"Despite Storm Ciara, I made it to Brussels late on the day before SID. On SID, we were able to present and discuss our #Pledge2Youth in front of the EC and many representatives from business and social media companies, as well as civil society organisations. ‘We' are six young people aged 15-25, from all over Europe; we're involved in the BIK programme and in the work of our national Safer Internet Centres (SICs). For example, in the klicksafe Youth Panel in Germany (which I have been involved in for many years), the interactions and being able to make connections and have discussions with different people who are responsible for shaping the digital environment has always been the most interesting thing for me.
"But what does the so-called #Pledge2Youth actually say, and what is it supposed to be? We see it as the start of a campaign that will help bring the demands of young people to those responsible, and to work on real and feasible solutions together with them in the lead up to the next edition of the Safer Internet Forum (SIF) in the autumn of 2020.
"We think the two most important problems are that terms and conditions are not only not being read but, above all, they are also not being understood, and that privacy settings are often difficult to manage. According to the statements and promises of the Alliance to better protect minors online, there are already some ideas on how to tackle these problems. We are happy and curious to see how these solutions match ours, and are pleased that we have been invited as cooperation partners for further discussions, phone calls and tests."
Kathrin initially wrote this article for the website of the German Safer Internet Centre. To see the German version of the article, visit klicksafe.de.
About the author:
I started working in the field of safer internet seven years ago when I was still in school. I was a youth panellist for the German Awareness Centre, klicksafe. For the past three years, I have been studying law and have developed an interest in digital law and politics. I have already taken part in a number of Better Internet for Kids (BIK) events, such as the summer school in Romania, Safer Internet Forum (SIF), Safer Internet Day (SID) celebrations in Brussels, EuroDIG and IGF-D.
I was also involved in the launch of the Youth Manifesto initiative, which was an amazing opportunity for young people to have their say on priorities for creating a better internet for the future. I think it is essential to show everyone – and I really mean everyone: young children, youth, parents and grandparents – that the internet is not a place where only bad things happen, as we often hear on the news. I believe the internet gives great opportunities, but we all need to learn how to use it in the right way.
The idea of peer education and the fact that youth from every country in the EU meet up to discuss themes around online safety is one of the greatest things I can imagine. I'm really lucky that I can take part in such great programmes and meet such great people!