Summary: Hub Websites for Youth Participation

30 07 2009

David NewmanIn his plenary session, David Newman introduced us to the HuWY project, which aims to try and experimental method of engaging young people in policy making for web-related issues considered at EU level. 

This project is based on the idea that young people, having grown up with the internet, have a unique and important view on issues such as cyber-bullying, privacy and freedom on the internet, but little interest or active involvement in the regulatory processes and policy making that is going on at the EU to govern these issues.  The aim is to find ways to make the connection between young people and policy makers by understanding each and providing hubs to connect their ideas so they can lead to actual change.

HuWY will first work with young people in 8 countries across the EU, providing them with a hub site of materials to get their discussions going.  The intention is then to allow the young people to go away into their own corners of the internet, use whatever tools or services they prefer (whether its Bebo, Facebook a wiki or whatever) to discuss the issues and generate ideas to solve some of the problems they encounter on the web.  These results will then be fed into another hub, where the task is to organise, tag and phrase these ideas in a format that politicians and policy-makers will be able to understand and use usefully to inform policy.

David gave us an overview of e-participation research and invited us to contribute ideas about how we could encourage our students to take part and the policy makers to listen.  Engaging the latter seemed much harder!  He made the point that young people are politically engaged, just not in the traditional ways, so we need to look at new ways to get young, digitally native people involved in political processes.

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