued that this is important, but young people dream too much to actually have a say. Roberto Gaetano, on the other hand, came to the conclusion that, if young people do not feel like they are taken seriously, it points to a problem with the older generation. Not only did he recognise that the youth, the future, should have a say, but also that dreaming is important to be able to change anything at all in the area of internet governance.
"The topic of internet security was not neglected either. The discussion started with the question ‘Why do young people prefer to have a Facebook account instead of their own website?'. After having to explain to the older generation that Facebook was already rather ‘old-fashioned', we came to the conclusion that social media as such is simply more attractive for young people. You want to be a part of something and share your life with others or simply present yourself. With your own website, it would look like this: ‘Hey, check out my website. I uploaded a new photo there.' - I mean, who would want to tell their friends? The old generation agreed with that relatively quickly.
"The event itself was a completely new experience. I went to Innsbruck with the idea of listening to many technical presentations. Yes, I also have my prejudices! But something completely different awaited: the audience was mainly made up of people from the IT sector, who basically only looked into their laptops, but the program was all the livelier.
"From lectures about robot ethics, smartphone fortune tellers, the most popular domain names in Austria (which by the way contain the word pizza), to the lecture of the most important Austrian mountaineer, who climbed all mountains above 8000 meters without additional oxygen, everything was there. The lecturers were super selected and took me and everyone else on a rollercoaster of emotions. This was an event of the upper class, which will not be forgotten so quickly!"
About the author
Since 2015 I have been involved in online safety issues. I started attending the Safer Internet Forum back then as a youth representative for Austria and participated in disucussion at our local Safer Internet Centre. Since then, I got even more involved and became one of the many Youth Ambassadors. I was able to develope a game about cyberbullying with which I took second place at the Safer Internet Awards. Since 2018 I have been studying law at the University of Vienna and I work at the Safer Internet Centre Austria with a focus on youth participation.