Youth participation in internet governance

  • Awareness
  • 20/11/2017
  • Haris Kyritsis, Greek youth panelist

From 24-26 October 2017, a seminar titled "Youth participation in internet governance" was held at the European Youth Center in Strasbourg, organised by the Council of Europe (CoE). Its main aim was to find ways to engage more young people in the internet governance ecosystem. Here Haris Kyritsis, a youth panellist from Greece, reflects on his participation.

What is internet governance?

Internet governance (IG) is the development and application by governments, the private sector and civil society in their respective roles of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the internet. Put simply, internet governance is a dialogue – consultation between all stakeholders to shape the way the internet works and, furthermore, the future of it. The main concerns of IG at the present time are fake news, geo-blocking, human rights online, child safety online and data privacy.

Why is it so important to involve the youth sector in IG?

Youth is the sector that uses the internet the most. Approximately 90 per cent of young people use the internet on a daily basis, while 25 per cent of youth are almost always connected to the internet. It's estimated that all young people spend at least 1 hour per day online. And, with everything going digital, the internet is and will remain one of the main influencers on today's young generation. It's therefore important that they get involved and express their opinions about IG and its issues because now is the opportunity to create and shape the internet they will use in future years. In addition, the youth sector is very important to IG as young people see things from a different perspective and can "think outside the box" in order to find solutions and shape great proposals about the issues and the future of the internet.

During the seminar, I've was given the chance to present the work and the progress of both the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) and (the Greek hotline for reporting illegal content and conduct on the internet) activities over recent years, alongside sharing future plans and initiatives. I was also able to inform my fellow participants, as well as Council of Europe and European Parliament staff, about the importance of the youth sector within the IG programme and how exactly youth panels and youth engagement work from a personal perspective.

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:

portrait photoHaris Kyritsis (19) is a student at the Department of Informatics and Telecommunications of the National Kapodistian University of Athens (NKUA). He is a graduate from the Experimental Lyceum of Anavryta, a member of the Greek Safer Internet Centre youth panel and a loyal mountain biker.

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