Camara Ireland and TechSpace participated in Screenagers, the National Youth Council of Ireland’s international seminar on ICT, digital, and social media in youth work. Hosted in the beautiful surroundings of Marino Institute of Education, there were informative, engaging, and challenging sessions on subjects such as digital innovation as well as online privacy and web safety, with examples of best practice from around Europe.
Participants agreed that young people need to be part of the conversation about how the internet is governed, and how to innovate in this field. With this in mind, Janice from Camara Ireland and TechSpace took to the stage to discuss our work with schools and youth groups, reusing computers to provide expert training in digital skills. Janice introduced TJ from YMCA Ireland, who talked about how a partnership with TechSpace has transformed the way he works with young people. Here, young people are being helped to master digital skills, becoming informed and engaged creators, rather than passive consumers.
Some of the most interesting questions that drove discussion were around the nature of the internet: is it a part of young people’s lives, or is it a way of life? If the latter is the case, then do we have to completely reconsider the difference between what is private and public? Can censorship ever be an adequate response to cope with these changes? And are youth organisations best positioned to help cultivate positive connections through online engagement to make the world safer and fairer for young people?
There was a lively discussion about how youth organisations can increase capacity and resources to act now. To give some examples: ReachOut.com encourages young people to talk about their private lives with youth workers in mental health.Similarly, we heard from the Centre for Digital Youth Care about a Danish example of online peer-to-peer counselling for young people.
In terms of digital education and innovation, The City of Helsinki Youth Department is exploring possibilities around online gaming. NERDY is raising awareness about the importance of privacy through educational content. They are also investigating how hate-fuelled comments can spread through online gaming communities. The no label project advises on digital strategies for organisations and projects. And verke are looking at innovative and communal web-based services.
Screenagers was a resounding success and we’re looking forward to more conversations and collaborations in Ireland, Europe, and internationally. Camara Ireland and TechSpace are interested in partnerships that help us to bridge the gap in twenty-first century skills for young people in low income communities. We’re intervening in the formal and informal education sectors to ensure a shared digital future for the next generation of innovators.
To donate computers to Camara please go to the Camara Education website or call (01) 6522673