If the words “Zoom,” “Google Spreadsheets,” and “Tik Tok” sound familiar, you must have access to the internet.
As a young person, and especially after the COVID-19 Pandemic, where most of our interactions turned digital, it sounds a bit worrying to think of a world without Whatsapp groups, YouTube videos, e-learning platforms, or even memes (like... who does not enjoy a good laugh?).
However, although digital access is a reality for many people, for example, you! who is reading this blog post from a computer or a mobile device, it is still a challenge for two-thirds of the world’s school-age children who still do not have an internet connection in their homes. In this over-digitalized world, it sounds like a problem, right?
But where do we start to ensure digital access for all? Well, first things first, let’s hear the voices of young people.
The Global Shapers Community launched the Davos Lab Initiative, a multistakeholder action to understand what enduring changes young people foresee after the COVID-19 pandemic and what Millennials and Generation Z would do differently if they were in charge.
With this goal ahead, our U-Report community activated and supported Global Shapers to get more insights into how youth perceived digital access and what can be done to achieving universal digital access to all. In response to this partnership, nearly 7,500 U-Reporters answered a global poll, and this is what they said:
• 87% U-Reporters, between 15 to 30 years old, agree that digital access is the ability for people to fully participate in a digital society. For them, digital access should be a human right.
• 41% U-Reporters said everyone in their country "maybe” will have digital access within the next 10 years. 27% said “yes,” 21% think “no,” and 11% mentioned they “don’t know.”
• Regarding which stakeholder is the most important to partner with to improve digital access. This is their top list:
Telecommunication Businesses (21%).
Digital Device Businesses (17%).
Civil Society (12%).
To see the full results and for more detailed information from the poll, click here.
Youth have spoken. Now, what comes next?
As part of the Davos Lab Initiative, Global Shapers also held dialogues and developed more surveys about 10 key issues for young people, Digital Access was one of them. The initiative efforts reached 2 million young people around the world!
With the collected results, the Davos Lab presented a Millennial Manifesto, a guide with principles and recommendations for governments, businesses, international organizations, and civil society to respond to the challenges facing the COVID generation and take immediate action to achieve a better world for young people.
©UNICEF/UN0139510/Gilbertson VII Photo
Do you want to know what youth suggested regarding Digital Access? These are the recommendations shared in the Davos Lab report:
1. Telecommunication companies should provide affordable data packages and offer free access to public service websites related to critical health and learning information.
2. To motivate the economic potential of greater connectivity, public-private coalitions are encouraged to raise their investment to help increase connectivity to over 80% by 2025.
3. Sanctions should be enforced against institutions and nations that resort to internet blackouts and deprive communities of fundamental rights and freedoms.
4. Organized groups can collect and share connectivity indicators around the globe and mobilize efforts to support and finance digital infrastructure initiatives.
To see the full results and recommendations from the Davos Lab: Youth Recovery Plan, click here.
Well, the next steps are clear.
Now, let’s just take a moment and think to yourself: isn't it amazing how a poll, a partnership, and youth voices can create a path to digital access for all?
Undoubtedly, #YourVoiceMatters. Participate in our U-Report polls and let your voice be heard.
If you are not part of our community yet, become a U-Reporter! Our global platform currently is connecting over 15 million young people in 85 countries and expanding to more regions. Every 5 seconds someone somewhere across the world becomes a U-Reporter.
Join us now at www.ureport.in/join