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The voice of youth
“The internet should be for everyone. It should not be dependent on who or where you are.”
Matthew, 15, Youth IGF 2011 participant
In order to be able to enjoy all the benefits of the internet and to use it safely and responsibly, young people need their experiences, thoughts and views to be appreciated by the wider online community.
That’s why UK-based not-for-profit organisation Childnet International created its Youth IGF Project, an influential programme that continues to promote the inclusion of the voice of young people at the UN-mandated Internet Governance Forum (IGF).
Supported by Nominet Trust and now in its third year, Childnet’s Youth IGF Project aims to ensure that young people have a meaningful and respected role in helping to shape the future of the internet and interactive technologies.
It does this by working with young people to discuss issues around internet governance, and how it is relevant to their experience of the online world. This equips young people to take part in the dialogue and to share their experiences at the IGF annual meeting.
Over the past three years, the Youth IGF Project has ensured that youth participation at the Internet Governance Forum has increased significantly.
In 2009, Childnet spoke to over 1,500 children and young people from across the UK about their online experiences, their online rights and their wishes for the future of the internet. It also took two young people and the voice of youth from the UK to the IGF meeting in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
In 2010, Childnet took seven young people to the IGF meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania, and introduced a summer youth camp to equip the young people to take part in various workshops at the event. And in 2011, it took a team of eight young people to the IGF meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, where they held their own workshop and took part in a range of other discussions.
A great and safe place
Childnet works both in the UK and internationally to help make the internet a great and safe place for children and young people. The organisation focuses on education, awareness and policy, with the aim of enabling young people the world over to use interactive technologies safely and responsibly.