Youth Leadership in a Digital Age: An Internet Governance example

The launch of the Young Foundations new report “Plugged in, untapped: Using digital technologies to help young people learn to lead” was rather serendipitous. I saw an e-mail announcing it’s launch just as I got back from the final session of The Internet Governance Forum, where, for the past 48 hours, the ‘Dynamic Youth Coalition on Internet Governance‘ had been living up to it’s name and demonstrating the power of digital media in supporting effective youth-led collaboration.

First some history
For those not familiar with it (which, alas, is most people), the Internet Governance Forum is a UN Sponsored multi-stakeholder body set up in 1996 after the World Summits on the Information Society, focussed on discussing issues of ‘Internet Governance‘. In practice, that means that every year, over 1000 people from across the world get together for a week, with participants from governments, companies, non-governmental organisations and independent individuals to engage in dialogue on topics ranging from the underlying technologies and policies of the Internet infrastructure, to copyright and intellectual property online, child protection, language issues on the web, increasing Internet access, and ensuring the Internet operates in way that is pro-development and pro-developing world.

The open nature of The Internet Governance process means that there are no rules prohibiting youth involvement, and over the first five years of the forum, and, particularly over the last two years, children, young people and young adults have come to play an increasing role in the event: facilitated through projects like Childnet’s Youth IGF programme, or the Hong Kong Youth IGF run by NetMission, but also coming to the forum independently.

In the closing stock-taking session of the IGF, participants can speak to those assembled to share views on the issues discussed and, this year, focussing on the future of the forum.

Digital-era leadership
The idea of making a youth-statement in this final session (Friday 3pm) was raised in the Wednesday meeting of the Youth Coalition (Wednesday, around 3pm). During the meeting where the idea was raised, statement writing began. But not statement writing of the type I’ve experience before at youth summits, where one person sits at a laptop as others start throwing in ideas – generally leaving the editor-at-keyboard with a greater influence on the text that others. Instead, using PiratePad, a live-editing tool, young people and young adults in the room logged on and started working collaboratively on the same text.

Within a few hours a skeleton statement had started to take shape: drawing on existing statements from Youth IGF projects, pasted into the document and then drawn upon to make the final text – creating a direct link between existing statements from young people and this IGF statement (leading to the lines in the final version “We have established a coalition not to compete with, or replace many youth groups who have come to play a role in the regional and International IGF process over recent years. Instead, we want to bring together the messages from many different groups”).

Of course, many members of the youth coalition were not at this years IGF in Vilnius, Lithuania, but by sending a message to the coalition mailing list giving a link to the PiratePad, they gained the same access as people in the venue to edit the draft statement. By lunchtime the next day, gathered around laptops in the lunch-hall, editing text, chatting online and talking face-to-face, a small group were approaching a final draft. The final statement which you can read at is directly the product of at least 10 different authors, and draws on the inputs of many more. The image to the right shows a different colour highlight depending on the author responsible for that element of text.

By 9am on Friday, a copy of the statement was sent ready for translation and before it would be presented; and when, at 3pm, Joonas stood up to read out the statement, I was just putting the finishing touches to a new blog design and hitting the ‘publish’ button so that anyone following the IGF closing session on Twitter of via live Webcast (which a number of coalition members were doing) could access a copy.

There were quite different opinions when we started about what a statement should contain, and how it should be structured, but the final product, imperfect as it may be, makes sense of those differences and I think presents a modest but positive step forward in youth contributions to Internet Governance. The process drew upon many different skills: convening, co-ordination and leadership from Rafik Dammac to bring together the coalition (not an easy task: serious respect due!); technology stewardship to identify a platform we could use for collaboration and to support different participants to work with the process; digital facilitation, sending messages out to coalition members on e-mail in a timely and clear way; face-to-face facilitation, such as Desiree’s fantastic work encouraging and supporting members of the Hong Kong youth IGF to input into the statement; collaborative working, from all the different authors who input; and presentation skills, from both Rafik and Joonas who presented the statement.

Learning to lead?
The work of the Youth Coalition over the last few days of the IGF has taught me a lot about the potential of technologically-enabled collaborative working. There has been some learning to lead: but more importantly, learning to work together on concrete action.

It also reminds me that whilst the Young Foundation’s new report offers some solid analysis of the opportunities of challenges of digitally enabled work with young people, it’s title is too modest: we should be focussed not so much on young people ‘learning to lead’ as we should be looking at active active innovation in how to get things done, and in what leadership is and means in a digital age. Innovation and new opportunities that we all have something to learn from…

For it’s modest title, “Plugged in: untapped” does help us on that learning journy.

Young Rewired State at Oxfam

Update: Postponedwe weren’t quite quick off the blocks enough to recruit young people to take part in an Oxfam hack-day during the main Youth Rewired State week: so the Oxfam YRS has been postponed. We’ll hopefully work out a new date / plan in the next few weeks. However, other Young Rewired State centres are still on the go…

What happens when you take 5 or 10 young coders and designers aged between 15 and 18; give them a room at the heart of Oxfam HQ; link them up with designers, campaigners and digital experts; and give them a week to create things with government data?

I’m not sure yet. But in few weeks hopefully we’ll find out.

I’m helping to organise a Young Rewired State event at Oxfam HQ in Oxford to do just that – and right now we’re looking for young people from the local area to apply to take part.

You can download a flyer with lots more information to share with any young people you think might be interested, and a sign-up form is here. Deadline for applications is 25th July – but the sooner applications come in the more chance they have. Young Rewired State events are also taking place across the UK, so if you know young people who might be interested but can’t make it to Oxfam HQ in Oxford every day during the first week of August, point them in the direction of the national Rewired State Website.

Young people in the big society

This evening saw the first ‘Big Society Network‘ open night. The Big Society Network is a new organisation*, linked to, but distinct from, the ‘Big Society’ as a core discourse in current government policy making. The open night, facilitated as a rather chaotic open space event packed into a small space in the DCLG offices, brought together over 100 people interested in exploring what the Big Society Network was about, and how their work or issues fit with it. Big Society Network CEO Paul Twivy introduced some of the ‘big ideas’ of the Network – from creating a mutual open to everyone to join that would provide insurance for any volunteering activity, to the terribly framed ‘Your Square Mile‘ concept** – and then handed the floor to Steve Moore who led the open space.

I was in a group looking at young people in the big society, and promised to blog a few quick notes (some from my comments, others from other’s in the groups – apologies for not managing to jot down everyone’s names / affiliations) – so here they are:

  • It’s important to challenge architects of the Big Society Network to avoid institutionalised age discrimination. If a mutual is to be created – make sure anyone, however young, can be a full voting member: no arbitrary restrictions preventing under 18s or under 16s from being involved.
  • We should extend that principle to all community groups – and avoid ‘youth exceptionalism’ – where the involvement of young people is seen as a separate add-on to other structures in the Big Society. This is a theme that Bill and Liam have started to develop in talking about the shift from a Children’s Rights to a Children’s Human Rights dialogue over on Right Space.
  • We do, however, need to recognise the importance of giving young people a balance of space and support. Space to develop their skills, views and ideas. Support to engage when processes for engagement are stacked against the newcomer, or when particular young people have particular needs.
  • We need to challenge a ‘dependency culture’ between young people and support workers (by no means always the case, but a problem in some contexts). Support workers depending on young people for their jobs; young people depending on support workers when they could be developing skills to find voice, influence and involvement independently, or relying on peers and wider community networks of support. With major cuts coming to youth support, the imperative for this change may be getting stronger.
  • Rather than criticise the existence of ‘professional young people’ (or, as we could put it another way, young people who have developed skills and articulate ways of express views), we need to challenge them to go on and use their skills for the benefit of society and community. Good work with young people is a balance of challenge and support, and is grounded in an ethical world view: challenging empowered young people to look at how they can empower others, think about anti-oppressive and inclusive working, and to use their skills to advocate for wider social change. (And in the process, support time can be moved to support those young people who really need it)
  • Can we move towards rethinking the support young people get by giving them more control over it. Hand-over the budget to young people to choose what support they want to pay for from workers and members of the community.
  • With ideas developing in other areas of Big Society Network about Big Society ISAs and other funding instruments, we need to make sure that ideas of youth-led micro-finance and co-decision making with young people and adults are at the heart of the plans that emerge.
  • And last, but not least, Big Society Network needs to be thinking about how it will hear and engage with constructive and critical voices and action about it’s own plans from children and young people.

Whether or not you think the language and proposals of Big Society takes us forward, or misses the mark, how would you advocate for the role of young people in the Big Society Network and it’s associated ofshoots?

*It’s pretty important for The Big Society Network to have a strong argument of how it’s avoiding the Pareto Problem and ending up as another round of social innovation conversations, picking off the easy things to solve, but yet again glossing over the tough challenges. Some mention of picking off some of the practical barriers to all levels of action (e.g. sorting insurance problems for local action) do give some hope here, but it would be good to hear more of commitment to engaging with tricky problems rather than being broad based and blind to them.

**A short note on Your Square Mile: To claim “There Are 93,000 Square Miles in the UK – We tend to only hear about two of them: the square miles of the City and Westminster.” seems to me to reveal a lot about the world-view and perception of the world of the designers of this particular part of the Big Society Network. To define local community in direct reference to Westminster and the City, and to frame an idea of the world in such neat grid squares, ignoring the complexity of local geography, doesn’t seem like a very good start to me.

Connected Generation 2010: The Conference

Lots of people have been starting to ask me when the next ‘Connected Generation’ event will be taking place. Well, thanks to the sterling work of Katie Bacon, we’ve just booked The Watershed in Bristol for 7th May 2010 to host Connected Generation 2010 – a one-day conference exploring youth engagement and technology in 2010. Based on feedback from participants at recent training events, and on the positive response to the Beyond Twitter event we ran up in Wrexham last year, we’re trying a mixed Conference and Open Space format again – with a morning of top-quality input from speakers and a range of pre-planned workshops, followed with an afternoon of curated unConference, where delegates can set the agenda and direct the conversations.

Bristol Watershed - the Venue

I’m delighted that key speakers at the event will include a gender balanced panel with:

We’re still in the process of confirming the workshop programme, but plans include:

  • Ethics and ICT – workshop with Andy Phippen from Plymouth University;
  • Promoting Positive Activities with Social Media with Steven Flower from Plings;
  • Safe and Sound Foundations – proactive approaches to safe social media engagement with young people, staff and volunteers;

If there is a workshop you would particularly like to see, drop in a comment and I’ll see what we can do…

Full details and online booking available here. (If you can’t order online because your organisation needs invoicing etc. just drop me a line…)

Fingers crossed, we’ll also be using the event to launch a new ‘Youth Engagement and Social Media’ resource which Katie and I are hard at work drafting, and, if you want, you can pre-order a copy when booking your place at the conference.

Curating a conference: young people in a digital world

This is a quick blog post to link to the videos and social reporting content from last week’s Young People in a Digital World conferences in Wales which are now available through the newly launched Digital Youth Wales network.

You can find over five hours content, including a fantastic panel discussion with young people from Swansea schools and colleges, insights from e-Moderation and Moshi Monster’s Chief Community & Safety Officer, my interview with Tanya Byron, and some great examples of digital youth work from Swansea. You might even find a clip of me trying to unpack how, through the lens of youth work values, the Internet provides an exciting opportunity space for youth work.

Curating social reporting

As well as the webcast recordings (created by the ever friendly and professional Richard Jolly and Diarmaid Lynch) the event was also comprehensively ‘socially reported’ with live-blogging, video interviews and more being co-ordinated by David Wilcox and Chie Elliott.

All of which, thanks to the kind support of Sangeet from WISE KIDS who organised the conference, gave me a chance to try out further exploration of curating content from social reporting. Building on the IGF09 Drupal+FeedAPI framework, I’ve put together a micro-site within the Digital Youth Wales site which links together a record of live-blogging, with the webcast video, and any informal social reporting videos for each session.

Take a look here to explore the individual sessions – and do let me know your ideas for how this sort of social reporting aggregation could be improved or further developed…

ICT Ethics – finding new equilibria profession by profession

Ethical ICT in Youth Work (c) Tim Davies 2010
Ethical ICT in Youth Work (c) Tim Davies 2010

[Summary: Ethics belongs to professions, not problems & an ethical framework for youth and ICTs will require each workforce to seek new equilibria based on a number of inter-related elements]

I spend a very interesting day yesterday at a workshop organised by DC10Plus exploring the possible creation of an ‘ethical framework for ICT and young people’. This post contains a set of reflections and ‘thinking aloud’ following that session…

With technologies and the dynamics of digital environments constantly developing, ethical frameworks, over and above guidance and best-practice, are very much needed to help all those involved in work with young people (and young people themselves) to think critically about the ways technologies are used in, and impact upon, the lives of children and young people. However, when it comes to practical ethics for the public sector, it’s crucial to remember that ethics belong to professions, not problems.

That was a point brought home to me the Connected Practice symposium in September last year, where it was clear that different professional groups approached their work from very different motivations and with very different practical and ethical frameworks. Whilst some would argue the rise of a network society leads to a dissolution of barriers between professionals, and consequently, the dissolution of clear and distinct forms of professional practice, right now we are in an environment of inter-disciplinary practice, rather than post-disciplinary practice  – and there are real advantages to be found in each different professional group working out it’s own ethical responses to ICT. A ‘meta-ethical’ public sector framework of general ethical principles may support a degree of compatibility and interface between different professional ethical approaches to ICT, but should not try to replace the process of each profession working out it’s ICT ethics in it’s own context. For a real practice example of how professional context affects the sorts of ethical and practical implications of using ICT – take a look at this forum thread over on Youth Work Online – where the differences between the nature of practice and relationship with young people and youth workers in statutory and voluntary sector youth work settings is leading to a need to adapt and think critically about guidance on how youth workers should use social networking sites.

The point that ethics belong to professions, not problems also highlights that ICT ethics should start, not from concerns about ICTs per-se, but from a recognition of how ICTs impact upon and cut across the concerns of different professional groups within the public sector. And any approach to ethics for ICTs & Young People should have a clear account of where and why a specific focus on young people is warranted. In Safe and Effective Social Network Site Applications for Young People (p. 7) I’ve argued that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Law, and neuro-scientific understandings of adolescence are critical to any such account.

Finding a new equilibrium

Professional ethics guide how individuals and organisations with a set of specific goals should behave in the pursuit of those goals, given the particular contexts in which they work. It might be thought that professional groups can just look at their existing ethical codes and apply them directly to the Internet. However, in my experience exploring youth work values and ethics that turns out not to be quite so straightforward. Whilst it is possible (as we do on p.g. 17 & 18 of the Youth Work & Social Networking Report) to explore how the values of a profession play out in a digital world – deriving practical and ethical guidance for real world situations is not just a case of looking at values and the realities of the online world, but involves finding an equilibria between at least six different elements, as the diagram above shows. Each element is both a variable that may be open to change, but equally a constraint on working out an ethical position:

  • Young people’s use of social media/ICT/the Internet – ethics cannot be built for the ‘ideal world’, but must be developed for the world we are in. At the same time, ethical approaches may involve challenging current patterns of ICT use and seeking to encourage young people to approach ICTs in different ways.
  • Professional values and skills – professional values in many service start from an analysis of the world and a desire to change something in it – be that a desire to tip the balance of power in favour of young people in core youth work theory, or a desire to reduce crime and increase social control in the basic analysis of law enforcement services. However, ICTs are implicated in ongoing changes to the world – and so professional values need to be re-examined in light of the digital world – without being abandoned.
  • Models of online communication and collaboration – there are many different ways of working online. Only some should be seen as ‘youth work’ ways of working – and the choice over which ways of working are ruled in, and ruled out, of a youth work framework of ethics for ICT use will impact upon the nature of that framework. The choice of ethics will also determine which forms of online communication and collaboration are (a) open to youth workers, and (b) likely to be open to youth workers in ways that allow them to be effectively used.
  • Features of available / popular social media tools – this is a particularly interesting ‘variable’ – as to an extent, for most professionals, the tools available to use are not seen as something over which they have much control. Facebook works the way it does. Changing that is not in the power of the individual practitioner. However, the plug-in and application architectures of many social media spaces mean that it may be possible for them to be adapted to be made ‘safer spaces’ for youth work practice, or more appropriate settings for the forms of practice a worker wants to explore. Right now, reshaping social media spaces is beyond the means of most practitioners – but if made more accessible, could enhance the possibility of ‘ethical and effective’ online practice.
  • Institutional drivers of, and barriers to, online working. See the 50 Barriers wiki on this one.
  • Consideration of opportunities and risks – based on real evidence about the opportunities and risks young people face online.

I recognise that this is still a fairly sketchy model – and my use of language above is neither as clear, nor as precise, as would be ideal. However, I wanted to share this now both for the Ethical ICT & Youth project, and as part of ongoing thinking for another project which I hope to be blogging more about soon…

Hanging out, Messing around, Geeking out – connecting the dots

I’ve just been watching this interview by Howard Rheingold with Mimi Ito. Ito was one of the lead researchers on the MacArthur Digital Youth project which published it’s findings in book form at the end of last year, and has a wealth of insights into the different ways American, and Japanese, teenagers engage with the Internet and mobile phones. In the interview (embedded at the bottom of this post) Ito outlines the different ways in which young people engage – using the: ‘Hanging out’, ‘Messing about’ and ‘Geeking out’ framework that the Digital Youth Project developed.

Hanging Out, Messing About, Geeking OutThe framework offered gets us beyond talk of ‘digital natives’ to an understanding that there are many different patterns and levels of youth engagement with the Internet. Young people’s uses range from a majority predominantly using the Internet to keep in touch with friends or for accessing entertainment content – chilling and killing time, rather than seeking opportunities to engage (the hanging out group) – through to a smaller group who are using the Internet to explore existing interests and new interests, experimenting with creating content or engaging in community online in a fairly light way (the messing about group) – and those who are using the Internet to really go deep into their interests, creating content, participating in communities and more (the geeking out group).

Awareness, Use, OutreachI was struck by how the framework of ‘hanging out, messing about, geeking out’ (and thinking about the relative numbers of young people at each layer of the model) fits with the framework I’ve been using in training with youth services around levels of professional engagement with social media. We’ve been talking about three levels in which youth services can engagement with social media:

  • Awareness – all staff need to be aware of how social media affects young people’s lives – and to understand that young people’s lives play out in both online and offline environments. Staff need to be able to identify risks and respond to them; to be sensitive to the role of the Internet and social media when supporting young people’s personal and social development; and to be able to identify and encourage young people to explore positive online opportunities.
  • Use – some staff should have the skills to use social media and other online services as youth work tools – whether to promote, extend or enhance face-to-face work; to equip young people with critical skills in making greater use of social media; or for promoting young people’s participation in projects. There are a wide range of different ‘use’ roles – and no single member of staff will be suited to them all. Use of social media in youth work builds upon existing practice and starts from established activities or groups.
  • Outreach – some services will want to consider creating new models of online working – reaching out to new groups of young people and providing online-only support and projects, or projects that start online, before leading to face-to-face and blended work.

(Drawn from the Youth Work & Social Networking Project final report (PDF), Davies & Cranston, 2008)

Awareness of social media for all workers ensures that youth services can provide support to the young people ‘hanging out’ online. The use of social media as a youth work tool either helps some of those ‘hanging out’ to move to stages of ‘messing about’ and exploring the possibilities of the Internet in more depth, or encourages young people to ‘geek out’ and get involved in-depth in an issue (and not necessarily a ‘geeky’ issue…).

When it comes to promoting the safety of young people online – we can reasonably expect that having a supportive youth work presence in young people’s exploration of the web as a space for messing about/exploring interests, or geeking out, and getting in-depth into an activity – can help young people to develop the critical skills to interact safely when they are exploring the web without youth work presence.

Combining these two frameworks also helps make sense of digital youth work in another practical way. Whenever planning a project, and thinking about whether it’s focus is on ‘awareness’, ‘use’ or ‘outreach’ – think as well about the young people you are trying to reach. Are they young people whose experience of the web is a place to ‘hang out’ only? Do you need to both show that the issue you’re trying to work on is important and that the Internet can be used for group-work, collaboration, campaigning and other community/civic tasks? Or are you trying to attract the attention of groups who are already ‘geeking out’ on other issues they already care about? In that case – you’ll need to really show how your project could use their existing skills, and could be fun/worthwhile/etc.

The interview

Two opportunities to explore social media & work with young people

[Summary: Two day course, and six-month action learning set on social media in youth work and youth participation]

Getting started with digital youth work, or with using digital tools in youth participation, can seem daunting to many. It’s not enough to just talk about how digital skills are essential assets needed in the youth-serving workforce, or to point to tools and approaches that professionals should be using. Training opportunities, capacity building, and ongoing action learning to inform that training are all needed. Which is why I’m really pleased that 2010 will see the return of two key opportunities.

1) Social Media and Youth Participation Action Learning Set

Building on the Action Learning Set I co-facilitated last year, this six-month (one meeting a month) action learning supports participants who are working to increase their own organizations engagement with social media. Through expert inputs, workshops and shared action learning projects with peers – the action learning set aims to develop the skills of individuals, and the capacity of organizations, to engage with social media in youth participation.

Last year’s set resulted in a printed and online guide; and supported a wide range of local projects – ranging from those focussing on social media and youth engagement around commissioning, to projects supporting the use of social networks to engage young people in care in decision making.

You can find out more about this year’s action learning set (first session taking place at the end of January) and details of how to book in this flyer: Social Media and Youth Participation Action Learning Set

2) Two-day training for Youth Work Professionals

After a successful pilot, Katie Bacon will be leading a number of two-day trainings in 2010, on ‘Social Media for Youth Work Professionals’. Katie & I have developed the course together, and initially we’ll be running a number of sessions in partnership with LECP Training.

This two-day training is designed to support youth professionals from a wide range of backgrounds to develop their understanding of social media and how to use it as a tool in their work. Including hands-on activities to learn to use different social media tools – it’s a practical training that grounds the use of social media tools in professional values and practices.

You can read about the pilot training day in this reflective blog post from trainer Katie Bacon, and keep an eye on the LECP Training network for details of when the public course dates are announced (join the network to get training alerts).

We’re also exploring how this training might be offered as in-service training in individual local authorities, or offered on a regional basis – so if you might be interested in having Katie and/or I come to train with your service/region, then do get in touch.

I’m also hopeful that 2010 will bring the completion of a couple more digital youth work resources I’ve been working on. More on that some other time…

Checklist for digital youth projects

[Summary: Draft of a new one page guide putting the critical questions approach to online safety into practice]

I’m heading to Coventry tomorrow to lead a training session in using social media for activism for young people involved in the DFID funded Youth For Fair Trade project. We’ll be exploring a whole range of social media tools that project can use to campaign online.

However, it’s important not only to equip young people with the skills to use social media, but we also need to talk about the skills to use social media safely. I’ll be including some elements from the ‘Critical Questions framework‘ I blogged about earlier this year, but, know that we’ll be tight for time on Sunday, and that leaving people with a aide-memoir is always a good thing – I’ve put together a draft one page ‘Social Media Checklist for safe and effective youth projects‘.

You can view it below, download the PDF here, and if you want to adapt and update it, as a word file here.

Like all the one page guides it is under a creative commons license to encourage you to take, remix and share back your updates. This is very much a draft, and so I would welcome your critical questions about it – and reflections on how it could be improved as a resource to support young people thinking positively and proactively about being sensible and safe as online actors.

Social Media Checklist for Youth Projects

Delete – The Virtue of Forgetting in a Digital Age

Delete - Virtue of Forgetting in a Digital Age[Summary: New book provides great discussion starters for youth groups on online content sharing and digital footprints]

Last week at the OII we were treated to an enchanting presentation by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger on his new book ‘Delete – The Virtue of Forgetting in a Digital Age‘. You can listen to an interview with Viktor talking about the book here.

The key thesis of the book is that, whilst in the past, forgetting was the default. Humans forget things. In a digital age, remembering is default. Computers, with cheap storage, can keep a copy of just about everything.

It is that new default, the default of remembering, that lies at the heart of many of the social challenges the Internet might present. The Facebook photos from teenage years that surface during job applications. The news report of a misdemeanour that appears top of Google searches for an individuals name, even though the midemenour took place years ago. The digital footprint that only grows and never shrinks. The comments on message boards that come back to haunt you.

This default of remembering is technical, legal and social: the technical choice of service providers to keep content indefinitely; the legal defaults that mean an individual can’t easily request information about them to be removed from what is now a very accessible public record (compare the news report indexed online and available with one click of a search button, to the news report which, though stil theoretically accessible years after being published only available on microfiche); and the social defaults of sharing content about other people without their consent, and of, as an individual, not going back to audit, and potentially remove some of, the content one has put online about oneself.

In ‘Delete’ Viktor explores a range of different responses that could move us back to a better equilibrium between ‘remembering’ and ‘forgetting’ – and at least one involves us each changing the way we think about keeping and deleting the digital content we are responsible for.

Youth work potential
‘Delete’ offers a great entry point into thinking about the Internet in youth work contexts. Not least

  • Using examples from ‘Delete’ to discuss online content with a youth group
    • Ask group members when they last deleted content online;
    • Ask if anyone has ever asked a friend to delete photos, videos or comments online;
    • Talk about whether the default should be remembering or forgetting, and what the pros and cons on each side are
  • Exploring your ‘Delete’ policy
    • If you use digital media with your youth groups, how long do you leave it online for?
    • How do you agree this with the group? Is it a discussion point?
    • Memories are not usually there one moment, gone the next – but they fade and become trickier to access over time. How can your archives fade, rather than be deleted? (For example, you might remove individual photos from a project website, but keep group photos after a set time; or you might replace full project details with a project summary on the web – but keep a digital copy of content in the project’s archives).

If you use ‘Delete’ as the basis for work with young people, make sure you share the story of what you did with others over on Youth Work Online.