IGF 2021 - Day 4 - WS #131 Money can't buy me digital literacy

The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.



>> We all live in a digital world.  We all need it to be open and safe.  We all want to trust.

>> And to be trusted.

>> We all despise control.

>> And desire freedom.

>> We are all united.

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to the workshop, Money Can't Buy Me Digital Literacy.  I'm delighted to share today's discussion in collaboration with my colleague, Sabrina Vorbau who is the online moderator.  This workshop is organized by the Insafe Network European Network of Safer Internet, Portuguese, German, and Greek Safer Internet Centers.  When we're talking about economic and social inclusion in the field of digital literacy, the digital divide is a widespread concept we cannot go passed.  The term "digital divide" has in the past been referring to the gap that exists in most countries between those with ready access to the tools of ICT and possessing relevant knowledge to use certain tools and those without such access.

This session will discuss the role of economic, social, and cultural capital within the current digital divide.  Media and digital literacy predicted by these types of capital, how is it?  And how can we prevent certain inequalities to maintain themselves?  In this regard, the session will highlight that prevention of digital exclusion is a work in progress that goes beyond access and is a shared responsibility of various stakeholders to ensure an equal and safe Internet for all citizens.

While different opinions will remain on what instruments, measurements are the most appropriate to achieve these, it should become clearer which initiatives and resources are available to support more awareness and education in this area.

Today's workshop will run for 90 minutes.  We will kick off with a 30 approximate-minute panel discussion hearing from academia, safer Internet centers, technical community, and youth representatives.  We'll discuss the following question.  Challenge the digital divide, what does your stakeholder group or region demand to breach the digital divide?  In this regard I'm delighted to be joined on site and online by Sonia Livingstone, Kathrin, Magdalena, Ida and Emmanuel.  We'll have different breakout rooms by experts and stakeholders in the field about efforts put in place to tackle the digital divide on digital literacy.

However, without any further ado, I'm pleased to give the floor now to Sonia Livingstone, a Professor in Department of Media and Communications at London School of Economics and Political Science.  She's published 20 books on media audiences, including parenting for a digital future, how hopes and fears about technology shape children's life.  She has advised UK Government, European Commission, European Parliament, UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, OECD, ITU, and UNICEF and others on children's Internet safety and rights in the digital environment.  She directs the Digital Future's Commission with Five Rights Foundation and global kits online with UNICEF.  Welcome, Sonia.  The floor is yours.

   >> SONIA LIVINGSTONE:  Brilliant.  Thank you so much.  It's a pleasure to be here virtually with everyone to discuss this really important topic.  So, you just heard about a number of my projects.  You can see that I'm an academic researcher, and I very much try to collaborate with key organizations who are making a difference in the world through direct participatory work with children.

There are many things I might say to kind of kick off this discussion and many projects, but I thought I would share slides and really tell you just about one project to give you some academic research and findings, and let me just -- so I think you can now see my screen, right.  And to really focus on this question of social inequality and to talk about a little about the pandemic and to bring the voices of children in, although I know this is also Kathrin's focus.

I thought I would outline just one project, this is really my only slide, and let me talk you through it.  During the pandemic, it was on behalf of myself and colleagues in the Global Kids Online Project we were very pleased to work with the COVID Underline Team project and that was a big project of many child rights organizations interested in how children's rights were being affected across the world and in relation to a whole host of different issues.

And from Global Kids Online we brought in the theme of the digital environment and we asked what does the digital environment mean.  So, I'm thinking about the question that Sabrina asked in advance, what should we have known before the pandemic, what do we know now during the pandemic, and what difference did the digital make?  And the story here is very heavily about inequalities about the importance of social, cultural, and economic capital and about all the other kinds of inequalities.  So, if I begin in the red box on the top left, we saw immediately that these were responses from 26,000 children across 137 countries in all 5 UN regions, and we asked them a series of questions.  We see first of all that while many children around the world had some access to the Internet, there were really big inequalities.  We tried to look for inequalities not only in terms of income and geography, but also, we had responses from children who were migrants, asylum seekers, refugees, detention camps, homeless centers, and so forth.  We see big differences, regional differences in access but also big differences within each region.

Bottom left, the online safety.  We immediately see that actually we also have a lot of before and after questions, before the pandemic and after the pandemic.  Children felt less safe during the pandemic online.  Young children age 8 to 10 especially felt less safe.  And children who had not accessed the Internet before and had to go online because of the pandemic, felt less safe.

In the middle in the yellow box, we asked a lot of questions about education, and here too the story is kind of a depressing one.  I know there has been a lot of talk about how the pandemic gave children access to technology that they had never had before, and perhaps it did.  But broadly, children felt their education had been better before the pandemic, and they got better support from their teachers, and they were now after the pandemic more worried about their grades.  And so, the kind of human dimension and the face-to-face dimension of education, I think, has become very salient to children as something that is vital.  Technology can complement this, but if they have to rely on it, there is a problem.

Pink at the top, the pink box, we saw a lot of children using technology to stay in touch, and this was really, really important to them.  We also saw some concerns about mis or disinformation.  Though, interestingly children mainly rely for information on family and friends, and they continued to do that through the pandemic.  But, of course, the information environment provided a challenge to their digital literacy and a lot of what they saw in that was mediated through this social interaction.

And this was a participatory project to ensure children's voices are heard, so at the end we asked them all, what would they like and what do they want their government to know, what do they want to tell them?  They really wanted to talk about child-friendly digital resources and the importance of that.  And, yes, the digital environment is absolutely vital to their rights and their expression and their education, but let us not forget the wealth of kind of cultural and social and personal context that frames.  So, I just leave you a note about the Global Kids Online project that we brought this knowledge to.  We blog not too often, but every now and again with new findings.  It's a good place to get resources about cross-national projects on children online.  And with that, I will stop.  Thank you so much 6789.

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  Thank you very much, Sonia, for the research context.  Let me now turn to Kathrin Morasch representing the youth voice.  Kathrin started as a youth panelist for Quick Safe and took part in several events Safer Internet Forum, Safer Internet Data, Euro DIG and IGF and since then developed interest in digital law and politics.  Welcome, Kathrin, over to you.  Thank you.

   >> KATHRIN MORASCH:  Thank you as well, so the last weeks and days I've been talking to a lot of young people all around Europe about the question of the digital divide and they basically all came up with three main themes and points.  And it is interesting that they really didn't have any connection to the pandemic, which was something which kind of surprised me because also for me, I think it was like the overarching point for the last two years.  But it seemed that for the young people I talked to, this wasn't the point.

So, they kind of tried to outline like the three biggest problems they see, and of course if you know what the problem is you can maybe try to solve it.  So, the first one is something, Sonia, that you also mentioned of course of the education and the educational system.  So, what we saw and what we see is that of course the educational systems around the world are totally different, and that's obviously pretty obvious that this is the point but also, it's pretty obvious that we're saying that it needs more education for many, many years now and I think it's slowly starting, but when you think about media literacy, it is still not at the point that we would like to have it.  Of course, if you are not educated in different points, of course this leads to a really big digital divide of some people educated in it and others that are not, and especially if you have like the, of course, the European outlook but I think also the outlook around the world, I think we also see that there are yet dramatically decreases in the digital divide, which comes back to education.

The second point which was pretty obvious was that young people don't feel that they are taken seriously with.  The one example was that there was one person who was flagging some stuff on -- or reporting some stuff on Instagram, and I think he said that he reported five different things and what is happening is that you get all of those robotic replies and then it took around two weeks to -- that they worked with this request and then the output was I think that one was deleted and the other one they said, I'm sorry, there is too much going on right now and we can't handle your problem.  And what he said is that this for him led to the point that he was -- he didn't understand why they are doing this and it was too difficult to go through this process and what the ultimate end of this is, is that he said that some people, maybe from his friends who are aware that there are different problems with polls, they try to report them but if nothing happens then, afterwards only people that are really into those and into this field and into that we have to do something, will go on with doing this and other people will just take it like this.  And maybe if you then go to them and say, okay, you have to work on your literacy and you have to check out what is going on online, and they are kind of replying that they don't really want to do anything about that anymore.

And so what we also then see is that you really don't have kind of the support from the platforms they are using, but you also don't have support from -- I think I mean we try to give them support from governmental and non-governmental agencies, and we are trying to have helplines and all of that, but a lot of people aren't aware or maybe don't have the phone or whatever to call those helplines if they see something like this on platforms and don't know how to handle it, and then the platforms can't manage them to get them the ideas themselves, so this is also a really big problem.

And of course, the third really big issue, of course, is accessibility.  I think that's also been something that we've been seeing for a lot of years now.  Kind of divided into like, of course, the hardware.  So, we of course want governments to substabilize cost of laptops and tablets within schools and then we also see the connectivity issues, and of course you really need to have good connectivity and reliable applications and devices to work on your school work and to not only do your school work but also be an active part of the society for young people.  The biggest part of the lives is being connected online, and if you don't have the chance, of course, the divide is also there getting bigger and bigger.

And also thinking about software, you dare still also have people who maybe can't afford Microsoft Office programs and I mean they're really, really expensive, especially for families who maybe you know, have to really fight with a lot of their money to get a computer for the whole family, but then also those programs are quite expensive and there is also something where you compromise the education of some people only because they don't have so much money, and of course that again leads to all the problems which can come afterwards.

And also we have the accessibility for some people, you know, especially when you are kind of -- you have a disability and you then go to school and you still have problems throughout your whole normal online and offline life and this also gets more important in the online life that maybe you can't read so much or that you maybe can't understand because it's not in an easy language, or that you just don't understand how programs work and all of that stuff, it also leads to a digital divide there.  So, of course, the bottom line I say is that we see that we have those digital divides within those three biggest problems; and ultimately, I think just really tackling those problems via a big step of governments and society all together can only, yeah, tackle those three problems, so I think that's what our output of the talks the last weeks were 6789.

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  Thank you very much, Kathrin for the youth perspective and identifying these three big problems.  The Greek Safer Internet Center where she's the IT manager, she's PhD candidate at Atlantic Mediterranean University and PhD thesis is about researching AI techniques to eliminate harmful content for children and audiovisual media services online.  Thank you, Evengilia, for being in person and the floor is yours.

>> EVENGILIA:  As Sofia mentioned I'm working for the foundation of research and technology and particularly for the Greek Safer Internet Center, so when it comes to Greece and our theme, of course, the digital divide, as you may have heard in the news, we have a lot of problems.  The first problem is the percentage of poor people in Greece due to the economy, but of course this is worse of course because of the pandemic.  So, this is the first one.  And then we have another issue that we handle, and this is that Greece was in the frontline of the refugee crisis, so as you may have heard, over 120,000 people have entered the borders of Greece from 2015 when this whole crisis started.  And, many thousands of them are still staying in Greece, so these are the two themes that we in the Greek Safer Internet Center have started projects to really support the children that are affected from these two different groups, these two different focus groups we have.  So, I will start with the second one that we recently started during this project where we are focusing on the refugee children and closing the gap, the digital divide that there is with the average child in Greece, and the digital literacy an average child receives in Greece compared to digital literacy that those children already have.

So, we wanted to come close to the children and the only way to do this was to really go to them, and to ask them to like -- not them, of course, the children themselves, but their caregivers.  So, we invited 40 NGOs from Greece and we came together and the facilitators of the Greek children in order to show them, first of all, the material that we have from various themes that we could think that they had -- that they lack of information.  So, but then we didn't know, of course, what the situation was.

So, the first thing we did is showing them the material we have, so this was a process of train the trainer.  So, we trained them in order to train the children.  And after this workshop that we had with those NGOs, we also ran a survey.  So, we asked them what are the real needs of the children?  We have shown you what we have, but now we want you to answer, what is the real problem of these children?  And there was a huge gap there because some of the NGOs answered what are you talking about?  The children have nothing?  These children cannot have any access?  They have no devices, they have nothing.  And then the other answers we got are like oh, excessive use is a problem that we have.  So, it was like we had to balance all of these things.

Another really interesting thing that came up was hate speech, of course.  We have to provide material for hate speech.  We had to provide material for gender violence because of as you understand, we have different cultures, different perspectives of things.  And, yes, these were the different themes they asked us.  Sexting, exchanging of very intimate pictures.  And then the last thing, and most important as I can understand, is that they needed this material in their own languages.  So, we got this request from everybody that, okay, this material is great so thank you for giving it to us and we will pass it on, but still the children have to be able on their own to really understand what is written here apart from us or the translator.  Sometimes we cannot even communicate with them because the translator is not always there.

So, we got a request to translate our material in 15 different languages and dialects, so this is as you understand, very difficult.  But we are in the process now to find translators for at least three languages for the most important themes and to really try to accommodate all the needs -- not all but some of the needs of these children, and to provide for them whatever we can with material and whatever we can for the children.

And for the second problem in Greece, about poverty of course and the pandemic on top of it, while we are in close connection with the municipalities that is the structure that these children come to because some of them don't attend even school.  So, this is our only way to come in contact with the children, the municipalities, the different municipalities of Greece and provide them with, again, with the program of train the trainer and with material we have in our language.  So, these are the two big projects that we ran right now in the Greek Safer Internet Center and I know that all the Safer Internet Centers of Europe and of the Insafe Network are really doing their best to close this gap, the digital divide, and thank you so much for having me today here.  And we will do our best.  Thank you.

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  Thank you so much for giving us the Safer Internet Center perspective on how to approach the digital divide and the example that you gave about the refugees.

And now I'm going to pass the floor to Rodrigo who represents the civil society and Latin American region at the Brazilian Safernet, Rodrigo is E-safety and Awareness Director where he coordinates the national, educational campaigns to promote digital citizenship and e-safety awareness, including Brazilian Safer Internet Day, training trainers, promoting workshops to law enforcement authorities, and strengthening youth participation as Internet governance and public policies agenda related to online privacy and safety.  Welcome, Rodrigo.  The floor is yours.

   >> RODRIGO NEJM:  Hi, good morning, everyone.  Thank you very much for this presentation.  It's a big pleasure to be here again with you all and participate at the IGF.  Well, I will share some perceptions and comments from our work as Civil Society in Brazil, working around human rights and digital citizenship with teenagers and educators but also with many other stakeholders.

And it's key to recognize that for sure the pandemic highlighted the still huge digital exclusion of the poorest families and this makes some reflections about how the use of Internet is connected with all of these challenges and inequalities, both in access but also in abilities to use in a safe and way to use the technology that the only option for many, many activities in the daily life of them.  So, the same violence that we face in the cities and urban violence that we have in Brazil, is reflected when we had this digitalization of many public services and all the schools and space that the families had to go to have their rights and needs.  And this reflection of inequalities and violence were -- it was explicitly regarding children, women, and vulnerable groups that had growing online violence.  We received many more reports from these kind of violations during the pandemic, and another issue that we face in Brazil that is with the social isolation regarding the pandemic, the domestic violence, for example, grows a lot in Brazil.  And also, these vulnerable groups were targeted by online violence in the schools, on meetings, racism and misogyny and all kinds of violence reflected on the space.

One example of how digital literacy is key, not only for children, is that many poor families had received this kind of emergency benefit from the government, and to access there benefit, they had to have offshore applications and access by the cell phone or others, and many probes and scans start to happen with the families, fake offshore apps using these emerging situation to steal and have these more vulnerable communities were again more vulnerable to access digital services without any other alternatives.

The same about the misinformation about the scene and literacy questions.  Here again teenagers and people were key as reference for the families with minimum access to information and minimum conditions to make a quick citizen approach about all of these informations.  And despite that, digital literacy at schools made difference for more vulnerable families in the pandemic period in Brazil.

It's important also for us to highlight that in countries like Brazil, there is not a linear progression in relation to which countries.  It's not about receiving in the future the same digital issues and problems that in Europe or U.S. that you had before.  We must deal with all the issues at the same time with our specific and singular context and respond to that not only locally but also considering global problems.  And as a country, we have a kind of problem with the fragmented public policies and with this change around universal access to the Internet with digital literacy with that.  So, for us, it's important to highlight that how urgent it is to change the approach around digital literacy.  Not only as a change for elementary schools, but we need to raise digital literacy as high priority considering all of these new challenges in the new world of work and impact of artificial intelligence on the dynamics of the cities, for example.

To conclude, it's key to highlight also that the fragility of democracies and all the rise of government is that these respect human rights and threaten the important recent achievements we've had in the laws and regulatory frameworks in Brazil, especially for the digital rights.  It's well known that the multistakeholder approach means sharing responsibilities, and it's strong and secure Civil Society is right to fight for human rights and education and public companies need to reinforce the civic commitment to the well-being of people not just as consumers and markets, but as citizens.  And in Brazil, we feel that the need for more commitment with the companies also.  In times of growing asymmetries of power in different levels of artificial intelligence, we as Civil Society, especially here in Global South, we need to have resilience deal with disruptive dynamics with so many of the technology.  I hope and I believe truly that we can create with digital technologies, disruptive innovations to face economic and social inequalities.  I hope that we can strengthen the human rights and well-being indicators as the base for the complex process of digital creation, transformation, regulation, and why not avoidance of digital technologies that are clearly having bad consequences for our societies.  And I'm sure that we will achieve that, considering your children and vulnerable groups not only to inspire our work as we have here in Safernet but to make changes and to work with us together as different stakeholders to make these changes happen.  And we learned with the pandemic that it's not ideas that we need.  We need actions, we need concrete actions and concrete change in our daily lives, but also at the public policy level to implement change, and not only to conceive and create problems, but to implement that to change our lives on a daily basis.  So that's my first contribution.  Thank you, again, for the opportunity.

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  Thank you very much, Rodrigo, for giving us the Global South perspective on the digital divide and problems that you are facing.  Emmanuel represents architecture community and is a tech expert with extensive experience in the areas of ICT skills and capacity development, boosting and bridging digital skills gap for youth, integration of ICTs into education, and training institutions.  He's currently a program officer at the International Telecommunication Union and he's based in the ITU area office for West Africa, Senegal.  He's the ITU regional focal point for skills and capacity development for Africa, coordinating the work of the ITU Centers of Excellence Network and Digital Transformation Centers in Africa.  Welcome, Emmanuel.  The word is yours.

>> EMMANUEL:  Thank you very much for having me and good morning and good afternoon, everyone.  As already presented, I'm going to probably focus on the work that we are doing with the youth because I happen to be coordinating what we call the nationally connected youth voice, so this is going on ITU youth strategy.  So, the ITU established a digital youth group, and in Africa we have one of the groups, over around 26 young people, and so probably I'm going to start with that because I've been working with them since the beginning of the year, so trying to hear their voices and concerns and their contributions to the work that ITU is doing, but also the concerns of young people in Africa.  So, the sessions that we had with them so that they can come up with like education documents that are going to be shared with the African governments during like regional preparatory meeting of WTDC, ITU conference, and so the youth came together and looked at different thematic priorities and the digital inclusion and digital divide was one of them.  And one thing that came strongly in that direct mention that in Africa the youth feel that -- I mean the governments or other partners should try to achieve universal broadband access, and so they declared that the Internet at the moment should not be considered as auxiliary for the rich people, for the government officials, but it should be considered as a basic human right.  That is the response to what happened during the pandemic where most of the schools were going to online.  So, the issue of Internet came up and the youth felt that the governments, the African governments and other partners were coming together and the Internet should be considered a basic human right such as water, electricity, transports.  Those are the infrastructures that are considered basic infrastructure for all governments, so the Internet infrastructure should also be part of those basic infrastructure requirements.

So, that's what came out of a number of priority actions and stakeholders for a number of priority actions, and probably I'm going to come to that a bit later.  But speaking to my personal experience first, so on the topic of digital divide.  So, first of all, during COVID like schools because we're talking about the digital literacy, the schools went online during the pandemic.  Because the schools, first were closed, and after being closed, the governments and Ministry of Education, they tried to move schools online.  But this was not possible around maybe 95%.  I'm talking about the Africa.  So, one thing that maybe I'm going to talk about on three areas, and the first is access.  So, the first layer or the bottom is access to digital infrastructure.  That is first of all an issue, and where we're seeing a digital divide in that area because the Internet in the cities, I mean the implementation of ICT infrastructure, communication infrastructure, in the big cities it's handled by telecom operators because the business is viable so they can implement.  But in the other parts of Africa, in rural areas, the Internet connectivity is still not possible because the infrastructure for business-oriented telecom operators, it's not viable.  It's not -- they don't get benefits to those rural areas because of the poverty as my peers talked about.  So that lack of access in the other parts of the continent, which again creates a digital divide between the rich and the poor within those hard-to-reach areas or rural areas.

So, then the second layer is on the affordability, even when these access to Internet is not affordable to most of the families, given for example when the COVID started.  So, we all parents, we had our children trying to see what we have for options, switch school from one school to another school so your children can continue pursuing education.  For example, my children were able to get to a school where they could learn online.  But our neighbor’s family members, all the children were out of school.  So, which means fewer children from these families were able to continue, and again also struggling, but were able to continue education-wise and others are left behind.  So that is a divide on another area, on affordability, on affordability of the Internet because you have to pay monthly Internet or data bundles and that, so not many families can afford.  So that's one.  So, it means our children, we can send them to school, but our neighbors’ families, the kids are out of school because they cannot -- not only because they have connectivity because we are all in the same city and we have connectively, but it's not affordable to many families.  That is also another area of digital divide, where you have connectivity but not affordable in terms of paying the Internet and also devices.  I personally had to go and buy laptops for my two daughters.  Not all the families could go and buy laptops, and also send them to a school where they have all the equipment, and I think colleagues said about the platforms where the schools put up platforms.  Not all the schools, those private schools, you know, they have ICT policies, they have ICT infrastructures, ICT platforms and programs they could continue with online education, so that's another area.  First layer is on access where the rural communities, most of those are not connected at all and they're out of school.  The other area is affordability where we have the connectivity in the cities, mainly in the cities, and still some families of some children are not able to attend because they don't have -- they don't afford the connectivity and devices.  That's another area.

So, another third layer is on accessibility, then we will talk about policies, government policies and enabling environment where the ICT and education is adopted, and we are still also working in that space.  Then we are not talking about even those people with disabilities that don't have children, that don't have -- I mean they live with disabilities, I mean they need special programs or and policies enabling education for them.  So that is what I can talk about with the digital divide.  It's a complex in Africa.  But another thing that probably colleagues also have previously, but another issue that I saw in the divide, when I talk about digital literacy, when I talk about literacy, I talk about the children and then maybe the students, but you're not talking about the teachers.  We have an issue in Africa, but the teachers themselves were not ready to teach online.  That's what I'm talking about, in the case of Africa because for example, where the school was a private school where my children were, where they were enrolled.  The pandemic.  The private school tried to put in platforms but the teachers were not able, they were not equipped to conduct the teaching online.  So, they were used to teaching in person.  When we talk about digital literacy, I think we need another area of capacity development and skills development of teachers to be able to conduct teaching.  Because many schools were out in the cities were closed because not only because they have access, probably even the parents might have afforded the devices, but the teachers themselves are not equipped enough to learn -- I mean to get together and run online courses because they're not prepared.  The pandemic came abruptly and they were not prepared for that.

That's what I could say, but then coming back to the youth, the advice they are giving to the governments.  I meant to come back later on that, but the first to achieve universal access, the code for governments, private sector, Civil Society, to come together to have holistic approach on infrastructure development first because this cannot be done by the private sector because we know the private sector is not interested to go into the rural areas and that's where we need governments and others to facilitate those partnerships to come up with innovative solutions to extend connectivity to the hard-to-reach areas.

But then also again building skills.  The ITU now we have a program called the digital Transformation centers where we partner with governments to develop skills at the basic and intermediate level and focusing mostly importantly on rural communities, vulnerable communities.  So, I think I will stop there by now and I'm happy to share more as we move on in the session.  Thank you very much and back to you.

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  Thank you very much, Emmanuel for your input and to all panelists.  You will have a chance to provide comments later.

But before we would like to find some time for you to discuss in separate groups about different aspects that need to be taken into consideration when tackling digital divide and the importance of mainstreaming digital literacy.  That said, you now have a chance to join the breakout rooms online and on site and have the possibility to discuss the following questions.  What can be learned from the COVID-19 pandemic?  If something similar like the COVID pandemic happens again, are we ready to respond?  What action points should be followed by the respective stakeholders from the public and private sector?  And share any good practices from your country that tackle digital inequality as well as social and economic inequality.

So, depending on the time that we have, and now we have more or less 15 minutes to discuss.  I would like to ask for the breakout rooms.  You should nominate a reporter that will bring back the key ideas of your discussion.  So, as I said, the discussion will take about 15 minutes, and afterwards we'll be back in the plenary for final feedback and takeaways.  I will ask the technical help if they can do two breakout rooms online for 15 minutes, please.  No?  It's working or not?  Yes?

   >> SABRINA VORBAU:  Yes, I think now.  Thank you, Sofia.

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  Thank you very much.  15 minutes we have.

   >> SABRINA VORBAU:  We have 7 people now who has the opportunity also to unmute themselves and if you want to share your video, please.  So maybe I can post the first question, which is what can be learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, so we of course have our speakers with us, but also other participants, I see, have joined this breakout session.  So, yeah, floor is yours.  If you're not able to use your microphone, you can also write in the chat.

Anyone who would like to kick off lessons learned in regards to the digital divide and the COVID-19 pandemic.

>> Thank you so much.  I think what we all learned is that our education system is not ready for pandemic, such as like the COVID-19, so we need what we learned is that we need to configure or review our education system from the primary level to the tertiary level --

(joining separate breakout group).

(captioner standing by).

>> Hello.  I just joined the discussion.  I'm sorry.  What did I miss?  What topic in particular are we discussing in this particular group, in this room?  Can someone brief me?  Would anybody -- is anybody interested to brief me?


>> Interesting you have a name.  Internet displaced people.  Okay.  So, I didn't understand, so why are the people Internet displaced people?

>> Attacks.

>> Political attacks?  Okay.

>> To the urban.

>> And they need to move to another region?

>> Yes.

>> So, they are kind of refugees.

>> Yes.

>> In Nigeria you mentioned?  Okay.  Of course, you have the same problem but from another point of view, so you're the ones who are living.  You are trying to -- okay.  This is a huge problem.  So, are you trying to tackle this problem?  Do you have in place any measures for, I don't know, the problem must be even political, I guess?  A higher problem?  I don't know.

>> The first is together in mobile shelter, then we provide the Internet, then provide.

>> Yes, provide the teacher, yeah.

>> So, the children are receiving the education through this mobile -- through I mean like this caravan or mobile camp or something?

>> Exactly.

>> They have access to the Internet in this mobile facility as well?

>> They do a little.

>> A little bit.  Yes.

>> (Speaking off mic).

>> Yeah.  Okay.

>> At the end of the day the money can't buy the solution.  (Speaking off mic).

>> In terms of provision of the infrastructure, money can buy, why not?

>> How do we make the money come to digital literacy?

>> By infrastructure.  Put in place necessary infrastructure of people to fill in the gap.  Yeah.

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  But then you also need digital literacy, so you need to have teachers that can teach the children and the young people how to use safely the Internet and the devices that they are exploring.

   >> AUDIENCE MEMBER:  You need money to buy the devices.  You need money to pay for resources.  So, money can buy.

>> Money helps, indeed, if you ask me, too.  I'm sorry.  I'm sorry.

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  It's part of solving the problem.

>> It's part, indeed, but sometimes.

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  Then you have the capacity, all the capacity building also to now of how to use correctly the Internet and how to be safer online.

>> And of course, now in the pandemic, when we have this emerging situation, then sometimes even money's not enough to close the gap because of trying to very fast close holes but it's only like you mentioned, it's like --

   >> AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Yes, but speaking about the pandemic and the situation here I think is much worse than the pandemic because you have a lot of camps like these of people who are escaping their own countries.

>> Uh-huh.  The same in Greece.

   >> AUDIENCE MEMBER:  They find themselves in situations where they don't have access and the children have access, even to education sometimes, so it's the pandemic, but then there are other situations which are much worse.

>> Exactly.  And sometimes we're focused on the pandemic and pandemic and forget that okay there is a pandemic, there is a virus, okay, but we are doing whatever we can about this.  But then we have some bigger problems, and people have really bigger problems when they're escaping their country and now, they have nothing.

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  And those situations were before -- they were there already before the pandemic, so it's something that we also need to take into account when we think about the access.  Yes, of course.  Of course.

   >> AUDIENCE MEMBER:  But seriously is there anything in this world that you can do without money?  Is there anything at all?  Seriously?  Is there anything at all that you can do without funding?  I don't think there is anything without funding.  It is essential, that's what I believe.

   >> AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I agree with that, but I should say that the problem is to get the funding.  Need people with money to convince them that the real problem is to invest in digital literacy, that's who you need to talk to.

   >> AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Yeah.  Yeah.

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  But you think that it's easier to convince people to invest in accessibility and to give device to people than to invest in?

   >> AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I think any of those.

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  Okay.  They're all at the same level.  Yes.

   >> AUDIENCE MEMBER:  At the end of the day, they need to see the benefits are for them as well.

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  Yes, the big picture.

   >> AUDIENCE MEMBER:  The more people connected eventually in the long run is better for business and whatever they want, but for them to see the impact, the ROI on their investment, I think that's one of the big issues, isn't it?

>> And also, I think we ended up with a lot of families not able to provide a descent education during the pandemic because they didn't feel the need to have access to a laptop, for example, and they only gave devices to their children like a mobile phone, like a mobile device but not proper laptop to do research for school and all of this.

And then you know we have these families and trying to explain to them you need an actual device to connect to online lessons and so if devices were provided, there was funding for devices, then I think there would be still be families that wouldn't see the need.  Why do I need a laptop when I can do anything from the mobile device?  Yes, please.

   >> AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Speaking off mic).  I'm sorry.  I hope you can hear me.  I'm coming from an organization called the Africa Digital Rights Hub and I wanted to say that in discussing these digital divides, especially from the developing country perspective, we need to also stress the importance of exploring the appropriate use of universal access funds to support because these are some of the reasons why universal access fund have been developed, and these are funds that usually people or MNOs contribute a certain percentage to help reach unserved and underserved areas, and I think that in order to bridge that gap, he's right that it's all about money and it's all about making these things available, and there are always places and communities where businesses would never see it as, you know, a business priority to get there.  And so we really need to explore how these funds can all equally be used, you know, because in the past it was used to provide telephone access in areas and in some countries, it's being used to also provide some form of community information centers and the like, and I think that it is also very important that we explore how we can use some of these funds to enable digital literacy and bridge that digital divide.

>> So, what do we have right now from takeaways?  I mean up until now, we can discuss upon the takeaways if you have.

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  How much time do we still have?

>> 15 minutes has passed, yes?

>> (Speaking off mic).

>> There was another question which was if something similar like the COVID pandemic happens again, are we ready to respond?  I think Alex answered that when he said kind of that we can never be ahead, sort of.

>> Don't want to be like doom's day.

>> Not doom's day but kind of, you know, we can never, I mean I think this has taught us a lesson.

>> I agree, if you want, I mean I totally agree that we have to be constantly behind events and run behind them, of course.  That's what we actually do, so it should be the other way around, but that requires maybe that younger people and children are provided with skills like how do you say, like general skills of proactively -- I try to find the words.

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  So, we have the participants back?  From the breakout rooms?  I hope you had a productive discussion, so now I will invite the reporters to give us a brief report back.  So, perhaps I'll start here with our reporter, can you please give us takeaways from our discussion here, please.

>> On-site reporter:  Yes, so basically, we have concluded, and let's say that money can actually buy you digital literacy.  So we mentioned that it is important, obviously, that children have access to devices and that they have access to the Internet, and there are some countries around the world who don't have this either due to political reasons because of political situations, for example, our friend from Nigeria mentioned the Internet displaced people and these are having access to the Internet and to education through a mobile camp due to political attacks, so we've seen how important also, apart from the pandemic, how there are other situations whereby children are being -- are not having the rights to education and to proper Internet access.

We also -- it was also mentioned that we need to try to keep ahead of situations, although it is not always possible to prevent and to be kind of -- we cannot be ready for every kind of situation, a little bit with the pandemic that we weren't ready.  So, we're a step behind sometimes when these things happen and we need to have something in place in case there is another pandemic or another situation which brings us, I mean where we need to find another solution.

Okay.  And then another important point mentioned by Alex from Brazil was also the fact that he noticed from when he returned to college how the young people were feeling strange, I think you mentioned, and they had lost the connection.  Not only the physical connection, but also with the fact that they couldn't connect with each other also online, they also lost all forms of connection.  So, it was like being strangers and lost the feeling of belonging et cetera.  I think those are the main points that came out of our session.

>> And the fundings.  So that it is important for all of these countries too.

>> On-site moderator:  Appropriate use of funds.  Yes.  Appropriate use of funds.  Thank you.

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  Thank you.  Now we can go online.  Are you the reporter, Sabrina?

   >> SABRINA VORBAU:  Yes, I can be the reporter for our group, which was a very, very small group mostly composed of the speakers, but we had nonetheless a very nice discussion.  So, one of the takeaways is that it's pretty clear, or the discussion we had already is pretty clear that the educational system was not ready for the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.  It came very fast and there was no time.  In money countries schools closed almost immediately so people were not really ready for it 6789.

Then it was also mentioned by one of the speakers that we do learn that in crisis we change and we try to adapt as much as possible, and in many countries, there was a response, but also in many countries, the crisis response was not approached in a multistakeholder manner, and also didn't necessarily prioritize human rights or human rights were not taken into consideration.

And Sonia made a very good point and said that educators or schools were not ready for the pandemic, but certainly industry was.  They were ready to promote.  They took the pandemic as an occasion to promote big tech and she highlighted a very important point of the crucial role of procurement because the responses for many governments was to immediately provide a framework to the private sectors, to the tech companies, but then for example a children's rights framework was not necessarily taken into consideration as well.

So, of course, we need the technology in a situation such as the COVID-19 pandemic, but we need to improve to take other aspects into consideration, just for example like children's rights.  And another point in this regard was also mentioned that a more ethical approach needs to be taken from big tech but also from smaller startups who are just entering the scene as well, so that's quite crucial.  We also talked a bit about the role of for example non-governmental organizations like European School Net that I represent but also the key role of Safer Internet Centers because a couple of the centers are indeed linked to ministries, ministries of education or other ministries at the national level and really play a key role to ensure that, for example, topics of children's rights, health and well-being are taken into consideration and provide materials in this regards as well, so it's not only about the giving and teaching children and young people of how to get online but also navigate the Internet in a safe space, and also create empathy and make sure that these kind of issues are also taken into consideration 6789 this is a bit of conversation that we had, and we mostly got stuck, actually, on the first question, but I think we got quite a lot out of it.

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  Thank you, Sabrina.  How about the second.

   >> KATHRIN MORASCH:  Yeah.  I think maybe that I made some notes, but Emmanuel please jump in or also the others, please jump in real quick if I have something wrong.

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  5 minutes, Kathrin.

   >> KATHRIN MORASCH:  No, no, it's not so much because we only focused on one question 6789 so what we first talked about is that in cases like this, of course, we now had this pandemic which led to all the stuff we now know where the problems were, but we also talked about that we have to have some warning systems in place for the problems we now saw, but we also have warning systems for the future, that we in the future don't see a pandemic to see where the problems are but we'll see them from the beginning.  And that if we see the increase of cases of problems, that we can have a good response and also quick information on those points also we have to upgrade protocols in the private sector so all the processing and all the ways that you have to go into the public sector are loosened up and introduce digital platforms there so it's all a bit easier to attend and also this would be probably bridging the digital divide if it's easier for everyone.

And then also we had the example of how the private sector was using their own resources in this whole point and also giving their money for education and for ideas.  I think those were like the three points we talked about; and also, we really had to question if money maybe is helping in this, so yeah, that was real quick what we were talking about.

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  Thank you, Kathrin.  Someone has something they would like to add?

>> EMMANUEL:  Just about the second question since you brought up the second question.  I think if another pandemic, if a similar pandemic comes, we're still not ready to respond.  Probably in the case of Africa, during the COVID-19, I can say maybe 98% of schools and students were out of school.  Probably if another one comes, we might get maybe to 95 or maybe 90% but that's not good percentage.  We might maybe because we have private schools trying to implement and government is also putting foot down, so we might have the number of students out of school, but not to where we want to be.  It was 98% and if another pandemic comes, we have 90% of children and students out of school so we're not ready yet and that means there is a lot to be done from the government side and private coming together.  Money cannot solve everything.  The money cannot solve everything.  The private sector put in everything, but the students, parents, teachers are not ready to go online.  We need to train, teachers and children, and I mean digital literacy, there are a whole of things that need to be done to be where we are so maybe that's what I can add at this point.  We're not ready yet 6789.

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  Thank you, Emmanuel.  Now, I don't know, Sabrina, do you have some questions from the online participants that you would like to address to our panelists?

   >> SABRINA VORBAU:  We don't have any questions written so far in the chat, but we can encourage once again participants to do so or maybe raise their hands and I'm sure we could also bring them in if they have any questions or comments for our speakers.

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  Here on site, would you like to address any questions to our panelists?  Thank you.  So, we start from here, Sabrina.

   >> AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Hey, everyone, how is it going.  I'm Alex from the digital rights explore podcast and I'm going to kind of repeat myself here, but I think these are good topics to discuss on because I'm wondering now how to make, you know, digital literacy appealing.  Can money solve it, can't money solve it?  I think the difficult thing is to, you know, engage with the stakeholders and make them understand that you know what, digital literacy is actually worth it, and we should focus on this and it's one of the best things that we can do for the future of our societies, children, teenagers, even adults.  So, I would like to hear a little bit of the experiences of you and how have you been doing that in your own projects to kind of secure that funding for the long run and maybe engage with the public sector as well and all of that?  Thank you.

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  Thank you.  Thank you.  So, from the panelists, who would like to answer to this or to comment?

   >> SONIA LIVINGSTONE:  May I kick off?

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  Yes, thank you, Sonia, please.

   >> SONIA LIVINGSTONE:  Thank you.  It's a great question and one that I've thought a lot about.  So, when I talk to children and young people mainly in Britain, they are really tired, (Laughing), of the idea that what digital literacy means is the same e-safety lesson over and over again.  It's not that they don't care about safety or safety online, but they feel as if they are -- they get a message over and again which says that you are responsible.  If something goes wrong, we will blame you.  It's a big bad world and it falls on your shoulders.  And so the message has become very simple and very repeated and children roll their eyes.  But a project that I did for our data protection authority a couple of years ago, I went into schools and I asked them about data literacy and privacy literacy, and what they wanted to know.  They were so enthusiastic!  They wanted to know so many things, where does the data go, who gets the data when they die, what happens -- does the digital footprint go to the future employer?  How do they find out these things?  How can they?  They wanted to know many things.  I think young people are very enthusiastic to learn about the digital world and they feel it's their right and they feel it's their world, but they know that it's complex and people are not telling them the answers they want to be about e-safety in relation to relationships, sex education, pornography, all the things that adults are too embarrassed to tell them, that's what they want to know.

So, if we were to -- and this is an important body of knowledge, and so I think you know it starts with the questions that kids have, and then let's stop patronizing them and making them feel responsible, and they are ready to learn.  I really believe that.

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  Thank you so much.

   >> RODRIGO NEJM:  I just want to add, if possible, that everyone sometimes is feeling powerless, and we especially facing big tech companies, and sometimes faces government and users and citizens are feeling powerless.  What can I do?  And remember that we as users also have some power, not only responsibility, but as consumers even in our systems we have powers to consume or not consume something, and all of these broad education about the roles and responsibilities around consumers is important also to not leave that only for specialized like this one that we have to skills but to make more larger a discussion about what we consume when we are talking about technologies and what changes for our lives that are interconnected with all other areas of our lives.  So, bring be these more larger conversation about life and what we consume and what we choose in daily basis could be interesting also just adding that point that Sonia brings that when we start talking about what we need and what they want to know and discuss, it's really nice and you can after that invite them to reflect about this more large responsibility that we share.

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  Thank you, Rodrigo.  And before closing today's workshop, I would like to ask our technical support if they could pass the video that we gave to you, please.  It's a video that Rodrigo sent to us with the youth Global South voices.  Thank you.

Thank you, Rodrigo for getting this video.  Now I will invite Emmanuel for the last words that he also has some words from the Africa youth that you would like to share with us?

>> EMMANUEL:  I'm going to read out from the youth of Africa followed by ITU, achieve universal broadband access for all in Africa, the Internet is no more a luxury and is a basic human right.  Governments and partners should provide financial support to innovations that take into consideration the needs of marginalized groups and people with disabilities.  Creation of communities due to local ambassadors that help promote digital services in schools, communities, and help address the digital literacy in their countries.  Create multistakeholder collaboration and partnership platforms to holistically address the digital skills gaps by giving youth access to digital skills training problems not only for schools and online training but to be expanded to include in-person training and trainers for citizens and peer-to-peer ebbing changes, and establish sustainable digital hubs with free Internet and computer access and stable electricity to enable the youth to have access to different digital opportunities ranging from online training programs to online jobs.  Digital hubs, young will be motivated to develop innovative solutions to communities and transfer digital skills to other youth in their communities.  And provide an enabling environment, policies and regulations for youth for all backgrounds to have access to Internet services and acquire data skills.  Thank you.

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  Thank you, Emmanuel.  I would like to thank all the panelists for the amazing interventions, and to finish, Kathrin, the floor is yours.  Like a tweet.  What would you like to say?

   >> KATHRIN MORASCH:  I will be real quick.  We just heard from Emmanuel what great ideas young people and children are having about all of the problems we just talked about, so basically I think my last word would be that governments and industry need to take those issues and problems which are raised and also the ideas to tackle them really seriously and involve young people from all over the world with different cultural backgrounds, educational backgrounds, and family backgrounds in the process so that's also something that we are trying at the moment to put young people into youth advisory boards and to advise governments and industry on that because you know like we are the future and we're the vehicle of change, and we have great ideas to tackle all of those problems.  So, please do invite us into the process.  I guess that's it.

   >> SOFIA RASGADO MONTEIRO:  Thank you very much Kathrin.  I think you did a very, very good outtake from this workshop.  Well, me as coordinators of the Portuguese Safer Internet and here with my colleague from Greece and my colleague from Malta, there is a last word that we would like to say to invite all of you to celebrate the Safer Internet Day that next year will be on the 8 of February, so it's a huge be day for us to raise awareness on how to be safe online and about digital literacy.  So thanks a lot, everyone, for being here today with us.  I wish you a pleasant day.  Thank you.