IGF 2023 WS #63 Intergenerational Dialogue on Digital Harms & Online Safety


Cybersecurity, Cybercrime & Online Safety
Child Online Safety
New Technologies and Risks to Online Security
Online Hate Speech and Rights of Vulnerable People

Organizer 1: Ananya Singh, USAID Digital Youth Council
Organizer 2: Vallarie Wendy Yiega, 🔒
Organizer 3: Man Hei Connie Siu, 🔒International Telecommunication Union
Organizer 4: Keolebogile Rantsetse, 🔒
Organizer 5: Neli Odishvili, CEO of Internet Development Initiative

Speaker 1: Matthew Watson, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Man Hei Connie Siu, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Edmon Chung, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 4: Emma Day, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 5: Anastasiia Agarkova, Civil Society, Eastern European Group


Ananya Singh, Government, Asia-Pacific Group

Online Moderator

Keolebogile Rantsetse, Technical Community, African Group


Neli Odishvili, Civil Society, Eastern European Group


Round Table - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

1. What specific digital harms and intersectional factors threaten young people face online?
2. How does adultist perception-driven policies impact young people’s potential participation in (or purposeful abstinence from) the Internet?
3. How can youth views be incorporated in policies made by stakeholders such as Donors, NGOs, and corporations to effectively tackle digital harms globally and locally, and to facilitate intergenerational justice in the digital arena for young people?

What will participants gain from attending this session? Participants’ understanding of online safety will be pushed beyond the general discourse on cyberbullying/online sexual abuse. Participants will also gain an insight into the youth’s lived experiences of digital harms. Their knowledge on and awareness of the different types of digital harms and the tools available to combat those will be enhanced. They will develop a better grasp on the contemporary generational gap in the policy arena concerning digital harms and online safety. They will gain a better understanding of how age-influenced social and power relations impact young people’s online lives. Participants will be appraised of the fact that there can be no meaningful policy for the youth without the youth. They will have a clearer idea on how the youth can be given a more proactive role in policymaking on online safety and how different stakeholders can collaborate with the youth to facilitate safer environments for youth online.


In 2022, 75% of those aged 15-24 were online compared to 65% for the rest of the world’s population. The internet, while serving as an effective medium of empowerment and as an enabler of socio-economic equality also has, at times, acted as an echo chamber for bad actors to conduct nefarious activities and propel instances of abuse on young users. For example, young people’s human rights and dignity are continuously threatened by hate speech, cyberbullying, online sexual abuse, and privacy infringements. Their ability to meaningfully participate in democratic decision making is undermined by misinformation and fake news. Addictive design pushes young people to register excessive screen time and tend to have disastrous effects on their social behavior and mental health. Data extraction and exploitation for algorithmic profiling pre-determines young people’s life choices and influences their ability to live their lives on their own terms. While policymakers across the globe have framed a range of laws and regulations to protect children and youth from digital harms, there is a generation gap in the perception of digital harms and online safety. The general discourse on online safety rarely goes beyond cyberbullying and/or online sexual abuse.

This workshop will be in the form of an intergenerational dialogue wherein the traditional hierarchical relationship between adults and young people will be transitioned into a more collaborative conversational structure. The youth speakers will explain which and how digital technologies impact or impair their aspirations and rights online, and enlist what adult stakeholders can do better to ensure online safety. Other panelists comprising stakeholders such as donors, governments, academia, and technology companies, will brainstorm how the youth could be made more active & equal partners in policy-making concerning online safety. All the panelists will recommend principles and best practices that should guide and inform intergenerational dialogues.

Expected Outcomes

1. An opportunity for youth to speak out, be heard, and be in a position to influence policy making concerning digital harms and online safety
2. An avenue for stakeholders such as government, academia, private sector, and civil society to understand young people’s interaction with and lived experiences of digital harms
3. A window to inspire more refined and relevant laws and regulations to protect children and youth from digital harms and ensure their online safety
4. A model for future panels involving intergenerational dialogues

1. The session’s highlights and key takeaways will be published in a blog series on the NetMission.Asia website
2. The session discussions will inspire the creation of a learning document that may be shared with wider audiences including but not limited to international donors, media, civil society, private sector, government, and end users.

Hybrid Format: As the session begins, both onsite and remote participants will be encouraged to scan the mentimeter QR code to express their expectations from the session. Equal time will be given to online/onsite speakers. In case of slow internet connection, the online moderator will first turn off the speaker's video and if the issue still exists, the speaker may use Zoom's dial-in tool. The rapporteur will track the flow of online chat and include relevant points in the session report. Once the audience Q&A begins, online participants will be encouraged to use Zoom's Q&A feature and onsite attendees will be given microphones to ask questions. The onsite and online moderators will coordinate to ensure an alternating pattern of Q&A between onsite and remote participants/speakers. At the session’s end, the audience may provide feedback for the session by scanning the mentimeter QR code.