BIK Youth was represented in this session by a collective of seven young people from across the EU, who work together to represent themselves and their peers at the European level. They advocate for policy makers and industry to work towards creating an internet that protects and promotes children’s rights, through multistakeholder approaches. This blog is authored by BIK Youth Panellist Yevgeny, 15, from Malta who took part in the COFACE policy and advocacy session.
“During this meeting, we discussed the relationship between parents and their children in the digital era. BIK Youth Ambassadors formed part of the panel as representatives of children and young people. We were asked to give first-hand experiences on this new lifestyle which has been brought about by the digital era, and how technology has influenced family dynamics."
“Apart from the Ambassadors, the panel included researchers from DigiGen (a research project exploring the impact of technological transformations on the digital generation) who shared their findings on digital technologies within European families. Through their research, they explored how many children are digitally deprived in Europe with the average being around 5.3 per cent. It was also discussed whether we, as teenagers who have grown up in a digital world that is constantly developing, think that video games make children more aggressive. We also examined how families can use digital technology as a way to bring the family together. However, the researchers also pointed out that from the studies they have conducted, it is clear that some children may still prefer normal games as opposed to digital games."
“The researchers found that children may play games to have fun, kill time and also to play with friends. It was argued that children should play more outdoor games, but it was pointed out that due to cars taking over the streets and public green spaces being used for buildings, children may turn to video games to play with each other. Hence, children are becoming more active in a sedentary environment, which can often lead to a more individualistic way of life."
“The researchers also shared that some parents enforce rules. We, as BIK Youth Ambassadors, responded that these rules may be useful, but that children are rarely consulted on how these rules are made and on what terms."
“This was a great experience to learn about how technology is affecting relationships, both negatively and positively. We also had an opportunity to see how families from across Europe are reacting to digital technology, consider what can be improved, and provide feedback on what elements are good and can be built upon.”
Find out more about the work of COFACE Families Europe.
Find out more about the work of BIK Youth more generally at www.bikyouth.eu.
About the author:
I’m Yevgeny from Malta. I’m 15 years old and I am currently in the last year of secondary school. I got involved in children’s rights issues when I decided to take part in a workshop during the summer of 2020, hosted by the Commissioner of Children in Malta, which tackled children’s rights in decision making. Following that, I was nominated to take part in the Safer Internet Forum (SIF) which was aimed at creating a safer and better internet for children and young people (as part of the BIK (Better Internet for Kids) project). As part of this, my working group produced a video which was used at SIF. I got involved since I believe that although the internet is a place where there is a lot of potential, children make up a big percentage of internet users and their rights have to be respected and their knowledge must be broadened on the threats that the internet can pose. I am also a member of the BIK Youth Advisory Group which has the task of creating a new protocol on the priorities the European Union must take to promote, respect, protect and fulfil children’s rights in the digital world. In Malta, I have been appointed a member of the Council of Children by the Commissioner for Children. My other interests are history and I also enjoy reading books about history and visiting museums. My other passion is the French language, and I would like to continue my studies in French.