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Youth Participation in a Digital World

Youth Participation in a Digital World

Designing and Implementing Spaces, Programs, and Methodologies


Are you passionate about amplifying the youth voice? Would you like to meaningfully include youth in the work you do but are unsure where to start? Have you wondered about the types of programs, spaces, and methodologies — from youth labs to learning and co-design spaces, youth boards, and participatory research — youth find most valuable to engage with? Are you curious about how to navigate some of the challenges of developing and implementing different forms of youth engagement while embracing the great promise youth participation may offer? 

Across a number of areas of decision-making and digital life, from health and well-being to the future of product design, there is an increased interest in and awareness of the potential of enhanced youth participation in processes that were previously almost exclusively the domains of adults. With an increased perception of the importance of youth inclusion comes the question of how to meaningfully engage youth and what spaces, programs, methodologies, and other efforts best meet their unique interests and backgrounds. In light of that, a variety of organizations, including the Youth and Media team, have been exploring different models and consulting with youth about their perceptions of them. 

Youth Participation in a Digital World: Designing and Implementing Spaces, Programs, and Methodologies seeks to share Youth and Media’s initial insights around ways different stakeholders — such as international organizations, companies, researchers, and educators — can build participation models that enable meaningful youth (ages 12-18) engagement in our digital world. The paper, inspired by results from a 2020 global online youth consultation in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union and informed by different implementation pilots, highlights four youth participation models: 1) youth labs, 2) learning and co-design spaces, 3) youth boards, and 4) participatory research. The spotlight describes, for each model, the overall goal, what adult and youth participation might look like, potential challenges and barriers within and across models, possible first steps in designing such models, and existing examples of these forms of engagement.

If you are interested in implementing any of the youth participation models discussed in the spotlight or would like to learn more about the models, please reach out to Youth and Media at The team would be delighted to discuss how they might support you in promoting the meaningful engagement and leadership of youth in shaping our collective future. 

Youth Participation in a Digital World: Designing and Implementing Spaces, Programs, and Methodologies is one of the Youth and Media team’s “spotlights.” Additional spotlights include “Youth and the Digital Economy: Exploring Youth Practices, Motivations, Skills, Pathways, and Value Creation,” “Youth and Digital Citizenship+ (Plus): Understanding Skills for a Digital World,” “Youth and Cyberbullying: Another Look,” and “Youth and Artificial Intelligence: Where We Stand.”

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Youth and Media

Youth and Media (YaM) encompasses an array of research, advocacy, and development initiatives around youth (age 12-18) and digital technology.