Pictured: Microsoft Council for Digital Good Europe digital safety teen ambassadors visiting OECD Paris. Photograph: OECD WISE Centre.
Microsoft is strongly committed to promoting digital safety education to prevent children’s exposure to online risks.
As the European Year of Youth enters its final months, it’s as important as ever to ensure young Europeans have their voices heard. This extends from listening and learning about their experiences in the online world to equipping youth to safely navigate the opportunities and challenges that the digital world presents.
Protecting and empowering young people are also the underlying themes of this month’s Safer Internet Forum, which offers an important moment of reflection for policymakers, civil society and industry regarding our shared responsibility to ensure a safer and more respectful digital world for young people.
We applaud how this year’s Safer Internet Forum is putting the voice of young people at the center and leading many of the discussions, and we look forward to playing our part.
In 2021, Microsoft launched the Microsoft Council for Digital Good Europe to promote youth dialogue on digital safety. A group of 15 European youth ambassadors, selected from 10 European countries, embarked with Microsoft on an 18-month learning journey about digital safety, addressing topics such as cyberbullying, hate speech, sexploitation, terrorism and extreme content, and cybersecurity and privacy. Their goal is building a healthier, more empathetic online world for all
“The Council for Digital Good Europe really gave me a different perspective on digital safety topics. I got to learn what issues are more prominent in other countries compared to Ireland.” – Grainne, 17, Ireland
“I was intrigued by the fact that I could be useful to my community by giving them safety information about the internet.” – Noa, 17, Spain
As part of the program, members of the Council for Digital Good Europe met each month with a variety of experts from around Europe to discuss a wide spectrum of digital safety issues. They took back their learnings to their home countries, where they met with their schools and communities to talk about these important topics.
During the program earlier this year, as part of a summit in Paris, the digital safety ambassadors shared their combined youth proposals with leading stakeholders working on child protection and digital safety. The proposals covered solutions for a diverse range of topics, from addressing disinformation and online grooming to implementing effective parental controls and identifying age-appropriate content. This followed the participation of the Council for Digital Good members in a workshop organized in the Spring as part of the BIK Youth Pledge to gather youth-generated ideas for an age-appropriate design for our Privacy for Youth Guidelines. The report of the activity was published on the Better Internet for Kids website here. And the youth members are continuing their determined engagement, such as joining the UN-ITU-led Protection through Online Participation (POP) project.
We are grateful to the experts and organizations who met with the Council for Digital Good Europe during the Paris summit. Their engagement with the youth ambassadors on research projects or evaluating apps and other resources to protect young users online was incredibly rewarding for everyone involved. Thank you in particular to the OECD WISE Centre, ARCOM, e-enfance and the RAYEULA partnership, including All Digital and the Universidad Pontificia Comillas.
The Council for Digital Good’s determination to share their voices and help create healthier online communities, continues to inspire us each day at Microsoft and we are excited to be part of the ongoing learning journey!