International Day of Democracy 2023: Empowering the next generation

Today, 15 September 2023, we celebrate the International Day of Democracy. The day is officially recognised as a United Nations observance. It provides an opportunity to reflect on the state of democracy worldwide. This year, the focus is on "Empowering the next generation," recognising young people's pivotal role in advancing democracy.

Date 2023-09-15 Author BIK Team Section awareness, youth Topic media literacy/education, potentially harmful content Audience children and young people, organisations and industry, research, policy and decision makers
young people and teacher raising fists in a classroom

The International Day of Democracy was first celebrated by the United Nations in 2007 to promote and uphold the principle of democracy around the world.

Throughout history, democracy's core values of inclusivity, accountability and respect for human rights have been a glimmer of hope for people seeking freedom and justice. However, the journey towards democracy has been far from linear, with governments and wielding powers who find ways to obstruct it.

Empowering the next generation

The theme of this year's International Day of Democracy focuses on the essential role young people play in shaping the future of democracy. In an era of unresolved conflict, the rising threat of climate change and economic turbulence, the young generation has become essential to the stability of democracy worldwide.

"The walls are closing in on civic spaces," warns United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. Indeed, as society evolves, the space for constructive and open dialogue is shrinking. According to the UN chief, one major contributor to this alarming trend is the spread of mis and disinformation, which poisons public discourses, divides communities, and undermines trust in institutions. 

The spread of false information not only jeopardises democracy but also threatens young people, who are digital natives and particularly vulnerable to misinformation. As a result, it is crucial to equip them with the skills to discern fact from fiction.

As we commemorate the International Day of Democracy in 2023, Better Internet for Kids advocates for a better internet experience for children and young people. This involves creating digital literacy resources for teachers and educators, supporting fact-checking initiatives, and fostering safe online spaces for the young generation.
To learn more about our work and initiatives to empower the next generation, we invite you to explore our resources below.

  • The Bik Teacher corner: this section of the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) site is for teachers, educators and other adults who work with children and young people. It is your 'one-stop shop' for learning and teaching about digital citizenship and online safety.
  • As part of our plans to make Europe a great and safe place to live, including online, we've launched the new European strategy for a Better Internet for Kids (BIK+) in 2022. We want to ensure that children and young people are protected, empowered and respected whenever they go online. 
  •  In our own words – children's rights in the digital world is a  brochure written by young people. It is an edited shorter version of the Convention on the Rights of the Child's General Comment No. 25 (2021) on children's rights in relation to the digital environment. It was made to make the information easier to comprehend for children and young people aged 11 to 18.

For more information about the International Day of Democracy, visit the United Nations' website and follow the day's celebrations on social media with the hashtag #DemocracyDay

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