Multi-stakeholder platform for enhancing youth digital opportunities
Today's children and young people lack opportunities to participate actively in policy and decision making, as well as in designing their digital agenda. Children and young people are major users of the internet and online services, it needs to be ensured that they are equipped with the right and trusted environments to take advantage of this as active participants in the digital society. The online environment is rapidly changing and we need to develop the tools to identify and understand the needs of the young generation.
Young people in Europe need not only the space to discuss and to engage with multiple stakeholders and decision makers across borders and boundaries, but also to be given the instruments to actively shape the research agenda as well as to participate in research related to their use of digital technologies. Innovative research methods are needed to empower children and young people by giving them an active role in research. Efforts need to be undertaken to give a voice and to empower children and young people who are marginalised or at risk of exclusion. Only an active participation of all citizens, and especially of all young people in shaping policy and broader societal developments, can create the basis for a well-functioning European society.
This coordination and support action should aim at the creation of an online platform to engage children and young people, framed by research according to their needs and behaviours. Children themselves will be able to take initiatives on the research topics and methods, while the researchers will act as facilitators. Children and young people will be given more active and participative roles that allow empowerment. The vulnerability of children and young people in the online environment and how to build online resilience will also play a role in this action. Gender issues will be paid particular attention. Furthermore, gender and diversity balance among the participating children and young people will be ensured.
The platform should bring together stakeholders from research and policy makers, together with children and young people around Europe. Synergies with the existing platforms such as the participation platform on the European Youth Portal should be envisaged. Specifically it should:
- allow for child and youth-directed research, where researchers and policy makers act as facilitators;
- conduct research and develop a knowledge base as well as critical perspective on the use and interactions with the digital world of children and young people. This will be done in collaboration with interdisciplinary researchers and social scientists;
- discuss within peers but also with decision makers, industry and civil society on their needs and expectations from the digital society;
- co-create with multiple stakeholders research and policy priorities.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the order of EUR 1 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. This does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
- Stimulate children and young people's civic engagement through online participation;
- Allow for innovative research methods on children's and young people's use of internet and digital technologies through their active participation in the research;
- Empower children and young people by allowing them to take an active role in policy making and societal developments;
- Leverage youth participation and dialogue with stakeholders and decision makers;
- Ensure full and safe participation of children and young people in accessing and creating online content and services.