Are we starting from youth…

I'm at a conference on Young People, New Technologies and Political Engagement.

The title of the conference is the right way round – but most of the parallel papers I've listened to have been presented back to front. They seem to have started from Politics and Technology – with only a passing reference too or understanding of young people.

Unless we start exploring e-democracy for youth engagement from an understanding of the 'objective' processes of youth development, from young peoples subjective experiences and from the perspective of the political issues facing young people – we're going to keep on missing the point.

We need to define the population we're talking about. We need to understand if anything makes this group different. What are the features of this population, either as a generation cohort, or as a stage of life – that makes their engagement with democracy or with democracy through technology different from that of any other population?