The challenge of keeping youth involved in internet governance issues

  • News
  • 29/06/2016
  • Florian Daniel (Youth ambassador)

In this article, Florian Daniel describes his journey as a youth involved in internet governance issues, and reflects on the challenges of keeping youth involved.

The beginning
I was 15 years young, eager to learn and even more eager to be a part of something. That's why I started to get involved in internet governance. The internet, and everything that exists around it, was always something which I had a lot of interest in and so I found a place within the safer internet and internet governance community in Austria.
Today I'm 20 years old and one of five young people from Europe who are part of a programme with the goal of creating a sustainable youth empowerment process in internet governance. For myself that means I am the Internet Youth Delegate for the Austrian National Youth Council. We are trying to get young people involved by organising a Youth Internet Governance Forum (yIGF) right before the actual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Vienna, Austria, so participants can attend both events without travelling twice. We provide funding, knowledge and organise everything else for the sake of young people discussing and learning at the yIGF and the IGF.
The European level
Even though the national level is the foundation of getting young people involved in internet governance, it is not the top of the mountain. Education and raising awareness on a European or even International level is as important. The Safer Internet Forum (SIF) or the European Dialog on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) are two big events in Europe which young people have the chance to attend. Because not everybody can travel to a foreign country for multiple days, we're also promoting the topic by organising webinars (check out the latest here).
The right direction
Although we are doing a lot to give young people the possibility to get involved, I have the feeling that it is not enough. Sending young people to a big international event is great, but most of the time they will not be able to attend more than once or twice due to a lack of funding or a lack of support from the educational institute they are attending (school, university, etc.…). This is a fundamental problem, which is by no means easy to solve. Despite those issues, we are moving in the right direction with what we are doing. We just have to keep in mind that it is not easy for young people to get involved and to STAY involved.
My name is Florian Daniel and I am trying to stay involved.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Better Internet for Kids Portal, European Schoolnet, the European Commission or any related organisations or parties.
About the author of this article:
For more than five years, Florian Daniel, a 20-year-old working student, has been engaged in online safety processes. Thanks to his technical education in Austria, he has an in-depth knowledge of online problems and technical aspects. Further engagement on national and international levels has helped Florian to gain a very good understanding of online safety issues concerning children and adults. Assisting with the creation of the Youth Manifesto was one of his main achievements in the recent years.
Until February 2016, Florian worked at Kaspersky Lab, one of the world's leading antivirus companies, in the public relations department in London.

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