HANOI, 22 March 2019 – Engaging young people in discussions about internet policy issues that affect their lives was the goal of the Youth Internet Governance Forum (YIGF) held in Hanoi, Vietnam, on 21 and 22 March.
Vietnam’s first-ever YIGF provided young people with an opportunity to share their experiences and perspectives on internet issues with government officials, business leaders, impact entrepreneurs, journalists, and civil society representatives. Co-organized by the SecDev Foundation and non-governmental organization Vietnet-ICT, the YIGF was part of the wider Vietnam Internet Forum held on the same dates.
A youth committee was formed in preparation for the YIGF, with its members engaging in intensive discussions about the internet-related issues that mattered for them. “We know this is the first time Vietnam has had an YIGF event, and we youth are determined to make the most of this opportunity to spread a positive message and work against some of the negative issues we see online, such as misleading information and cyber bullying,” explained one youth delegate, Ngo Minh Anh.
Speaking at the event, Vietnet-ICT founder Nguyen Thu Hue said the YIGF was an important milestone in an ongoing effort to engage youth in internet policy discussions.
“Digital citizenship is a particularly useful concept for Vietnam as we seek to overcome many challenges in building a better Internet for all citizens, particularly the youth who are our future,” she said.
Michael L Gray, SecDev Foundation’s Digital Citizenship Vietnam program manager, added, “Adding youth voices to internet policy discussions is very important for the future. Youth are disproportionately affected by cyber-crime, bullying and disinformation online. Better digital futures for all requires youth to share their experiences and ideas. We are committed to supporting our local partners who are helping youth champions in Vietnam to engage on key policy issues.”
Going forward, the Youth Committee will be supported by an advisory board consisting of experts drawn from Vietnet-ICT, the Vietnam Internet Association and a number of local civil society organizations, to help them prepare for and organize a larger, second YIGF in 2020.
The SecDev Foundation has supported digital safety initiatives in Vietnam for over four years. The Digital Citizenship Vietnam program supports local actors and initiatives that are building awareness and knowledge on key issues that affect internet well-being in Vietnam– from digital risks, through to digital safety and citizenship, and how these connect to the global digital economy.