IGF 2019 WS #315 Youth in IG for Internet ethics & digital inclusion

Organizer 1: Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Organizer 2: Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 3: Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Organizer 4: Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 5: Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Organizer 6: Civil Society, African Group

Speaker 1: Edmon Chung, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Joy Wathagi Ndungu, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 3: Jaewon Son, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 4: Elisabeth Schauermann, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 5: Elliott Mann, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Additional Speakers

João Pedro Martins (​Delegation of the Youth Department of Council of Europe)


Round Table - Circle - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

Youth participation & engagement

  1. How can youth-driven initiatives advocate for the rights and opportunities for disadvantaged youth hailing from different communities in Internet Governance, and create an environment in which young people can engage actively in the IG processes?
  2. What are the tools needed for youth-driven IG initiatives to empower people with disabilities and marginalized societies in order to engage and promote youth participation in IG?

  3. What are the main/most common factors leading to low engagement of youth in IG and how can we tackle this problem so that improvements can be made to ensure better participation in the future?

  4. What are the challenges for youth initiatives when facilitating youth participation in the IG process?

  5. How can the government help facilitate youth engagement and participation in the IG process?

Internet Ethics & policies

  1. How can including youth from all backgrounds (young women, youth with disabilities, underserved societies, other marginalized groups) in IG help contribute to the development process of Internet ethics and policies?

  2. What is the role of youth participation in the process to different stakeholder groups in developing Internet ethics and policies?

Digital Inclusion

  1. How do different stakeholder groups engaged in the IG process encourage youth participation so as to achieve digital inclusion?

  2. Digital resilience: What role can policies and best practices play in creating a cyber environment which helps to promote positive digital citizenship, and cyber wellness among young Internet users


GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

Description: Since the proposed session will be held in a round table format, speakers are only expected to highlight the topics with some examples based on their experiences to spark and facilitate the discussion. Following this, further participation will be invited from the open floor to exchange insights and experiences regarding youth engagement on IG, how youth participation contribute to Internet ethics and policies, and how to achieve digital inclusion.

1) Introduction: 10 mins
The moderator(s) will start the session with the introduction of the work and activities of youth initiatives in the Asia Pacific region. To allow the exchange of ideas and insights between and among regions, the moderator(s) will invite youth leaders from different regions, e.g. African group and European group, to specifically talk about the context of youth engagement in IG in their regions. The floor will be opened to seek clarification questions about the youth initiatives and their works, in order to encourage the audience to think about how the youth initiatives contribute in building youth’s awareness and capacity, and contributing to the Internet ethics and policies for digital inclusion.

2) Panel Discussion: 25 mins
The moderator(s) will then invite speakers from different stakeholder groups, including technical community, the private sector, government/ intergovernmental organization, and civil society, to share their opinions and views on the importance of youth engagement and participation in IG process, and how youth’s advocacy contributes to policy change. Sharing from each speaker will be set to 4-5 minutes. Follow up with a 10-minute Q&A session before moving on to the round-table discussion.

3) Q&A and Remarks: 20 mins
Participants of the workshop can raise questions based on the sharing of the speakers. The discussion will then be continued based on and focused on the cases and examples shared by the speakers. 

4) Open Floor Discussion: 25 mins
To further expand and deepen the discussion, the floor will be opened for comments, questions, and suggestions for further actions of different communities and stakeholder groups. By setting up an open-floor discussion, it allows and empowers attendees to advocate their opinions and points of view of the communities they are representing. This session is expected to be dynamic and interactive, in which the moderator(s) will queue up the audience and speakers for questions, responses or comments upon requests. The discussion will also be sought from remote participants, who will be welcome to engage and be involved in the open floor discussion.

5) Session Summary: 10 mins
Based on the collective experiences in the session, the moderator(s) will summarize the discussions in the previous section and move forward to explore any potential actions, activities or collaborations for regional youth initiatives and other stakeholder groups. These future ideas will aim to enhance and encourage higher youth participation and engagement in the IG process, proliferating Internet ethics and policies from the youth perspectives for digital inclusion. The suggested action items, activities, collaborations, the case sharing(s) from the discussion, and any public comments will be the output for the report of the session.

Expected Outcomes: This workshop will provide participants with an overview of current youth internet governance initiatives, current levels of engagement and perspectives from regions around the world. It is hoped that participants will conclude the workshop more knowledgeable about the different initiatives active in the world with the potential for cross-pollination and networking with other participants. This workshop will also demonstrate the link between youth engagement in Internet Governance and improved outcomes in internet ethics and digital inclusion. From this, it is hoped that this session can act as a springboard for further work to be done in this space.

The session organizers will facilitate participation by leveraging the round-table nature of the session and dedicating time for discussion during the session. A key part of the session is the sharing of ideas and proposals for initiatives to get youth engaged in Internet Governance and this will be achieved through a round-table discussion. The organizers are experienced in facilitating discussions in their own local communities and thus will endeavour to ensure that all perspectives are heard and discussed.

Relevance to Theme: Digital inclusion is about having the right access, skills, motivation, and trust to confidently go online. Youth-led organisations have contributed a lot in reducing global inequality by enabling digital inclusion for youth from underserved and underprivileged communities. For example, several ‘Digital Academies’ has been established by youth groups to provide students, primarily from the urban poor and rural settings with an early head start into 21st century skills – coding, programming, entrepreneurial and creative skills, which would prepare them for a digital future. As an example, in 2017 a group of youths launched EDDY, a sign language mobile app for the deaf community in Malaysia and anyone looking to learn the Malaysian Sign Language. It is designed as an education aide for classrooms across Asia, and also as a communications tool that is able to translate sign language on-the-go. Youth-led groups have also worked with organisations such as the National Cancer Society Malaysia (NCSM), to create a virtual resource and support mobile app known as Stronger than Cancer which facilitates quicker, reliable and trustworthy sharing of information related to cancer in hope to empower patients, caregivers, hospitalised children, family and friends affected. All these initiatives are consistent with the UN's sustainability efforts in reducing the digital gap that exists between societies by enhancing economic development, facilitating communication, and making future skills learning opportunities inclusive to all. The key to digital inclusion is engagement and awareness of youth in underrepresented regions around the world. As more and more youth get connected to the internet, engage in internet communities and work in industries where the internet is key, it is crucial to get those same people engaged in the Internet governance process. This session will seek to explain, explore and discuss various methods of getting youth engaged in the Internet governance process through the experiences of the speakers as well as an open discussion format so we can hear the perspectives of other regions. We will also explore how this can lead to improved outcomes in internet ethics through general awareness and education programs. This focus on internet ethics is key to digital inclusion. The use of the internet by any individual or community must be underpinned by a foundation of ethical conduct which determines how they interact with technology. Internet governance is a grand way for this foundation to develop. By interacting with others of different cultures, races, and experiences, youths develop an ethical understanding of the internet as a global connector which binds us all. As a result, it is key to develop programs which will keep youth engaged in the internet governance process; allow them to build that ethical foundation and help promote digital inclusion.

Relevance to Internet Governance: "Internet governance 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." Internet Governance is a process which must reflect as much as possible the people who use the internet itself. With the rapid development in communications and internet connectivity, and with youth making up an ever-increasing proportion of the population, youth is a crucial part of the Internet Governance equation. Despite this, many initiatives to get youth involved in Internet Governance have failed to gain mass traction across this diverse demographic. This panel will discuss the various methods of engagement and explore how they may lead to improved outcomes in internet ethics and digital inclusion. The discussion in this session will provide insights into internet governance development in the regions and assist those who want to run programmes in the future, which eventually help contribute to the development of Internet ethics and policies for digital inclusion. The organisers recognise the many improved outcomes in internet governance associated with increased youth involvement. Beyond simply reflecting those who use the Internet, further engaging youth equips those who will enter internet-based careers with knowledge about internet governance and how to contribute throughout their lives. In this manner, the aim of this workshop in discussing, proliferating and cross-pollinating youth internet governance initiatives strikes at the very core of enhancing internet governance both in the present moment and in the future.

Online Participation

The organisers of this workshop will primarily use the official online participation tool to engage remote participants, particularly those from regions outside Europe and in the global south. As a discussion-style session, the organisers welcome the opportunity to solicit the opinions of remote participants and will endeavour to share and discuss those views with physical participants.

Proposed Additional Tools: The organisers of this workshop will also use one video presentation and social media hashtag on Twitter to engage both the on-site and remote participants digitally. By using these tools, organisers expect to create influences beyond the workshop and expect the opinions, the situation of the workshop and any information and updates related to this workshop can be shared, expressed and reflected online freely.


11:30 - 11:35 

Introduction of workshop

5 mins

11:35 - 11:40

Introduction of speakers

5 mins

11:40 - 12:05

Panel discussion

25 mins

12:05 - 12:25

Q&A and remarks

20 mins

12:25 - 12:50

Open-floor discussion

25 mins

12:50 - 13:00

Session summary

10 mins

1. Key Policy Questions and Expectations

Youths are the fastest-growing demographic on the internet and those who develop the future of the digital world. We aim to engage participants from different regions with a focus on Internet ethics. By interacting with participants of different cultures, races, and experiences, we expect to discuss and develop an ethical understanding of the Internet in order to achieve digital inclusion. We expect to come up with a youth statement with practical examples and suggestions after the discussion on the following questions.

  • What are the major factors leading to the low engagement of youth in IG and how can we tackle this problem to ensure better participation?

  • How can including youth from all backgrounds help contribute to the development process of Internet ethics and policies?

  • What role can policies and best practices play in creating a cyber environment that promotes positive digital citizenship, and cyber wellness among young Internet users?

2. Summary of Issues Discussed

The session focused on how youth engagement in Internet governance can be improved, with a highly interactive discussion on how different stakeholders could help in sustaining and supporting youth engagement in Internet governance by providing different kinds of opportunities available for youth in the sphere and different levels of multiple exposures for youth.

 A theme that was created in the discussion was that there is more interest in engagement than opportunities. It was suggested that low engagement of youth is not the problem, but rather the lack of opportunity, recognition, trust, and information available for youth to be engaged. The speakers and participants agreed that there needs to be a focus on developing capacity building programs on a national level, while still having a global perspective, in order to narrow down the lack of knowledge and awareness of the youth. For example, the Youth IGF Summit held prior to the main Internet Governance Forum leveraged the perspective of youth from all around the world to present specific messages on various topics to the IGF.

Moreover, we also need to foster a more sustainable approach to support capable youth in IG and explore ways to build their capacity. Many indicated that youth only navigate in the IG space within their own bubble, however, this bubble can be eliminated by connecting youth with other stakeholders to ensure there is continuous engagement. Some pointed out that economic barriers for youth initiatives is one of the major factors that determine whether they can engage or attend in the Internet governance events or the policy-making process. However, this should not be a problem if other community members from different stakeholder groups recognize the values of the opinions or the contributions of the youth as different roles in the community.

3. Policy Recommendations or Suggestions for the Way Forward
  1. Youth programs or initiatives in Internet governance must be designed in a way that enables multiple exposures for youth. To ensure the sustainability of youth participation and continuous engagement in the Internet governance ecosystem, platforms or channels should be established to network and connect community members among and between stakeholder groups.

  2. The IGF, youth groups or other organizations should engage and work with traditional youth organizations that are open to all people regardless of a person’s religion or gender, such as YMCA, in order to be more inclusive.

  3. Internet organizations and platforms, such as IGF, ISOC, ICANN, should provide more job opportunities or positions for youth in Internet policy-making in order to integrate the values, interests, and opinions of the younger generations.

  4. The IGF must address the issue of poor harmonization and coordination between the existing Youth initiatives or Movements. For example, by reevaluating the criteria of forming a local Youth IGF.         


4. Other Initiatives Addressing the Session Issues

Youth initiatives from all around the world were also addressing the session issues during the workshop, regarding the difficulties they are facing like lack of funding in supporting the projects or the capable youth to attend the Internet governance events, opportunities to continuously engage in the Internet governance ecosystem or to return to the policy-making process from time to time with the lowest barriers caused by economic or financial reasons, etc. These youth initiatives include NetMission.Asia, Asia Pacific Internet Governance Academy (APIGA), iFocus (A Hongkong-based program for high school students organized by Chinese YMCA), Youth4IG Mentorship Programme, NetThing Australia, Youth IGF Summit, Youth Observatory, Digital Grassroots, etc. Some of the attendees of the workshop who addressed similar issues with the perspectives of their own regions were from the Global South. For example, they have pointed out the situations or the cases in their regions, such as Latin America and Central Asia, in terms of the lack of funding, opportunities, and awareness in the community, etc.

5. Making Progress for Tackled Issues
  1. Youth programs should enable multiple exposures for youth.

  2. Other stakeholders and Internet bodies should identify and recognize the role and contributions of youth and support youth through employment or providing other opportunities.

  3. Youth must take the initiative to set up more IGF remote hubs to engage youth at national or regional levels to engage more youth and contribute to the policy-making process.

  4. There must be more media reporting by the IGF and media in general on youth activity in Internet governance. 

  5. Youth should connect with members of different stakeholder groups to develop strategies for capacity buildings for youth to narrow down the knowledge gap identified.

  6. There must be pressure on other stakeholders to listen to youth and to integrate the opinions of youth in the projects, plans or policies. 

  7. IGF should push to add more resources for youth, such as on digital literacy, etc., in order to achieve digital inclusion.

6. Estimated Participation

Beginning of session:

Male: 30, Female: 37

Middle of session:

Male: 41, Female: 55

End of session:

30 Male, 42 Female

Online participants:


Onsite, there was 37 female at the beginning of the session, 55 during the middle of the session, and 42 female at the end of the session. The number of female participants online was 18

7. Reflection to Gender Issues

To truly maximize youth participation and address the issue of inclusion, the youth did not see gender as a barrier or a limiting factor for youth engagement in Internet governance at this stage.

8. Session Outputs