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Empowering Global Youth Through Digital Citizenship

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No. 19 Empowering Global Youth Through Digital Citizenship

Anne Collier


IGF 2014 sub theme that this workshop fall under

Enhancing Digital Trust


Where there is governance, there are citizens. No Internet governance discussion is complete without discussion among citizens about digital citizenship. On today's highly participatory Internet, many of the citizens are youth. This workshop follows our successful Baku workshop in which more than 30 participants spoke, nearly all of them youth from multiple countries. It will be a highly participatory, multidirectional discussion rather than a one-way panel presentation.

Our goal is to move from discussing the concept of digital citizenship to understanding its practices from youth perspectives – how they use digital tools and spaces to promote and support causes, make change and participate in civil society or even political life. With questions from the organizers and other participants, we will uncover how youth use connected media and whether that's changing how they view citizenship; hear the perspectives of those who are advancing digital literacy, participation and citizenship for youth; and examine the effectiveness of current online safety approaches and the role of digital citizenship in them. The workshop will include a roundtable of youth and other experts asking and answering questions such as:

• What are the Internet Governance issues or questions that should be addressed going forward?

• What are young people's approaches to developing a safe digital society that upholds participants' rights?

• Can bullying prevention in the form of respectful treatment of others and standing up for their rights contribute to citizenship online as well as offline?

• What are the most effective ways to teach and model good digital citizenship?

• What role does digital inclusion – supporting and enlisting the support of marginalized and disadvantaged populations – play in digital citizenship?

• Are "trolling" and other forms of anti-social online behavior affecting youth civic engagement and understanding among youth, government, industry, and other communities?


1. Introductions: 5 min.
2. Overview & Background: 10 min.
3. Open discussion: 60 min.
4. Summarize & wrap up: 15 min.


* "Changing Citizenship in the Digital Age," by W. Lance Bennett, University of Washington (http://www.oecd.org/edu/ceri/38360794.pdf)
* "What Makes You Tweet?: Young People's Perspectives on Social Media as an Engagement Tool," by Jen Rose and Lisa Morstyn, Youth Affairs Council of Victoria, Australia (http://apo.org.au/research/what-makes-you-tweet-young-peoples-perspectives-use-social-media-engagement-tool)
* "Youth & Citizenship in the Digital Age: A View from Egypt," by Linda Herrera of University of Illinois in Harvard Educational Review (http://her.hepg.org/content/88267r117u710300/?p=cac083d7a05044e2a5cf9ac8d57102ae&pi=0)
* From the workshop co-organizer: "Digital citizenship, a lived curriculum," Part 1 (http://www.netfamilynews.org/digital-citizenship-a-lived-curriculum-part-1) and Part 2 (http://www.netfamilynews.org/the-lived-curriculum-part-2-what-that-looks-like); "Digital citizenship in process: Notes from the Baku IGF" (http://www.netfamilynews.org/digital-citizenship-in-process-notes-from-the-baku-igf), by Anne Collier

Name(s) and stakeholder and organizational affiliation(s) of institutional co-organizer(s)

Anne Colllier, ConnectSafely.org, Civil Society, United States, Western Europe and Others Group (WEOG)

Jeremy Blackman, Alannah & Madeline Foundation, Civil Society, Australia

Has the proposer, or any of the co-organizers, organized an IGF workshop before?


The link to the workshop report


Type of session


Duration of proposed session

90 minutes

Subject matter #tags that describe the workshop

#digitalcitizenship #esafety #internetsafety #digitalliteracy #youth

Names and affiliations (stakeholder group, organization) of speakers the proposer is planning to invite

Fusun Nebil, Private Sector, Founder and General Manager, Turk.Internet.com, Turkey, Private Sector, MIDDLE EAST. Confirmed.
Students from Middle East Technical University, Anadolu University and Bahçesehir University in Turkey, Civil Society. MIDDLE EAST. Confirmed.
Bianca Ho, Yannis Li, David Ng, and Youth Representatives from Ambassadors of NetMission, Civil Society, HONG KONG, Asia-Pacific Group. Confirmed.
UK students Zachary Da Silva, Harriet Kempson, and Eleanor Lee accompanied by Childnet International, Civil Society, UNITED KINGDOM, Western Europe and Others Group - WEOG. Confirmed.
Janice Richardson, INSAFE, Civil Society, Brussels Europe, Western Europe and Others Group - WEOG. Confirmed.
Jeremy Blackman, Alannah & Madeline Foundation, Civil Society, AUSTRALIA, Asia-Pacific Group. Confirmed.
Larry Magid, CEO & Founder, SafeKids.com and SafeTeens.com and journalist for CBS News, Private Sector, UNITED STATES, Western Europe and Others Group – WEOG. Confirmed.
Kimberly Sanchez, Microsoft Corp., Private Sector, UNITED STATES, Western Europe and Others Group – WEOG. Confirmed.

Name of Moderator(s)

Anne Collier

Name of Remote Moderator(s)

Jim Prendergast

Description of how the proposer plan to facilitate discussion amongst speakers, audience members and remote participants

We had 65 attendees in our session in Baku with over 30 of them taking to the microphone at least once. A link to the transcript is below, and it clearly demonstrates that our session was undoubtedly the most interactive session of the meeting, and our plan is to try and replicate that. Essentially, there will be no presentations and no panelists. There will be thought-provoking questions raised by the discussion facilitators and a conversation among audience members.
Transcript - http://wsms1.intgovforum.org/sites/default/files/06%20Nov%202012%20IGF%20WS%2062-1.docx

Description of the proposer's plans for remote participation

Prior to the events in Istanbul, we will undertake a global social media effort to publicize the workshop among youth and organizations focused on Digital Citizenship efforts. We will take advantage of the global resources and relationships of ConnectSafely and their supporters such as Microsoft and their nearly 1.5 million Facebook and Twitter followers to ensure that there is sufficient awareness of our session.

However, due to time zone differences and scheduling of the workshop, remote participation from outside the region may be difficult. We expect this to be a challenge for all workshops and not unique to ours.

To overcome this challenge we plan to distribute a short, open-ended, online survey through organizations around the globe that solicit youth insights to the same questions posed in the live discussions. The Discussion Facilitators and the Moderators will be ensuring that the inputs received from this survey are made a part of the discussion. These voices will be represented.

Background paper

No background paper provided

Brief substantive summary of the workshop and presentation of the main issues that were raised during the discussions

"Digital citizenship" is a concept and practice that grew out of the online child protection field and continues to gain momentum. This was the 5th IGF workshop on the subject since Vilnius in 2010. Our aim is a workshop that models citizenship in the digital age by featuring the perspectives of youth and engaging all participants in a highly interactive, "citizen-sourced" discussion. Youth from Hong Kong, Denmark, UK, Ireland and Germany and people of all ages from nearly 20 countries in Africa, Australasia, Europe, the Middle East, North and South America and the Subcontinent discussed the emerging characteristics of digital citizenship –participatory, iterative, citizen-sourced, powered by the digital-age literacies (digital, media and social literacy) and involving rights, responsibilities and constructive engagement.

Youth shared their perspectives, such as the need to acknowledge and support other citizens' rights as well as their own, the growing importance and possibly right of Internet access as essential tool of participation, what constitutes community online and the key role each individual plays in the wellbeing of online community and its members.

Conclusions drawn from the workshop and possible follow up actions

A key characteristic of digital citizenship is that it changes with the citizens, who define and co-create it as they learn and grow. So this is an open-ended workshop subject. The workshop is about gauging consensus and learning together as one another's perspectives are shared. Other key findings, if not conclusions, of the workshop is that intercultural understanding is becoming a core competency or literacy of citizenship (both online and offline) in this networked world and that Internet access is a key affordance, if not right, of citizens of all ages worldwide, because - without it - both participation and access to information are restricted.

As for followup actions, we hope to continue the conversation with this workshop and by supporting all other youth efforts to gain full stakeholder-level participation at the IGF. As our proposal indicated this was not a panel of adults with one or two youth. This workshop was an open discussion that was youth-driven and adult facilitated. We would be happy to reduce even that adult role if youth participants ask us to. Our role in the workshop has diminished year by year; this year it was strictly organization and moderation. The reason is that, as the intended beneficiaries of policymaking and as expert users of connected technology, youth are needed in all processes that aim to benefit them, including the Child Protection area of the IGF. This is only logical, but it is also logic enshrined in the UNCRC.

Estimation of the overall number of participants present at the workshop


Estimation of the overall number of women present at the workshop

about half of the participants were women

Extent to that the workshop discuss gender equality and/or women’s empowerment

it was not seen as related to the workshop’s theme and was not raised

A brief summary of the discussions in case that the workshop addressed issues related to gender equality and/or women’s empowerment

No information provided

Reported by

No information provided

Workshop transcript


Youtube video



No attachments provided

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