IGF 2023 Lightning Talk #117 Promote next-gen internet governance via youth-led research

Monday, 9th October, 2023 (08:15 UTC) - Monday, 9th October, 2023 (09:20 UTC)
SC – Room H

Cybersecurity, Cybercrime & Online Safety
Child Online Safety
New Technologies and Risks to Online Security

Cybersecurity, Cybercrime & Online Safety

David Ng, Co-founder, eHelp Association, Civil Society, Asia Pacific

Yang Taiyu, Head of Secretariat, Cybersecurity Youth Committee, Civil Society, Asia Pacific

Children and Youth Representatives from Child Research Officers (CRO), Civil Society, Asia Pacific


Children and Youth Representatives from Child Research Officer (CRO)

Onsite Moderator

David Ng, Co-founder, eHelp Association, Civil Society, Asia Pacific

Online Moderator

Yang Taiyu, Head of Secretariat, Cybersecurity Youth Committee, Civil Society, Asia Pacific


Yang Taiyu, Head of Secretariat, Cybersecurity Youth Committee, Civil Society, Asia Pacific



Targets: In youth-led research, the topics often cover online safety and digital inclusion. Digital inclusion aims to provide access to digital resources, such as education, to everyone, which is closely related to SDG 4 of providing equitable quality education for all. When discussing online safety, the elimination of sexual abuse and inappropriate materials for children of all genders aligns with SDG 5 of promoting gender equality. Youth-led research is a powerful method for empowering young people to raise awareness of internet-related issues and engage in internet governance discourse. Through the research process, it also supports the advocacy of SDGs.


Lightning Talk Session structure Part 1: Introduction to youth-led research (10min) Part 2: Key findings of current studies (5 min) Part 3: Takeaways of youth-led research engagement approach (10 min) Q&A (5min)

Duration (minutes)

As the primary users and future leaders, it is crucial that young people are involved in shaping the policies that will govern the online world. This lightning talk will showcase the power of youth-led research in promoting next-generation internet governance. Through youth-led peer study, it demonstrates young people have the capacity to contribute to the ongoing conversation on Internet governance and create a ripple effect among their peers. Youth representatives from the Child Research Officer (CRO) will be speaking in this session. CRO representatives have been engaged in annual youth-led research studies and presented reports at APrIGF in the past, including Macau 2015, Thailand 2017, and Russia 2019. During this lightning talk, they will share the process of youth-led research, key findings from their current study on topics related to online safety, cybercrime, and cybersecurity, and the takeaways and impacts of this engagement approach.

Session Structure:
Part 1:  Introduction to Youth-led Research
Part 2: Voices of Children & Youth:     
- What are the internet issues that CROs concern most?
- What have CROs experienced, and how has this engagement influenced them?     
- What are their next steps?
Part 3: Voice from the Adult Observer
- Impact of the model
Part 4: Wrap-up + Q&A

Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)

Youth-led research serves as a potent catalyst for empowering and involving children and youth in internet governance discussions. It presents a proactive approach to youth engagement and empowerment.

Developing a sustainable model is essential to facilitate the broad adoption of the youth-led research approach in internet governance, ensuring the longevity and effectiveness of these initiatives.

Call to Action (* deadline 2 hours after session)

Support youth participation in internet governance through diverse and innovative approaches, fostering a more inclusive and sustainable governance framework.

Create platforms for youth voices at local, national, regional, and international levels, enabling a dynamic exchange of ideas and perspectives among young people and different stakeholders.

Session Report (* deadline 26 October) - click on the ? symbol for instructions

The lightning talk was co-organized by the eHelp Association, the Cybersecurity Youth Committee, and the Child Research Officers (CRO) aged 11-18. 

The objectives of the session were to:

i) provide a platform for young people to express their concerns about internet issues directly

ii) share the key insights gained from adopting the youth-led research approach to engage the younger generation in the Internet governance domain, and more importantly, to share key takeaways from both the program coordinator and participants’ perspectives

iii) allow young people to present their future plans for supporting peers’ involvement in the Internet Governance discussion, and 

iv) create opportunities to co-manage and co-design this sharing experience with young people in an International internet policy discussion platform

The youth-led research approach consists of three key components: i) Children and youth researcher training and research preparation, ii) Presentation at the Annual Forum, including Youth Summit in China, and iii) Exchange of views at international conferences and visits, such as Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum.

During the session, CROs shared their insights and addressed questions including, What are the internet issues that concern children and youth researchers the most? How was the research experience and how has it influenced them? What are the next steps in the Internet Governance journey?

From the sharing, key elements of the youth-led research approach were emphasized, including: 

i) Inquiry-driven: The approach is centred around the interests of young researchers and is designed to ignite curiosity. 

ii) Authentic and relevant: The research topics are chosen by young people which align with their daily life experiences. The relevance creates a sense of urgency when addressing real-life challenges. 

iii) Platform for expression: It provides a valuable opportunity for young researchers to express their thoughts, perspectives, and concerns. 

iv) Meaningful participation and view exchange: The approach encourages active participation and facilitates the exchange of diverse viewpoints with different stakeholders from diverse backgrounds. 

v) Sustainable engagement: It aims to go beyond one-off initiatives, fostering a culture of ongoing involvement and commitment. 

vi) Starting with small steps: It encourages young researchers to take initial steps and create a ripple effect, inspiring their peers to get involved as well.

Regarding the impact of the approach, it demonstrated a significant impact on different stakeholders. For children and youth, it fosters the development of important skills such as perspective-taking, logical thinking, and evidence-based reasoning. It also helps them develop a sense of ownership and active participation in shaping a better internet. By engaging in research, they contribute to the co-construction of an internet environment that meets their needs and aspirations. For adults, including government officials, corporate representatives, youth workers, educators, and parents, the approach offers valuable insights and helps them gain a better understanding of the actual needs and concerns of children and youth. By valuing the voices of youth and children, it enables adult stakeholders to make informed decisions and take appropriate actions. For example, policymakers can develop comprehensive policies that address the challenges faced by young people in the digital realm. Similarly, program coordinators can design initiatives that effectively promote the well-being and empowerment of children and youth in the online world.

The session ended with a Q&A from the floor, one of the guests proposed utilizing online crowdfunding methods to support the follow-up initiatives by youth researchers. This method would not only raise public awareness but also provide the necessary funding for operational projects. Another suggestion put forward was to explore opportunities for collaboration with regional Internet Governance platforms. By partnering with these platforms, it would be possible to enhance the research efforts and reach a broader audience, thereby maximizing the impact of the youth-led research approach.