SID 2023 in France: making the voice of young people heard, from theory to action

The BIK+ strategy aims to promote the digital empowerment of children and young people, and France wanted to affirm its alignment with the European policy by proposing a SID 2023 campaign committed to this specific principle.

Picture of two French flags and the Eiffel tower in the back

For the very first time in twenty years, the Safer Internet Day launch event in France gave a voice to yourh – a generation that is much talked about, but sometimes forgotten to be heard. With the support of the government, a hundred teenagers from scouting associations, secondary schools and public and private high schools were invited to the Ministry of Industry and Finance on the evening of 7 February to speak publicly about their wishes for improving their lives online. Their speeches, prepared in advance with the team of the French awareness centre Internet Sans Crainte, were in accordance with the theme of the campaign "What are our children doing online? And tomorrow?" and raised the questions of young people according to the three verbs "To inform, to communicate, to be entertained". To answer their questions, they were faced with a former minister, François Bayrou, two ministers, Jean-Noël Barrot, Minister Delegate for Digital Transition and Telecommunications, and Charlotte Caubel, Secretary of State for Children, as well as a hundred representatives of social platforms (TikTok, Twitter, Meta, etc.), the video game industry, GAFAM – the Big Five tech companies Google, Amazon, Meta (formerly Facebook), Apple, Microsoft – the press and, more broadly, the Safer Internet France Programme ecosystem.

What we learned from this edition of Safer Internet Day focused on the views of young people is that giving this generation a voice is essential, and the network of partners was delighted with this – but it is also an exercise that requires adults to be ready to listen to them, and to respond to them honestly and frankly. Listening to and publicly acknowledging the anger, frustration and disagreement of these teenagers when confronted with tools or services that sometimes cause them to experience injustice and violence is not easy in a world where the voice of industry is very powerful, and where policy makers struggle to implement responses to protect them. 

After this first edition, the French Safer Internet Centre (SIC) is convinced of the importance of bringing such experiences where adults and professionals of the sector are confronted with the limits of their own discourses and certainties. As an actor mandated by the European Commission for the protection of minors online, the French SIC has affirmed their role through this experience and is full of enthusiasm to imagine an even more participative format next year.

Find out more about Safer Internet Day in France. Alternatively, find more information about the work of the French Safer Internet Centre, including their awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services – or find similar information for other Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.

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