BIK Youth participation 

Youth participation activities have always been at the heart of the BIK Youth programme. Lately, marking the European Year of Youth, the #DigitalDecade4YOUth! consultation and the launch of the new BIK+ strategy, youth participation and involvement has taken a more prominent role. 

Typically, each Safer Internet Centre has a national youth panel. If a young person is part of the national youth panel, an entry point to the BIK Youth Programme is provided on an annual basis through participation in the BIK Youth Panel and Safer Internet Forum (SIF).  

There are several groups young people can contribute to:

The BIK Youth Panel 

The BIK Youth Panel is the entry point to the BIK Youth Programme. The BIK Youth Panel is organised on an annual basis in preparation for the annual Safer Internet Forum (SIF). Nominations to the BIK Youth Panel are made by the national SICs, based on an internal open call that is shared with the Insafe network via the Weekly Update. The open call invites each SIC to nominate up to two young people who should be selected based on certain criteria. Once the young person has successfully completed the participation in the BIK Youth Panel and Safer Internet Forum, they are offered the opportunity to become a BIK Youth Ambassador. 

The BIK Youth Ambassador Network 

BIK Youth Ambassadors are a group of young people that have successfully participated in the annual BIK Youth Panel and SIF and are willing to stay in touch to further participate in activities under the BIK umbrella. To meet all our previous Youth Ambassadors, visit the Ambassadors page where you can also learn more about how BIK Youth Ambassadors are selected.

The SIF Youth Advisory Group 

The SIF Youth Advisory Group was first convened in 2022, aligning its efforts with the updated BIK+ strategy ensuring youth empowerment and participation by putting young people in the driving seat of the annual SIF.  The SIF Youth Advisory Group consist of 10 BIK Youth Ambassadors that have shown active participation at national and European level since becoming an ambassador. Each year, a new SIF Youth Advisory Group is formed, requirements for the selection process primarily but not exclusively include gender, age, and geographical balance between participants. 



Activity 1: Campaigning for an online world free from bullying, racism and intolerance

In preparation for the 2017 edition of the Safer Internet Forum (SIF), youth panellists from across the Insafe network of Safer Internet Centres (SICs) in Europe were invited to:
a) identify one key safer/better internet principle;
b) work together, shape and implement one youth-driven solution.
In response, the youth panellists decided to create a peer-to-peer campaign, with the aim of promoting an "Online world free from bullying, racism and intolerance".


In devising their campaign, the youth panellists identified a number of gaps in existing awareness-raising programmes – most importantly, they felt that campaigns tackling bullying and/or hate speech often lack authenticity – they are not built around a "true" story and hence have limited appeal to youth.


When discussing how they could deliver their campaign, the youth panellists felt that they could best make a difference as follows:
  • Use a peer-to-peer approach – the youth panellists will address their peers through videos "sharing their stories"; which "real" online experiences do they have to share? How is the digital world affecting them in social and psychological terms? Which concrete steps can be taken to improve how young people interact online?
  • Keep it visual – a set of videos (including a teaser video to be launched/shown at Safer Internet Forum), with testimonials from youth panellists, will be uploaded to YouTube and disseminated on social media via a #togetherforrespect hashtag. Known YouTubers and others will be invited to share their stories and ideas on how to work together for an online world free from bullying, racism and intolerance. The hashtag will be used to promote the campaign across various social media platforms.
  • Critical reflection – the campaign aims to also trigger discussion and reflection on some of the challenges and opportunities of using social media to address online safety issues in a peer-to-peer manner.


The youth-led campaign started on 23 November 2017 at the Safer Internet Forum and ran until Safer Internet Day 2018, which took place on Tuesday, 6 February 2018. Young people from around Europe and beyond were invited to share their stories and ideas throughout the campaign period.

Activity 1 – Key decisions and lessons learned

In designing and implementing this first youth participation activity, the project facilitators (the BIK Coordination Team at European Schoolnet) have followed a number of youth participation principles. Below we reflect on some key decisions and lessons learned during the process.

The aims of the project

Before signing up to the project, youth panellists were clearly briefed on the overall aims of the project and the processes which would be followed, namely:
a) to select a number of key safer/better internet issues;
b) to explore and design a youth participation activity drawing upon a range of possible engagement tools and strategies deemed suitable for young people.
While some of these elements were initiated by adults, the views of the young people were taken very seriously. As the project progressed, the youth panellists became more actively involved and were encouraged to further develop their ideas more independently.

Roles and responsibilities

The project facilitators gradually delegated decision-making powers to the youth panellists. As such, the process of defining the roles and responsibilities in this youth participation activity has been specifically one of drawing out the experiences, wishes, creativity and skills of the participants through a relaxed facilitation via online meetings and the use of a collaborative platform:
  • Most of the communication took place using a combination of online tools, with synchronous chat facilitated using an online meeting tool. In these sessions, youth panellists were invited to put forward possible scenarios, debate the issues, and chose one which resonated with the whole group to develop further.
  • Using English as a common language, youth panellists met regularly online to enable them to develop a specific activity, with a clear focus and output, and a realistic timeline.
  • On the specifics of implementing the chosen scenario within the available timeframe, the youth panellists agreed on the specific skills, roles and competencies needed, who could provide them, and what additional support was needed from the project facilitators.


Disseminating the message through peers and hashtags

Once roles and responsibilities were properly distributed, with a clear timeline set, discussions on the specifics of the peer-to-peer campaign took centre stage.
While the role of the project facilitator continued to be important, the youth panellists really started to work with autonomy at this stage: they put forward and agreed on key messages, the target audience for the campaign, the dissemination tools to be used, and the overall communications strategy. To ensure that the message would really be "out there", youth participants decided that the involvement of their peers was essential and that the best way to reach them was via the places they already are – that is, on popular social media platforms. Hence, a peer-to-peer digital campaign was born, evolving around a set of youth-led videos and a #togetherforrespect hashtag.

Process versus outcome – how will we report and evaluate results?

While developing and running a campaign can seem like all "fun and games", the process of involving young people in devising safer/better internet approaches is at least as important as the actual outputs of the campaign.
Therefore, reporting on this youth participation activity has been twofold:
a) The youth panellists drove much of the output – of course, they shared their views and ideas as part of the peer-to-peer campaign, but they also reported on how they have found the process overall, further enriching our understanding of youth participation methods and practices.
b) In addition, the project facilitators helped to spread and multiply the campaign –on the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) public portal, on social media and via other dissemination channels – while providing further insight based on our own expertise and available campaign analytics.
This all fed into a final evaluation of both process and outcomes, in dialogue with the youth participants themselves.

Key lessons learned

Young people thrive when their views and experiences are being taken seriously and it's no surprise that they decided to reach out to their peers using the social media platforms they inhabit daily in delivering their campaign. And, of course, meeting each other in online and offline meetings is great and indeed has been a key facilitator in helping them to share and develop their ideas. In this respect, however, the use of our own online platform for internal communication has been sporadic, as it felt too remote from their day-to-day experiences. Our advice would therefore be to stay close and true to your youth audience, not only in terms of focus and content, but also in terms of the communication tools and devices you use!


#TogetherForRespect follow-up

What have BIK Youth Ambassadors been up to since Safer Internet Forum? How have they shaped the #TogetherForRespect campaign and what have they achieved in their countries, among their peers? Find out more below:

Lili (Austria)


"#TogetherForRespect is not only the campaign we kicked off back in Brussels at the Safer Internet Forum 2017 - it has become a personal goal for me, on which I have been working since Brussels.

As part of my final year project, I am currently programming a game on cyberbullying, which has improved my knowledge of social media and bullying triggers. To raise awareness about our campaign in my network, I called my game #TogetherForRespect. Once this final school project will be finished, the game will be played in different schools in Vienna. This will grant much needed visibility to our campaign particularly among pupils and students, especially thanks to an information page where players can find out more about the campaign.

This campaign is much more than just the name-  it is a call to action for everyone – to fight against racism, sexism, intolerance and all unacceptable kinds of hate online. However, in order to really get people to think about it and to stand against these contemporary issues, it is necessary to talk to as many people as possible and to warm their heart to convince them to stand #TogetherForRespect with us.

To start doing this, I managed got permission to host an open discussion and a workshop in my school in which I intend to get all participants to talk to one another, rather than listen to me giving a presentation. They need to tell and hear stories, to understand the importance of standing against hate and intolerance. I want them to slip into the shoes of both victims and abusers and feel intolerance on their own skin. This is the only way students can understand the purpose of our campaign.

In order to increase our online reach, I asked my friends to share the video campaign and different posts and content using the hashtag.

I firmly believe that with a bit of effort, our mission can be supported by a lot of people in all the countries we come from.

#TogetherForRespect should not be a one-off action, but a way of participating in the online world."

Kacper (Poland)


"Last November I had the pleasure to participate in the creation of the   #TogetherForRespect campaign. 

It was an unforgettable experience which allowed me to realize the strength of the idea of making the internet a friendlier place.

During YEP (European Youth Forum 2017) and SIF (Safer Internet Forum) I had the privilege to meet many wonderful people from all over Europe and had a chance to look into a series of social issues from completely different perspectives.

This event, however, was only the beginning for my further actions. A week after returning home, not only have I introduced my younger sisters to new safety rules on using social media, but also, in cooperation with my school, we decided to organise a day dedicated to online safety. During the celebration, we talked about ways to counteract online hate speech and we also had the pleasure to watch the campaign prepared earlier in Brussels.

The experience of participating in YEP 2017 and SIF 2017 will remain in my memory as one of the most valuable projects to which I had the chance to participate."


Henkka (Finland)


"I've asked my friends to join the campaign and I have talked about it with many people at work and at school.

They all said that the campaign is really good and worth joining. I also shared my journey to YEP (European Youth Forum 2017) on YouTube and discussed the campaign with my followers.

Furthermore, I have talked with people working at Save the Children Finland, and they promised to promote the campaign on Safer Internet Day, which in Finland lasts an entire week and is called Media Literacy Week."


Charlotte (Germany)


"After the Safer Internet Forum in Brussels I wrote a report about our work during the two days and most importantly, I introduced the campaign (as well as the hashtag) to my network. 

This report was published on our school website and on the Klicksafe website.

I also gave a presentation to of all my school´s media scouts and we watched the video together. They all promised to further spread the word about  #TogetherForRespect.

The younger media scouts, who are also responsible for organising the Safer Internet Day 2018 in our school will also incorporate the hashtag in their event activities and promotion."

Fanni (Hungary)


"During these past months, I've been trying to broaden the reach of the #TogetherForRespect campaign in my country as well.

Now we are preparing for the Safer Internet Day 2018 (SID) celebrations in Hungary. On 6 February we will have a big celebration for the SID 2018 with programmes to promote a better internet.

We are organising a Living Library in which experts in various fields will act as living books, providing visitors (or "readers") with information.

There will also be a section about Safer Internet Forum 2017 (SIF), where I will be talking about my experience in Brussels and the #TogetherForRespect campaign."

Laura (Romania)

As part of the #TogetherForRespect follow-up, together with the Romanian Safer Internet Centre, we started to promote the campaign on social media. 

Afterwards, I had a meeting with Save the Children volunteers in which I presented the campaign.

For the Safer Internet Day 2018, we are planning some activities surrounding the campaign. 


>> Back to youth participation activities overview page.