IGF 2023 WS #309 Right to be heard: promoting children’s voices in the IGF

Organizer 1: Thaís Rugolo, 🔒Alana Institute
Organizer 2: Maria Góes de Mello, 🔒
Organizer 3: João Coelho, 🔒

Speaker 1: Stella Anne Ming Hui Teoh, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Awo Aidam Amenyah, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 3: Elias Haig, Private Sector, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 4: Kruakae Pothong, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 5: Rodrigo Nejm, Technical Community, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Maria Góes de Mello, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Online Moderator

João Coelho, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Thaís Rugolo, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Panel - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

A. As children constitute a significant portion of global internet users, their participation in forums, debates, research, and consultations related to digital governance is still limited. What are the obstacles that need to be overcome to integrate children into these spaces?

B. Which perspectives of inclusion should be considered to better promote children’s listening on the Internet governance forum?

C. What paths should be taken, and which stakeholders should be involved, to increase children's participation in digital governance debates?

What will participants gain from attending this session? Participants will gain a comprehensive understanding of the historical participation of children in the IGF, through a critical analysis conducted by a young person. Also, they will engage with researchers and experts directly involved in listening to and promoting the voices of children, empowering them for a better digital exercise and, on the other hand, the capacitation of governments and businesses to address the presence of vulnerable individuals within the digital. The participants will also understand which are the obstacles to be overcome, and the strategies already implemented, and be inspired for initiatives to amplify the voices of children, both through the Internet Governance Forum and regionally in the digital governance policies process.


Youth participation in Internet governance has been gradually increasing each year. The history of the Internet Governance Forum demonstrates a progressive transformation in terms of the space and importance given to promoting young people's involvement. However, the participation of children in Internet governance processes remains unequal, despite General Comment 25 indication that digital means the opportunity for children expression of views. The purpose of this session is to discuss strategies and opportunities to ensure the inclusion of children as not only digital content creators or consumers on the Internet but also as significant stakeholders. Drawing from the experience and perspectives of the speakers, the session will explore the historical participation of youth in the IGF and discuss pertinent examples of children listening and involvement in regional research and studies on the Internet. Ultimately, the session will propose ways to amplify the voices of the most vulnerable in the Internet governance system, both regionally and globally, taking into consideration regional inequalities developments and socio-economic contexts. The aim is to foster collaborative and inclusive digital governance.

Expected Outcomes

The expected outcomes of the session include raising awareness among the Internet Governance Forum audience of the importance of children's participation and listening in digital governance processes. It also aims to inspire sessions, initiatives, and practices that can enhance the promotion of children's voices within the IGF and decision-making processes related to digital governance. The organization intends to publish a report summarizing the discussions with the goal of guiding best practices.

Hybrid Format: The workshop will be conducted in thre steps: First, onsite moderator will have 5 minutes for opening remarks, introduce panelists and explaing session dynamic and attendees participation. Next, the onsite moderator will ask each one of them a specific question related to the stakeholder group they represent, in order to address the policy questions that lead the session. Panelists will also have 8 minutes each to answer that question.
The next 30 minutes of the workshop will be dedicated to answering questions and debating with the online and onsite audience. The online and onsite moderators, from the start of the workshop, will encourage participants to send questions and notes on their views. Also, the questions to be asked will be alternated: from the onsite and online audience. The final 5 minutes will be conducted by the online moderator, that will address points highlighted by the online audience.