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Youth and Internet Governance: Challenges for Future?

Internet Governance Forum Hyderabad, India

December 3rd, 2008, Room No. 4, (11:00am to 12:30pm)

Organized by: Peoples Development Organization, Pakistan

 

Aims and Objectives:

The main purpose of the workshop is to showcase the involvement of young professionals and students in the projects related to ICTs and Internet Governance while providing them with the opportunity to have an open dialogue with the key stakeholders in the relevant field from around the globe.

With the quality information gained from the participation and interaction with seniors and experts from different backgrounds and geographical diversity, the purpose is to develop and improve the current initiatives implemented in the various fields. Additionally, the goal is to provide a platform for experience sharing and feedback on how these young leaders might continue their initiatives.

Sub-themes:

• Capacity Building for Young Leaders, Outreach issues

• Privacy issues: Role of social networking sites

• Prospects and problems of Participation, a look at Remote Participation Project

• Child Safety Online

• Youth as Digital Innovators

 

Agenda:

- Showcasing of Youth Leaders’ Projects/Work

- Opinion from our experts on issues affecting youth

- Discussion-Analysis of the projects for its challenges and possible solutions

- Recommendations: Possible way for the youth to move forward

- Conclusion

Initially Confirmed Speakers:

- Iffat Rose Gill-Peoples Development Organization, Pakistan

- Andrea Millwood Hargrave – Council of Europe

- Agnieszka Wrzesien-Nobody’s Children Foundation, Poland

- Marilia Maciel – Remote Participation Project, Brazil

- Nevine Tewfik- Ministry of Communication and Technology, Egypt

- Jan Malinowski – Council of Europe

- Katitza Roderiguez-Electronic Privacy Information Center, United States

- Eddan Katz- Electronic Frontier Foundation, United States

- Wolfgang Kleinwachter – University of Arhus, Denmark

- Andre Jacques Dodin-Council of Europe

Expected Topics for Discussions:

  • Prospects and problems related to participation of young participants; a look at remote participation as a solution?
  • What are the major challenges faced in the capacity building of leaders: Outreach issues?
  • How do young people use various social networking sites and deal with privacy concerns?
  • What are young professionals doing for the Protection of Child pornography?
  • Youth as digital Innovators! Challenges and prospects in digital opportunities.
  • Suggestions and recommendations for future activities and programs.

 

Actual Outcomes:

Panelists:

 

- Maja Andjelkovic – IISD (moderator)

- Agnieszka Wrzesien-Nobody’s Children Foundation, Poland

- Marilia Maciel – Remote Participation Project, Brazil

- Nevine Tewfik- Ministry of Communication and Technology, Egypt

- Eddan Katz- Electronic Frontier Foundation, United States

- Wolfgang Kleinwachter – University of Arhus, Denmark

- Kristina Irion - Central European University, Hungary

- Ravi Parasrampuria – Project LifeUnits, India

 

(Iffat Rose Gill and Andre Jacques Dodin participated remotely in the event.)

 

Narrative:

 

The turnout number to the youth workshop was different than expected, due to the devastating Mumbai Carnage and the major organizers of the workshop including the major contributors to this workshop and speakers from Council of Europe cancelled. Some of the Youth and IG team members could not make it due to financial constraints and lack of sponsorship opportunities.

 

Due the change in the schedule, Ms. Maja Andjelkovic from IISD moderated the session on youth. The last minute changes due to the absence of some key speakers did have an affect on the order in which the presentations were to be unfolded, but the general outcome of discussions could not lead to, much of the desired suggestions for an action plan for future activities. The reason being, that it was decided a day before the event that the workshop shall not be cancelled, predominantly due to the tremendous amount of hard work and effort put into it both from the organizing team and the contributors end. Most of our team members thought it would be a way to show solidarity with those affected by the Mumbai tragedy and also to the people of India.

 

Ms. Maja introduced the session and the purpose the holding a session for youth, as there was a dire need to highlight the great work that is being carried out by the youth leaders from around the globe and it was a massive step to bring in new members with meaningful inputs to the IGF discussions.

 

Marilia Maciel the young coordinator, from Brazil managed to raise questions from the audience after her session on the remote participation project. She was included in the panel after her work was assessed by the Youth and IG team and this project was believed to have a great impact on the lives of young people who due to the lack of funds would not be able to make it to the IGF but still had lots of inputs to add to the ongoing discussions. The discussion led to exploring the limited number of hubs and the reasons behind it. Her presentation had the following main points:

 

  • Numerous people cannot attend forums like the IGF, due to different reasons, mainly young people and groups that lack the resources and financial support, and this barrier of being physically present restricts them from contributing to ongoing debates.
  • The Remote Participation working group raised and worked on the common concern to propose mechanism that could enhance remote participation, building a bridge among remote participants and the IGF Hyderabad
  • After studying different models and analyzing different platforms for interaction, partnerships were developed with regional organizations and communities with the aim to create local IGF hubs
  • The RPP had successfully created hubs in Buenos Aires, São Paulo, Pune, Lahore, Belgrade, Barcelona and Madrid.
  • The main aim is to reinforcing multi-stakeholderism by empowering individuals, especially young people who will bear the impact of the decisions made today.

 

Agnieszka Wrzesien, young leader from Poland, gave a very insightful presentation on child online safety and she focused on the irresponsible use of Information and Communication Technology tools like mobiles and how the content generated by them in social networking spaces is shaping the lives of children and teens in Poland. Her work focused on the education and awareness of the young people about the responsible use of emerging and convergent technologies and how they can use it to maximize their learning and social interaction without infringing on the rights of others.

  • Cyber bullying is an recurring escalating trend, and is done via emails, chats rooms, instant messaging and mobile phones and unlike traditional bullying, it can go on 24/7.
  • Some facts and figures: Every second young Internet user (52%) has had some contact with verbal abuse online or via mobile phones, 57% of young people report to have been at least once photographed or recorded against their will and 14% report their peers have published online untrue or humiliating material about them.
  • Young people who are reported to be victims of cyber-bullying experience stress, lower self-esteem, frustrated, depressed and this often leads to emotional and psychological implications including suicide attempts.
  • The ‘Stop Cyberbulling Campaign’ aims to teach upper primary classes in Poland on the forms of cyberbullying, how to avoid or minimize the risks involved and where to seek help.

Nevine Tewfik spoke about the ‘Cyberpeace Initiative,’ a project of Egyptian Ministry of Communication and Technology, which works for the capacity building of youth leaders in Internet related issues and gives them a platform to air their voices and views. It is an initiative to give them the freedom of expression to speak about peace in the region. Their capacity building model is based on both online and in-person training sessions that deal with issues like Internet safety for young people and e-content on peace and development, thus fostering their empowerment in the region. Some highlights from her presentation are as follows:

  • Internet Safety for Young People: This track deals with the risks associated with the use of the internet among young people. It aims at establishing a youth internet safety focus group to spread awareness about internet safety issues among their peers.
  • The work methodology includes capacity building through diverse and continuous training and workshops, motivating by devising the Incentives plan and exploring field work, and preserving a lively communication system between members.
  • The capacity building program includes tutorials on ICT social networking tools to enhance dialogue, understanding and tolerance, as well as safety tutorials. This is done through mobilizing, self governance and division of labour.
  • The Cyber Peace camps are annual or semi annual gatherings of young people with a passion for ICT in peace and development. The camps are opportunities to bring together young people from different regions in an intensive training and exchange forum where key issues related to the developmental role of ICT are discussed. The first youth camp took place during the ITU Youth Forum of Telecom Africa 2008 and focused on the needs and aspirations of the African continent in the digital age.

Professor Wolfgang emphasized on the need to educate the new generation about the core issues pertaining to the Internet Governance and the impact of the policies made today on the leaders of the present and future. He shared a capacity building model namely ‘European Summer School on IG’ which aims to train the potential leaders in the basic of IG and hopes to bring more and more people in the IG discussions through capacity building.

 

  • Putting the digital divide into a historical perspective, there is a great optimism for digital opportunities for the next generation. We had less then 500.00 Internet users 20 years ago when the cold war ended. There were ten million users in 1992 which, during the start-up phase of WSIS process in 2002, had reached to 500 million users worldwide. The number increased to one billion just before the Tunis summit in 2005 and at present, end of 2008, we have 1.5 billion users. The number is still less as compared to the population but with new technological options like low-cost wireless Internet access, the WSIS goal to bring half of mankind online until 2005 can be achieved. And I expect that in 2020 we will have more than five billion Internet users on the globe.
  • For young generation of today, the Internet in future will be a natural part of their lives, it will be like air. All your communication, learning, work, research, shopping, entertainment will be more or less supported by the Internet.
  • Access to the Internet is just the beginning. The real challenge comes with the use of the Internet, and this is where we move towards another digital divide! There is a real threat that we will see huge division in the Internet usage where it might be mostly limited to entertainment by a proportion of population, leaving the rest of the potential of the Internet for the development of their own creativity unexplored. On the other hand, there would be users who use if for innovation, production and creative development. To stimulate creativity and use the Internet for personal self determination and self development and to become a free and enabled citizen of the globe, will be the real challenge in the years ahead. And this calls for more investment into education and training both in the North and the South.
  • The Internet of tomorrow is global. Cyberspace does not know the frontiers of time and space. While we are all living in our local communities with our own local cultural and historical background, everybody who is online will become a global citizen. The young generation has to be aware is that they live in a global community on one planet and the only way to manage this global complexity is communication, collaboration, mutual understanding, respect and tolerance. What we need is a need global ethics for the cyberspace which is rooted in the human achievements of our past and which is enshrined, in particular, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights und the Charter of the United Nations.

 

Edan Katz shared with the audience about the innovative ‘digital native project’ and how it is helping to explore different possibilities for collaborative works. Highlight from his presentations are as follows:

  • Digital Natives grow up in information society and work through collaborative development where diversity and multiculturism play pivotal role in this era of globalization.
  • Freedom in the age of terrorism is a challenge, where privacy and openness are fundamental rights as compared to security which is assumed to be close.
  • Access to knowledge should be promoted along with innovation and creativity, and when we are speaking of development and freedom, there has to be a balance between essential needs and social responsibility.
  • ‘'Openness’ and ‘responsibility’ has a lot of aspects to it namely surveillance, transparency, trust, difference of opinion, cooperation and has a bottom-up approach.

Highlights from Iffat Rose Gill’s presentation: (She could not be present at the workshop, but her presentation highlighted some of the main objectives that were to be discussed in the workshop)

  • The main scope included highlighting of projects/interventions of youth leaders working in the Internet Governance issues and a dialogue with different stakeholders on ways to identify innovative and creative work and reach out to potential youth leaders. These emerging leaders, mostly from developing countries often lack the resources, sometimes fail to implement these youth-led and youth-focused initiatives that can be replicable and scalable.

  • The young people are usually left out from the participation in mainstream discussions at the policy making level in Internet and related issues due to lack of communication, financial support and sometimes capacity and training. The lack of framework, institutional support and recognition of the true potential of these young leaders also often lead to loss of momentous input from this critical grassroots entity.
  • There is a dire need to initiate discussions and debates among youth networks and organizations interested in IG and policy debate so that there is an increased awareness followed by well-informed contributions from their side to the current debates, since they are the major contributors to the user-generated content, and put incredible amount of information on the Internet. We need to explore platforms and forums at grassroots level which can help us reach maximum youth groups interested in these debates.

Professor Christina Irion from Central European University shared her thoughts about the privacy concerns faced by young people at social networking sites and how it is shaping their lives.

 

Ravi Parasrampuria from India explained how young people developed software to provide e-health solutions to populations in their country and how they are shaping the lives of youngsters that they manage to reach with the access limitations in the rural areas.

 

Suggestions and Recommendations:

 

We got tremendous amount of feedback from our members and interested people who gave a lot of inputs for future activities both during and after the workshop.

 

- Formation of a Dynamic Coalition for youth involvement – Nevine, Cairo

- Hosting of an e-consultation on Internet related issues affecting youth

- ‘Good momentum generated - keep it linked up t get concrete actions out linked to specific commitments.' Titi, Johannesburg .

 

 

 

Report by:

 

Pascal Bekono

Iffat Rose Gill

Youth and IG Team, Peoples Development Organization Pakistan

 

(This workshop proposal was submitted to the IGF Secretariat by PDO on the April 30, 2008. We can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information.)