Looking back on the achievements of the Youth Pledge for a Better Internet at Safer Internet Forum

On Tuesday, 24 November 2020, the first side event of Safer Internet Forum (SIF) took place online, with a focus on Better Internet for Kids (BIK) Youth. During this session, two lines of youth participation work within the remit of BIK were discussed, including the Youth Pledge for a Better Internet, a youth-led initiative in partnership with industry on age-appropriate design launched on Safer Internet Day (SID) 2020.

2020-12-16 BIK Team youth children and young people, media specialist, organisations and industry, research, policy and decision makers
Youth Pledge for a Better Internet logo

The panel discussion on the Youth Pledge for a Better Internet was moderated by Lilian Leisser, BIK Youth Ambassador from Austria, and Kathrin Morasch, BIK Youth Ambassador from Germany.

Samsung – Students’ workshops on online safety awareness in Poland

Francesca Falco, CSR Regional Manager at Samsung Electronics, introduced Samsung’s approach to its responsibility in safeguarding user safety and wellbeing. The company’s products are widely used to access the internet, social media, platforms, and apps that collect, manipulate and share data and could expose minors to potentially harmful content and contact. To prevent that, Samsung strives to foster awareness and understanding of digital wellbeing and to provide easier access to tailored online safety information and tools. 

As part of Youth Pledge for a Better Internet, Samsung organised a series of ad-hoc workshops with 36 students from seventh and eighth grade, in Poland as a pilot country. The students were divided in eight groups, and they worked in two phases. The first phase consisted of experts introducing the topic and process to the young people and doing a first brainstorm in order to detect the problems and the needs of young users. After these first workshops, participants identified three main problems: online contact with strangers, online hate, and controlling the time they spend online.

The second phase of workshops, which were organised online, aimed to define the most relevant problems, and find the best solutions. This time, the students were split in two groups, focusing on the issues of online hate, and controlling their time spent online. They proposed to develop educational and communication tools to help their peers and their parents deal with these online issues. As such, they listed some “tips and tricks” which will be featured in an infographic, to be disseminated as part of an upcoming awareness campaign in Poland.

Samsung aims to replicate this model in other countries. The next geographic area will be the Baltic states, and preparations are already ongoing for the organisation of workshops in Lithuania.

Super RTL – Involving children in UX testing of terms and conditions

Lidia de Reese, Senior Manager Media Literacy Education and Social Media, FSM e.v., introduced the activities of Super RTL, the most popular entertainment company for children in Germany, in the framework of the Youth Pledge for a Better Internet.

Super RTL has been involving children and young people in the development of its products and services for years in its UX laboratory. Super RTL’s involvement in the Youth Pledge focused on its newest product, TOGGO radio, launched in June 2020. In this context, Super RTL circulated a survey to assess the understanding of children aged 6-11 of a form about terms and conditions. Over the summer, some children were also invited to the UX laboratory to gather comprehensive feedback on this sensitive topic.

The findings about how children approach the form and give their consent allowed Super RTL to best decide how to move forward. Playful design workshops will be organised with children to involve them in the redesign of the form.

Sulake – Collecting users’ feedback and suggestions about terms and conditions

Raquel Alvarez, Customer Experience and User Safety Director at Sulake, explained that the company joined the Youth Pledge initiative with its flagship products Hotel Hideaway and Habbo. Sulake’s challenge in this context is to empower users to make informed decisions when playing by increasing the transparency and visibility of its terms and conditions.

To do so, the company organised focus groups with ten users aged 14-24, in which they gathered feedback on the platform’s existing terms and conditions. What emerged from these consultations was that young users consider the terms and conditions to be “too long”, “too boring”, “too much text”, “too repetitive”, “too complex”, and so on. In co-design sessions, the users then gave readability improvement suggestions, such as the following:

  • creating a shorter version of the terms and conditions with images, bullet points, and simpler text;
  • creating a short video explaining the most important topics of the terms and conditions;
  • creating a game where the user can learn about the terms and conditions’ hot topics while playing and winning something special;
  • training a small group of users to become terms and conditions ambassadors within the communities;
  • and embed the terms and conditions into the games’ tutorials or achievements.

The Alliance to better protect minors online is a self-regulatory initiative composed of leading ICT and media companies, NGOs and UNICEF, designed to improve the online environment for children and young people by tackling harmful content, conduct and contact on the internet. Recently TikTok joined the Alliance and presented their commitments towards the safer an better digital space.

For more information about the Youth Pledge for a Better Internet, visit the BIK Youth minisite. For more information about the Safer Internet Forum more generally, visit the Better Internet for Kids portal.

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