The internet is a place where anyone can have a voice, be part of a community and generate positive social change. But the internet is not always a positive or welcoming place for everyone.
Nearly all of us will have come across comments or content online that shocked or even offended us, sometimes leaving us feeling isolated or powerless to change the conversation. And for young people in particular, this sense of vulnerability can be heightened if it’s difficult to judge whether a piece of content is real, especially when something is shared on social media by a trusted friend.
That’s why we’re launching Internet Citizens, a series of day-long workshops for 13-18 year olds in cities across the UK, as part of our global YouTube Creators for Change programme which supports creators who are tackling social issues and promoting awareness, tolerance and empathy on their YouTube channels. The workshops will help young people find a positive sense of belonging online and teach skills on how to participate safely and responsibly, and use tools such as flagging and comment moderation to make the web better for all. Some of the specific topics include how to deal with hate speech, fake news, echo chambers and using video to bring diverse groups together.
Our curriculum was designed by experts from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, in partnership with UK Youth and Livity, and was also informed by our work with an advisory council including Faith Associates, Active Change Foundation, the MET Police, Demos and the Diana Award. Hosting these workshops are Alain 'Fusion' Clapham and Efe Ezekiel, along with YouTube creator Nadir Nahdi, Founder of BENI, all of whom have mastered the art of using their voice and creativity to drive social change.
Quotes about Internet Citizens
“The Institute for Strategic Dialogue has drawn on best practice in digital citizenship, media literacy and critical thinking to develop the Internet Citizens curriculum. These skills are increasingly vital for young people, not just to reinforce their resilience to hate and extremism online, but to give them the tools they need to be active citizens in the twenty-first century.”— Institute for strategic dialogue
“Young people in the UK spend more time online than ever before. In this complex world, there is an urgent need to help young people embrace the positive aspects of connectivity but we must also support them to manage the negative effects. Through Internet Citizens, UK Youth is empowering young people to express themselves, have a voice, listen to others and ultimately gain a sense of belonging by discovering the skills needed to act safely and responsibly online, and make the internet a positive place.”— Anna Smee, CEO of UK Youth
“The internet has given me a community, passion and platform to raise my voice and be heard, and to be able to share the mechanics of how to do that is a great privilege.”— nadir nahdi, founder of beni