Eiman – My BIK Youth Panel Experience
This year, I was lucky enough to be on the Irish Better Internet for Kids Youth Panel.
It is an initiative funded by the European Commission to allow young people, the biggest actors in the online world, to share and collaborate on what we believe are the biggest problems facing young people, and also the solutions.
My role on the Youth Panel was to plan, and perform in, our 1 hour long session in the Safer Internet Forum 2019 in Brussels on November 21st. The theme for this year’s forum was “Online Violence”. Most European countries have one or two youth panellists representing their country, and we carried out webinar meetings to discuss our plans for the big day.
Through our group chat on Instagram, we also decided to create an Instagram Account: @Bik.youthforyouth .
There, we have introductions to the Youth Panel audience, while also sharing helpful resources on different aspects relating to internet safety. We also launched a survey to really see how badly the youth were affected by online violence, our results from our survey were used as part of our session and we got answers from students from all around Europe, which I think is pretty spectacular.
All of 27 of us [Youth Panellists] clicked right away from our first meeting. The Instagram groupchat helped us to discuss our plans and ideas for the forum but to also get to know one another. When I arrived in Belgium on the 19th, with never having met anyone on the panel prior, it was so unbelievably easy to chat to everyone to get comfortable.
The 19-21st could not be more jam-packed with organising our 1hr and 15 mins long session. From morning to night, we were in groups and divided out the workload. We were determined to bring a fresh new twist on the Youth Panel performance. We chose to create a mini-sketch or role play of a young person calling a helpline, to showcase a very common scenario for teens, while also saying how the sketch interlinked with our survey results. We then presented the Instagram account to the audience. Finally, each youth panellists chaired their own table discussion on the online violence issue that means the most to us.
The whole experience is one I will never forget for a number of reasons. I got to develop my skill set. I improved my communication skills, especially when I had to chair my own table discussion of adults, it’s an opportunity I may not get again as a child.
From the Instagram account, to writing the script for our sketch. It was a team effort and the team work the panel formed was of the most benefit to me.
While also doing all of the hard work I mentioned. I also got to make a lot of new friends. One form almost every country in Europe!
To listen to the different languages and hear the stories of their country and culture was nothing you could ever read in a book.
Overall, My time on the BIK Youth Panel, was something I’ll take with me forever!