First youth digital rights and literacy event

9th November 2017

DUBLIN, 9 November 2017 – UNICEF and Twitter held a special consultation on digital literacy and activism with 50 teenagers in Dublin today. The group were invited to Twitter EMEA HQ to work on solutions to the challenges arising from the influence of digital on young people.

At the #DigitalYouth17 event, Transition Year students from across Ireland joined industry leaders from Twitter and digital influencers including social media superstar James Kavanagh.

Young people all over the world are growing up in a digital age, the impact of which has yet to be fully understood. While this presents challenges, it also offers enormous opportunities for young people in education and activism and in connecting them with like-minded individuals worldwide.

Teenagers at the event talked about digital divides that have opened up globally, while Twitter offered insight into digital literacy, the importance of maintaining a good online reputation and how to verify trustworthy sources in an online space. The day was themed around harnessing the opportunities of digital while recognising that vulnerable young digital users need to be protected.

The group also heard from young digital activists about how social media platforms can be used to achieve change in the world, including Vlogger Sean Downey and Entrepreneur Elle Loughran.

Managing Director of Twitter Ireland, Sinead McSweeney said: “This collaborative partnership with UNICEF Ireland is a recognition of the importance that Twitter places in promoting digital literacy education and positive digital citizenship. With events like #DigitalYouth17, Twitter is committed to helping students engage with an increasingly diverse online environment, while empowering them to use digital platforms when they feel compelled to speak out on issues they’re passionate about.  

“We have developed an Educators’ Guide to give teachers the confidence to bring Twitter into the classroom and enrich the school experience, including information on account security and safety. It is of great importance that young people develop critical media skills. Digital literacy should be built into our approach to education and be a core topic in schooling. As online tools become more ubiquitous, it is vital that we build resilience, a critical eye and digital literacy in students so they have the skills to successfully navigate the modern world.”

Executive Director of UNICEF Ireland, Peter Power noted: “UNICEF protects and promotes children’s rights all over the world. In Ireland, we make policy recommendations to ensure Irish children get the best opportunities in life. Involving young people in that process is crucial, because we believe they should be given every opportunity to influence their own futures.”

Social media superstar James Kavanagh works with UNICEF to promote child rights: “I am all about digital activism. People should use their social media platforms to speak out about things that matter to them. I feel very strongly that that is the responsibility of the digital influencer. Everybody has a voice. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Connecting with other people on things you care about can change your life – it has changed mine.”

A set of recommendations on digital rights for young people will be produced out of this unique collaboration, all written by young people. The recommendations will be presented to children’s rights groups, industry stakeholders and policy makers.

ENDS ###

Note to editors

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, to build a better world for everyone. For more information, visit www.unicef.ie

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

About Twitter (NYSE: TWTR)

Twitter is what’s happening in the world and what people are talking about right now. From breaking news and entertainment to sports, politics, and everyday interests, see every side of the story. Join the open conversation. Watch live streaming events. Available in more than 40 languages around the world, the service can be accessed via twitter.com, an array of mobile devices, and SMS. For more information, please visit about.twitter.com, follow @Twitter, and download both the Twitter and Periscope apps at twitter.com/download and periscope.tv.

For more information, please contact:

Aedín Donnelly, UNICEF Ireland, 085 1395272, aedin@unicef.ie

Sarah Harte, Twitter, sarahh@twitter.com

Photo: Social media superstar James Kavanagh with students from Newark Comprehensive, Blackrock, Dublin. By Mark Stedman
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