Exploring misinformation for a young generation of voters: insights from the Fighting Misinformation Online Google summit

The Google summit on Fighting Misinformation online took place in Brussels on Thursday, 21 March 2024.  The event served as an opportunity to reflect on emerging disinformation trends and media literacy challenges moving forward, and especially in the context of the upcoming European elections, followed by other crucial elections in the United States and India later in the year. One of the sessions was called "Building Trust - Media Literacy with and for Young Voters" and saw the involvement and participation of eight BIK Youth Ambassadors. Keep reading for a recap of the day. 

The event “Fighting Misinformation Online” organised by Google provided an important stage to discuss the most important topics of the moment: misinformation, media literacy and elections. The event started in the morning with a series of workshops engaging all the audience, both participants and speakers across different themes regarding the main three topics mentioned above.  

In the afternoon, the event kicked off with high-level interventions and panel discussions, featuring representatives of the European institutions, academia and civil society organisations. The discussions focused on the use of Artificial Intelligence tools in the context of journalism and elections. Providing information that is real, unbiased and clear must be the underpinning value of the future of information, especially in the digital environment where everyone has the power to provide views and perspectives on different subjects, regardless of their expertise.  

Among these panels, eight BIK Youth Ambassadors were invited to the stage to talk about their experiences, to share their views on the topic of misinformation and election and how the young generation is affected by misinformation.  

Group of five BIK Youth Ambassadors and the moderator during the panel.

I feel like involving yourself in any Better Internet for Kids activities is full of interesting events, information, activities that may occur such as this one we're here for today.

Christina, Cyprus

Young people believe that the digital environment and especially the content creators have an important role and a powerful tool in their hands when it comes to motivating and engaging young people. Some of our BIK Youth Ambassadors expressed their view on the topic:  

If you see this influencer posting that they just register for voting, or they just voted, maybe not screaming their political views [...] it could reach a million people. They might not all be voting for the same elections, but they might be voting for their local elections. So, it does inspire young people to vote.

Mae, Ireland  

When we vote, and we only have watched videos [on social media] and we haven't looked for more information and maybe we're not giving our opinion 100% because of the misinformation.

Carolina, Spain 

The best way that I think a person can make voting seem more appealing is to humanise it in a way that's like influencers talking about it, you see people that you know about talking about politics. I think is just the best solution because getting like information from certified sources that don't have a face it's kind of daunting and it's kind of intimidating.

Vincent, Croatia

Group of three BIK Youth Ambassadors plus the moderator during the panel

The young people of today represent the future of our world, and all of them should acknowledge this. Nowadays, youth seem to lack still knowledge on the topic, especially media literacy and election, and some of them recognise the need to improve the school curricula in this sense:  

While I've learned some things from school, I feel like most of the like skills I developed and knowledge I gained was from outside of school.

Dimitris, Cyprus

In conclusion, young people should be granted the tools, knowledge and responsibilities when it comes to their roles as the future generation. Their rights and responsibilities must be heard.  

Because if we want young people to be active political citizens, we need them to understand what it means to be an active political citizen.

Billie, Ireland 

That’s what democracy is about – People without elections will not be able to choose or make decisions that can change their life and their future.

 Adrian, Spain  

Most young people don't know about the importance behind voting and that one specific vote has a very big impact upon a society.

Daria, Romania 

Four BIK Youth Ambassadors during the panel on building trust - media literacy with and for young voters.

Discover more about youth participation activities in the Better Internet for Kids agenda across Europe at www.bikyouth.eu

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