BIK Youth Ambassadors discuss the BIK+ strategy at the Digital Assembly

On 21-22 June 2022, the Digital Assembly took place in Toulouse, France. The Digital Assembly is an annual event hosted jointly by the European Commission and the holder of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU). It is a key forum for members of the European digital ecosystem to gather and discuss important issues. This year’s two-day conference included workshops, panel discussions and plenary sessions focusing on issues related to EU sovereignty and autonomy. In particular, a workshop on day one focused on the newly adopted European strategy for a Better Internet for Kids (BIK+). BIK Youth Ambassadors Sina and Dimitris were there to share their views. 

The workshop provided the opportunity to present and discuss the new European strategy for a Better Internet for Kids (BIK+), adopted by the European Commission in May 2022 to improve age-appropriate digital services and to ensure that every child is protected, empowered and respected online. 

BIK Youth Ambassadors Sina (from Luxembourg) and Dimitris (from Cyprus) participated in the workshop to highlight the youth perspective and voice their needs and views on the new BIK+ strategy. 

Watch a recap of Day 1 of the Digital Assembly 2022 below. 

 

The Better Internet for Kids workshop 

The workshop consisted of two panels – the first one discussing the protection of children and young people online, and the second one addressing the empowerment and participation of minors in the online environment. 

During the first panel, the new BIK+ strategy was presented, together with the announcement of the child-friendly version of BIK+ now being available. The child-friendly version was developed for young people, and with the invaluable contribution of young people themselves on the most child-appropriate vocabulary, tone and visual aspects to include in the guide. In addition, the participants discussed how to ensure a safe digital experience for children and young people, based on the strategy pillars.  

With regards to this, the Commission will facilitate a comprehensive EU code of conduct on age-appropriate design to ensure the privacy and security of children and young people when using digital products and services. It will build on the new rules of the Digital Services Act (DSA) and in line with the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The code aims to ensure the privacy, safety and security of children when using digital products and services. 

The second panel focused on empowerment of young people, and stressed how digital skills and media literacy skills are crucial for children to understand and navigate the information they access online, to correctly identify online risks, and to participate actively and responsibly in the digital environment.

Bik Youth Ambassadors Sina and Dimitris, June Lowery-Kingston from DG CONNECT and other panellists during the Better Internet for Kids workshop at the Digital Assembly. Credits: BIK

The two panels saw the participation of Mathieu Weill, Head of digital economy service at the General Directorate for Enterprises, Benoît Loutrel, member of the French Regulatory Authority for audiovisual and digital communication (ARCOM), Deborah Vassallo, Maltese Safer Internet Centre, Tara Hopkins, Director for public policy (EMEA) at Instagram, Annemarie Drieskens, President of COFACE Families Europe, Grégory Veret, Founding President of Xooloo International, Panayiota Hadjittofi, Cyprus Safer Internet Centre and Emilio Puccio, Secretary General of the European Parliament Intergroup on Children's Rights, who sent a message welcoming the BIK+ strategy.

During the discussions, moderated by June Lowery-Kingston (Head of Unit, Accessibility, Multilingualism and Safer Internet, DG CONNECT at the European Commission), the BIK Youth Ambassadors stressed the importance of involving youth in the decision-making process and encouraging their participation in such initiatives for change. They also commented that it should be mandatory for young people to learn about online risks, misinformation and disinformation, and other key online safety concerns. 

As part of the European Year of Youth and #DigitalDecade4YOUth activities, our BIK Youth Ambassadors had the opportunity to interview and discuss the new BIK+ strategy with Dubravka Šuica, European Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography and Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market. You can watch their exchange below. 

 

 

Their motivation and proactiveness during the workshop were inspiring for the whole audience. Congratulations Sina and Dimitris for making sure the voices and opinions of young people were heard during the BIK+ workshop! 

You can rewatch the main sessions of Day 1 and Day 2 of the Digital Assembly on YouTube. 

June Lowery-Kingston, BIK Youth Ambassadors Dimitris and Sina, and Manuela Martra at the BIK workshop at the Digital Assembly. Credits: BIK

Meet the BIK Youth Ambassadors and learn more about how young people are getting involved in the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) agenda, in Europe and beyond, on the BIK Youth minisite

The BIK Youth minisite also includes a selection of resources from the Insafe network of Safer Internet Centres (SICs) in Europe on topical safer internet issues, specifically targeted to youth. Many resources are available in multiple languages too. 

Keep an eye on the events and initiatives involving BIK Youth Ambassadors by following @BIK_youth on Twitter. 

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