Young people had a say at the Budapest Conference on Cyberspace 2012

We all know that the young people are the true digital natives, the ones using cyberspace the most and with the greatest ease. It is therefore of the utmost importance to listen to their views on topics of particular interest to them related to the big themes of the Budapest Cyberspace Conference 2012. To this end a Youth Forum was organized on 4th October 2012 in parallel with the work of the main conference, which gathered almost 800 leaders and representatives from all over the world.

A hundred young people aged 17 to 25, coming from Hungary, Europe and other countries worldwide gathered to discuss among others how the Internet and the use of cyberspace can contribute to employment, growth and development; how to reap its social benefits and assert human rights promoting participation; how to handle their digital footprint, and what to do for their own safety on the net. To strengthen discussions and use the ideas of young people as a catalyst for all of us a real interaction between the generations took place in the closing panel including the participants of both the main conference and the Youth Forum at the end of this first day.

In the working group of Jobs and Youth (see outcomes in original form) the young participants were using the outcomes of the London Conference on Cyberspace 2011 and of its Youth Forum to discuss and collected ideas thinking about the question, how does the Internet contribute to employment, growth and development from the perspectives of youth? Are there jobs get lost because of Internet? On the other hand, how many jobs were and are created because of Internet? How do they refer to youth and their employability? Interesting questions with nuanced answers.

As inputs official opening speeches, 4 introductional presentations (watch the plenary video) and further sources such as the OECD Declaration for the Future of the Internet Economy (The “Seoul Declaration”) of 2008 and the OECD Council Recommendation on Principles for Internet Policy Making of 2011 were employed to delve deeper into the topic in this particular working group. TED Talks (Rob Reid: The $8 billion iPod) and Gapminder dynamic statistics regarding global Internet access and its correlation with GDP were also introduced to open minds and support understanding.

A semi-live video interview with the youngest member of the European Parliament was also an interesting input with MEP Amelia Andersdotter, which was played during the lunch break.

The young participants convened and came up with the following statements, opinions, and concrete recommendations for governments and authorities and for themselves.

Statements, opinions of young people

· there is a strong information mismatch between what the economy demands and what potential employees, including youth, are looking for
· we see major changes in the labour market, specifically the breaking down of geographical boundries, which both opens up opportunities and drastically increases employee competition in a cross-cultural context.
· formal schooling by itself does not provide the capacity to adopt to a flexible, ever-changing economy
· fresh graduates face the paradox that, to get experience you need a position, to get a position
you need experience
· we experience the lack of coordination between universities, private companies, NGOs, and government organizations produce a youth workforce that is ill-informed to meet the demands of the modern economy

Recommendations by young people for governments, authorities

· A tigther coupling between governments, universities and NGO, private industry stakeholders, established through proper incentive structures, to scaffold students through guided professional experiences, equipping them with needed experience to excell in the contempory Internet economy.

· An example of such intensive integration would be a centralized database of interested employers, prospective employees, and open positions. Such a technical solution would address the information mis-match, and equip students with roadmaps on how to gain such positions.

· Adjust our perspective on school to one that does not end at formal education, but must continue throughout life, as long as we wish to succeed in this ever-changing, flexible economy. This advice applies not just to youth, but to all economic participants in this Internet-driven world.
· Proactivity has never been more important. Taking the initiative to seek out the necessary knowledge and participate in student groups will go far to ensure relevancy and adaptibility as our economy changes faster than ever before in history.

Organizer of the conference was the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the youth forum was organized by Infotér Association with support of the European Youth Centre in Budapest of the Council of Europe. The four facilitators supporting the youth forum and the interaction between the young people and the main conference: Diána Hajdú-Kis, László Földi, Viktor Szabados, Szilárd Strenner.

The next year´s, third in a row Conference on Cyberspace will take place in South Korea.

Official website of Budapest Conference on Cyberspace 2012:

Official photo gallery:

Link of the report: