Organizer 1: Sabrina Vorbau, European Schoolnet/ Insafe
Organizer 2: Rodrigo Nejm, Safernet
Organizer 3: Joachim Kind, Safer Internet Centre Germany / klicksafe
Organizer 4: Sofia Rasgado Monteiro, Portuguese Safer Internet Centre | National Cybersecurity Centre
Speaker 1: Sonia Livingstone, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Magdalena Duszyńska , Civil Society, Eastern European Group
Speaker 3: Kathrin Morasch, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Ida Jallow, Technical Community, African Group
Speaker 5: Niels Van Paemel, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
- Evangelia Daskalaki, Technical Manager at the Greek Safer Internet Centre
- Emmanuel Niyikora Programme Officer at ITU Area Office for West Africa, Dakar-Senegal
Sabrina Vorbau, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Sofia Rasgado Monteiro, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Joachim Kind, Intergovernmental Organization, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Break-out Group Discussions - Flexible Seating - 90 Min
Social inequality and the pandemic: What can be learned from the COVID-19 pandemic context about the relationship between digital inequality and social and economic inequality? Similarly, what lessons can be drawn with respect to the pandemic and Internet-related human rights? What does this suggest about policy approaches for digitalisation and digital inclusion?
Inclusion, rights and stakeholder roles and responsibilities: What are/should be the responsibilities of governments, businesses, the technical community, civil society, the academic and research sector and community-based actors with regard to digital inclusion and respect for human rights, and what is needed for them to fulfil these in an efficient and effective manner?
This session aims to address relevant issues that fall under the Main Focus Area: Economic and social inclusion and human rights. In this regard, the workshop will discuss the overarching challenge of the digital divide. More specifically, looking into economic and social inclusion in the field of digital literacy, the digital divide is a widespread concept we cannot go past.
In line with this, and amongst other issues such as social inequality and inclusion the workshop will also discuss roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders. That said, the organization team composed of experts from central and south Europe and experts from the global south (Brazil) will present key speakers from different stakeholder groups and geographical areas including:
• Sonia Livingstone (West Europe) representing academia. • Magdalena Duszyńska (East Europe/Host country) as practitioner working with vulnerable groups (e.g. children and young people and people with disabilities). • Kathrin Morasch (West Europe/Youth) representing the Youth IGF. • Ida Jallow (Africa area/ Tech Community) from the ITU Regional Office for Africa in Addis Ababa. • Niels Van Paemel (West Europe/civil society) from the Belgian Safer Internet Centre – Child Focus.
Key speakers will set the scene, addressing the policy questions selected above outlining existing risks and challenges but also proposing opportunities to further close the digital divide. Additional, and more specific questions that will be addressed during the workshop are listed in section 7 (Expected Outcomes).
Targets: As our proposal is addressing the overarching topic of the digital divide a range of SDG Targets will be covered during our workshop session. Primarily, the discussion will draw up on the SDG 4 (Quality Education) and 10 (Reduced inequalities) to propose according solutions and approaches to close the digital divide and national but also global level. However, presenting a very diverse group of key speakers from different stakeholder groups (namely academia, tech community, civil society, and youth participation) SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) and SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) will also be touched up during the discussion. Ultimately, the session will aim to draft action points that promote SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being) especially when being online.
When we are talking about economic and social inclusion in the field of digital literacy, the digital divide is a widespread concept we cannot go past. 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.
Groups identified as being especially disadvantaged in their uptake of online media / digital literacy include people with low income, education, or literacy levels, the unemployed, elderly or disabled people and women and girls. Although there is recent research indicating that differences in access have narrowed, another second-level digital divide, focusing on differences in how social and cultural groups make use of Internet content and applications on social media including SNS, Wikipedia, and blogs, is looming.
On social media, users with the necessary technical knowledge can produce and edit online content. However, despite the advantages provided by Web 2.0, people without the ability to use the applications would be excluded from the communication process. Moreover, there is increasing evidence that some individuals who have or could have access are choosing not to participate fully in the Internet communications revolution.
The workshop will focus on inclusion, but paradoxically also on detecting vulnerable groups and different ways of co-creating successful prevention of this digital divide in means of digital literacy. Do national education systems have a big role to play here or is this merely a parental responsibility? Are there different stakeholders to take into account? What is the potential role of industry within this strive for equality?
The session will discuss the role of economic, social and cultural capital within the current digital divide. How is media- and digital literacy predicted by these types of capital 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.
Who should be the most important (vulnerable?) groups to target within prevention? Or does inclusive prevention mean not having to set up parallel systems? While different opinions will remain on what instruments/measurements are the most appropriate to achieve this, it should become clearer which initiatives/resources are available to support more awareness and education in this area.
In terms of format, the session will be organized as a facilitated dialogue. Led by the moderator, the workshop will kick-off with a 30 minutes high-level introductory panel discussion.
Each key speaker will give a short statement highlighting their perspective on the topic, outlining the opportunities and challenges of digital literacy as a capital skill against digital divide (see further details in section 6 - Description). Following the introductory panel, different break-out group discussion will take place in order to pro-actively involve all participants in the debate. For 30 minutes different break-out groups will be led by the key speakers from civil society, academia, the tech community and the Youth IGF, in order to fully fulfill the multi-stakeholder approach, respecting as well gender, age and geographical balance.
Break-out group discussions will evolve around the policy questions mentioned in section 3 and more specifically in section 7 (Expected outcomes). Outcomes of these discussions will then be shared in plenary afterwards. The workshop will conclude with final closing remarks by the key speakers and takeaways summarized by the onsite moderator and rapporteur.
In addition, the online moderator will ensure that remote participants are able to communicate questions to the onsite moderator throughout the whole debate.
Complementary to this, a social media campaign on Twitter will help to give further visibility to the session. Live tweeting during the session will open the discussion to a wider online audience and will give remote participants the possibility to get directly involved in the debate.
Usage of IGF Official Tool. Additional Tools proposed: Complementary to the online remote participation, a social media campaign on Twitter will help to give further visibility to the session both prior, during and after the event. In addition to the generic event hashtag a dedicated workshop hashtag will be developed by the organizers.
Live tweeting during the session will open the discussion to a wider online audience and will give remote participants the possibility to get directly involved in the debate. In addition to the online moderator, the organizer will nominate a representative from the organization team to monitor and respond to conversations on Twitter throughout the whole workshop.
In addition, online tools such as Miro or Mentimeter will be taken into consideration to foster maximum engagement of all participants (online and offline) throughout the workshop.
Accessibility should be considered as a basic human right! Not a luxury. Key is that a lot of societal and economic problems like poverty were even more visible during the pandemic. Society should reflect on the human violence against children, young people, women, minorities and vulnerable people transmitted by the digital networks.
The educational system which is totally different in many regions of the world, was not prepared at all for the pandemic. Young people got the feeling that they are not really taken serious in many aspects of digital life, i.e. flagging process. Lack of accessibility: To be able to play an active role in society, you need „being connected“ to the society.
We need to invite the youth to come in this discussion. The creation of youth ambassadors is crucial, to promote a multi stakeholder initiative, establish digital youth hubs.
More Online Education – The majority of children felt that education had been better before the pandemic. Here is a big challenge for digital literacy.
Following the introduction of the moderator, key speakers set the scene by responding to the following question: “Challenge the digital divide. What does your stakeholder group and/or region demand to bridge the digital divide?”
Sonia Livingstone from LSE, representing the academic kicked-off by highlighting that technology can complement education but should not dominate it.
Following Kathrin Morasch, BIK Youth Ambassador from Germany and Youth IGF representative, echoed the voice of young people, raising three major problems young people see in regard to the digital divide:
1. Educational systems are so very different across the world, and need fundamental improvements. And we have been saying this for many years.
2. Young people don’t feel they are taken seriously. She gave the example of a young person reporting content on social media, but only got robotic replies. Youth feels discouraged by these actions, and feel they don’t get any support from platforms.
3. Accessibility and connectivity is crucial for young people and should be a basic human right.
Next up Evangelia Daskalaki, Technical Manager at the Greek Safer Internet Centre, bringing in the local perspective and work the SIC does at regional level. The digital divide is big in Greece she says, also because Greece was in the frontline of the refugee crisis. In addition, many children are coming from lower socio-economic background. And that’s the challenge the Greek SIC is facing in regard to the digital divide. Hence, the work the Greek SIC does is crucial, trying to provide educational materials also taking into account language barriers of refugee children and cultural difference. In this regard the Greek SIC works with other national NGOs and municipalities, in rural areas and islands.
Following, Rodrigo Nejm, Coordinator of SafeNet Brasil, bringing in the perspective of the global south. He mentioned that the pandemic highlighted the big difference in regard to accessibility but also capability of people navigating the internet in a considered and safe way. In this regard he also highlighted that digital literacy is key not only for children and young people but also adults. This became especially clear with the amount of fake news circulating online throughout the pandemic.
Moreover, he pointed to the huge inequality in Latin America especially when looking at vulnerable groups such as children and women that often are the main target of sexual violence, hate speech and other issues in this area. Hence, it is key to outline once again the importance of digital literacy for all, as it fosters fundamental aspects such has human rights and bridges inequalities. Multi-stakeholder approach means a shared responsibility!
Lastly Emmanuel Niyikora Programme Officer at ITU Area Office for West Africa, Dakar-Senegal presented the work he does at national level and with youth in Africa. Moreover, he stated that accessibility should be considered as a basic human right! Not a luxury! However, accessing the digital infrastructure is a huge challenge in Africa, especially in the rural areas, as internet services providers only operate in big cities. Hence, access to internet is not affordable to many citizens in Africa and also schools struggled to provide remote teaching during the pandemic. Which made the digital divide even more visible at national level. Furthermore, he pointed out training teachers is another layer we need to take into consideration when discussing the digital divide.
Next, participants were able to gather in smaller groups online and onsite, to discuss the following questions:
1. What can be learned from the Covid-19 pandemic?
2. If something similar like the Covid pandemic happens again, are we ready to respond?
3. What action points should be followed by the respective stakeholders from the public and private sector?
4. Please share any good practices from your country that tackle digital inequality as well as social and economic inequality.
Results from break-out discussions:
Break out 1 (onsite) – results
• Yes, money can buy digital literacy – because we need a fund to buy proper devices. It is not possible to be educated on a mobile phone.
• No, money cannot buy digital literacy – we have to focus immensely on the social, psychological and emotional problems children have during the pandemic
• We need to be aware oft he situation that we cannot be always ready, so a constant fund for quality devices is needed.
• Participant from Nigeria is mentioning the huge problem of „internet displacd people“, people who have to become refugees in their own country because of internet violence.
• Alex from Brazil is recognising the huge social and emotional factor – that young people are losing their boundaris and becoming estranged to their fellow boys and girls.
Break out 2 (online) – results
• Educational system was not ready to change to a quality digital education.
• We learn that in crisis we learn, we learn to change.
• Human rights are very often not taken into consideration during moments of crisis.
• We have to highlight the crucial role of the big tech companies and yes, big tech was prepared – big tech should be taken more into responsibility.
• Key role of Safer Internet Centres talking about social wellbeing, mental health, etc.
Break out 3 (online) – results
• If there will be a next pandemic (actually this one has not finished so far – remark by rapporteur), we are not prepared , we are not ready again.
• We should include more the public sector and the industry.
• Sonia Livingstone: Children in UK are tired of the usual eSafety lessons teaching „you are responsible“, „you got the duty“, but young people are enthousiastic about digital questions when it comes to relationship, their own privacy etc. and stop patronising, young people are so much ready to learn.
Takeaways/call for action from session:
• The Digital Divide is a widespread phenomenon which became even worth in the pandemic.
• Online Education – The majority of children felt that education had been better before the pandemic. Here is a big challenge for digital literacy.
• Key is that a lot of societal and economic problems like poverty were even more visible during the pandemic. Society should reflect on the human violence against children, young people, women, minorities and vulnerable people transmitted by the digital networks.
• We should use the digital revolution for a change and discuss a much larger conversation of life.
• We need to invite the youth to come in this discussion.
• Digital devices are not only for fun and entertainment but to take action for a better society.
• Accessibility should be considered as a basic human right! Not a luxury
• The creation of youth ambassadors is crucial, to promote a multi stakeholder initiative, establish digital youth hubs.
Youth requests that were specifically mentioned:
• The educational system which is totally different in many regions of the world, was not prepared at all for the pandemic.
• Young people got the feeling that they are not really taken serious in many aspects of digital life, i.e. flagging process.
• Lack of accessibility: To be able to play an active role in society, you need „being connected“ to the society.
The session concluded with a nice video put together by young people from Brasil, demanding their needs to bridge the digital divide: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1irRBO28mWq6UM6tXS7bZnqrZCo-Pf-br/view
Furthermore, a final call for action made by Kathrin: Involve youth in policy making processes and your advisory boards.