Digital participation

When? 14 to 28 May

The functioning of our democracies requires meaningful debate, access to trusted information, interaction among citizens of all ages, and active participation in how we are governed. Our new digital technologies have promoted increased levels of interaction, debate and participation. However, as these technologies change the nature of how we participate in democratic structures; our aim must be to understand potential risks of making use of these technological developments, as we take advantage of the opportunities.

Within WYRED, many projects and dialogues have been focused on our ability to participate actively within this new digital society. Children and young people have asked key questions about how new technologies are changing their relationships with each other and within their schools, youth centres and within wider society. While some of these research studies examined strategies for increasing the voice of the young person and ensuring better representation in their schools and organisations, others displayed an interest in better understanding how political debate is shaped and how local governance and institutional structures are replicated over time.

In order to situate these questions in a current context, during this Digital Participation fortnight of activities, we will focus on the role of elections, especially those to the European Parliament, and what digital tools or strategies are useful in actively engaging young people within the democratic processes. The European Parliament may be regarded as “the voice of the citizens” in the EU, but how do young people feel about this? What is their level of awareness of this supranational institution?

In other European countries, possible re-runs of referenda and local elections are engaging young people. They are interested in how they can make their voice heard, how they can use new technologies to become more aware and involved. They want to know what values are important to candidates and parties, where do they fit within a political spectrum.

These are among the themes that are of key focus during this fortnight. As partners within WYRED, we will be raising questions, stimulating debate, with our young people taking the lead and driving the discussion.

The upcoming European elections from May 23-26th will be a key focal point. Other upcoming local elections in Turkey and other European countries will also be of interest.

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