Nowadays internet plays a key role in our lives so it is possible to say that the online and the offline environments are highly intertwined. Specifically, young people use the internet for entertainment, socializing and gaining information. It has been observed that young people usually seek for two kind of information, one of them is different types of opportunities in education, employment and training and the other one is “answers” to several types of questions related to psychology, health and sexuality. For instance, young teenagers may look for information about sexually transmitted diseases or how to terminate an unexpected pregnancy, since they feel uneasy to discuss these topics with their peers, parents or school counselors.
Due to the development of web 2.0 applications each one of us can produce and consume information simultaneously. As a result, it gets harder to assess the validity of information found on the internet. In my opinion, the youth information infrastructures in Europe (Eurodesk, ERYICA, Youth Information Centers etc.) and the youth organizations have a really important role in providing high quality information to young people. It is also important to enforce the already existing cooperation between youth information infrastructures and youth organizations.
Moreover, the provision of high quality information is correlated with the active participation of young people online and offline. First, they know that their opinion can be heard and thus contribute to the development of youth policies. Secondly, they become aware of different forms of active participation, especially the structured dialogue and finally young people become strong actors on decision making processes. Cyber bullying is definitely a barrier of the online active participation of the young people; as a result, EU and youth stakeholders should cooperate in the development of infrastructures in the field of online hate speech.
It is obvious that web 2.0 gives us unlimited possibilities to educate young people about several social issues, motivate them to participate online and inform them about opportunities around the world. Personally, I believe that all kind of youth infrastructures should cooperate in order to provide young people with high quality information.
NM Journalist, YEU International
The article was published on “YEU INTERNATIONAL NEWSMAIL SEPTEMBER 2013”.