Diogenes Laertius Silva de Oliveira Filho, 17 de May de 2017, 12:47

Present and future of the Internet: youths as actors in the construction of the network

Today is celebrated the Internet Day, promoted by several organizations that participate in the network community. In 2005, the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), held in Tunis, Tunisia, proposed to the United Nations that May 17 was the World Information Society Day. In addition, since 1969 the World Telecommunication Day has been celebrated on the occasion, remembering the signing of the International Telegraph Convention.

In this day, as youths of this borderless knowledge society, we recognize the importance of the Internet and telecommunications, as well as recognize the challenges for its development in the context of social transformation.

But what is the role of youths on the Internet?

As Youth Observatory, we believe that we are at a crucial moment for the present and the future of the Internet. As youths, we are called to take an active role in favor of a free digital environment, for respect to diversity and also for a scenario of dialogue and exchange of knowledge.

We are called upon to resist and reject any kind of repression of freedom of expression, no matter where it comes from. We can not allow actors who use fear and reprisals as a form of control to create self-censorship in youth.

We recognize that not all young people currently have access to the opportunities offered by the Internet, but we need to clarify that the problem is not only access or non access. We need to discuss about quality of use and ability to develop capabilities. A very important issue is digital literacy for youths who have access to the Internet, but this is limited or scarce.

As we celebrate World Internet Day, we are aware of the need to work to improve statistics on the adoption of measures to increase digital literacy in the world. We must be in touch with youth awareness and involvement in Internet governance processes, the full exercise of fundamental rights such as privacy, the reduction of digital divides, and the adoption of strategies against surveillance. We also need to address issues such as bullying, gender discrimination and language discrimination, situations that young people face in Latin America and, why not, in the world.

This implies moving away from the comfortable and static online world we are used to and face the offline world. It means working hard to get other youth connected to the idea that shaping Internet governance is a task for all of us. And consequently,

that we need to step in and appropriate of these discussions.

We have a challenge, since raising our voices as youths in an unequal world is not easy. Moreover, just making our voices heard would be useless if we could not affect the construction of the present and the future of the Internet.

We will only be able to do such things if we can have the knowledge, experience, availability and willingness to face-to-face the other stakeholders in Internet governance. Spaces for debate are not grande for free; It's up to us to fight for them.

The leading role of youth throughout history often coincides with that of revolutionaries who want to build major social changes in the world.

Let us not reproduce in the online world the inequalities that afflict the offline world. Imagine, transform and make an Internet for the welfare of all.

What future do you want for the Internet?

Youth Observatory