Child Focus Youth Ambassadors

  • Youth
  • 05/08/2016
  • Belgian Safer Internet Centre

Child Focus is taking youth participation to the next level! In order to find motivated and enthusiastic youngsters for our Youth Platform, we want to implement a structured approach towards Belgian secondary schools. Interested schools who want to work on initiatives for better online experiences and related topics can apply to participate in the initiative for ‘Youth Ambassadors for Better Internet'. A minimum of 20 schools will be chosen on a yearly basis.

Every school willing to participate can delegate one student of the third cycle (the last two years of secondary school) to become the schools' ‘Youth Ambassador for Better Internet', since a peer-to-peer approach has proved to be significantly more effective among teenagers. Child Focus will provide quarterly training for the young ambassadors who, in turn, will become the reference point for their peers at school for advice on better internet issues. The ambassadors will actively contribute to online and offline consultations, participate in (inter)national conferences, volunteer for relevant campaigns (such as the Surf Safe summer campaign, for instance), and organise actions within their schools.  At the end of the school year, a get-together for the young ambassadors will be organised to thank and reward them for the input and work during the year.
 
The youth ambassadors will promote awareness on better online experiences: improving the efficacy of awareness campaigns involving youth volunteer teams; gathering knowledge about the children's online behaviour and use of technologies; and improving communication towards youngsters mapping the existing channels and adapting our strategy accordingly. As Child Focus is an all-in-one organisation, it can use the expertise and knowledge of an awareness centre, a helpline and a hotline in addition to its work on a structural level with young people. That is why Child Focus will be the lead of the youth participation activity, in cooperation and coordination with the project partners, the Better Internet Consortium and the existing youth organisations working on this topic.
 
Child Focus already worked very intensively on an online level (Facebook page – Hey!YOU) and offline level (focus groups, events, campaigning, annual report, updating of eSafety tools, evaluation sessions and a workshop) to broaden the participation of youngsters and the work related to a better internet for children and young people. As this was only the beginning of integrating and putting in place the ideas of young people, Child Focus wants to take a step forward and develop the youth participation on a structural level. This will be done by working closely together with youth organisations, implementing a platform, putting the emphasis on a peer-to-peer structure and adapting a communication strategy.
 
The Youth Ambassadors for Better Internet project will start in October 2016.
 
Find out more about the work of the Belgian Safer Internet Centre, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services.

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