Apart from its ecological aspects, digital sustainability means working on fair business models, social inclusion and transparent and accountable governance of and on the internet. The topics which are reflected on in the different working groups of the #Youth4DigitalSustainability programme are:
- Greening the internet
- Fair digital businesses
- Social inclusion in the digital age
- Sustainable internet governance
Our Better Internet for Kids (BIK) Youth Ambassadors João and Kathrin are part of the working group on social inclusion in the digital age. This group focuses on how we can exchange perspectives and how digital policy processes can better integrate social sustainability. The internet, with its global reach, networks billions of people, while also mirroring and sometimes amplifying systems of inequality, discrimination and violence. Online harms need to be addressed, and good practices should be known and applied to foster social sustainability on the internet.
João and Kathrin presented BIK as a best practice example in the kick-off webinar of their working group. They highlighted the fact that BIK touches upon important pillars like education, digital inclusion and online safety. Points were raised that the structure and organisation of the BIK project help maintain a unified strategy and agenda across Europe which is put in place by local teams that can contextualise campaigns and resources. A further positive aspect of the BIK project described was the inclusion first-hand in the whole process of the target group, meaning young people have their say throughout the different decisions and hierarchical structures.
Therefore, the #Youth4DigitalSustainability working group recommendations to the IGF will point towards similar overall approaches that can be put in place for other target groups and themes, for instance towards the digitalisation of the older population. Watch their full testimonial in the webinar below.
For further information about the Better Internet for Kids youth line of work, visit the BIK Youth minisite. For further information about the Internet Governance Forum 2020, browse our dedicated page on the BIK portal.
About the authors
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 national 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 Insafe events such as the summer school in Romania, the Safer Internet Forum, Safer Internet Day 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 programs and meet such great people!
João Pedro (Portugal)
João is a young Computer Engineering student at the University of Coimbra. He has been a Youth Ambassador for about seven years.
Born in Portugal, he was one of the first members from outside Lisbon to join the youth panel of his national Safer Internet Centre (SIC). After attending a Safer Internet Forum (SIF) in Luxembourg in 2011 representing his country, he was invited to be a Youth Ambassador. Since then he has attended some seminars – including one in Paris at Vivendi headquarters, and another one in Cachan. He also attended the European Parliament for the launch of the WebWeWant handbook, and participated in two more editions of Safer Internet Forum, one of which took place in Brussels. Throughout the years, he has had the opportunity to both raise awareness among his peers and learn about online safety issues. All these events have also been extraordinary occasions to meet many interesting people from all around the world.
Young people's opinions are very important for Joao and he believes that they should be taken into account by both politicians and industry. That is why he is involved in several projects, most of them connected to youth participation in debates and decision making processes. More recently, he has worked alongside his national SIC to organise lectures in local schools and regional events, and has been involved in internet governance events, both at national (Incode2030 and Portuguese IGF – 2016/17) and international (Global IGF – Mexico 2016) levels.