IGF 2023 Lightning Talk #173 Strengthening Youth Resilience to Online Harms

Sunday, 8th October, 2023 (04:30 UTC) - Sunday, 8th October, 2023 (05:00 UTC)
SC – Room H

Cybersecurity, Cybercrime & Online Safety
Child Online Safety
Online Hate Speech and Rights of Vulnerable People

Amulya Panakam
Rachel Greenspan, Truth In Media, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG) Amulya Panakam, Truth In Media, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Rachel Greenspan, Truth In Media, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG) Amulya Panakam, Truth In Media, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Onsite Moderator

Rachel Greenspan, Amulya Panakam

Online Moderator

Rachel Greenspan, Amulya Panakam


Rachel Greenspan, Amulya Panakam



Targets: 4.5 By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education 1and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations MDM disproportionately affects minority and vulnerable populations, targeting those with limited digital skills, access, and resources. Specifically, MDM can increase the digital divide between vulnerable populations and education. Through this session, the speakers will examine this aspect and explore different policy recommendations. 4.7 By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development By tackling MDM, and utilizing the potential of youth and their understanding of social media/mass media, peacebuilders can better understand democracy and peace and its relation to online disinformation campaigns, which are often designed to sow discord and silence the voices of marginalized communities. MDM often exacerbates human rights issues and political radicalization involving youth is critical to the future of equitable sustainable development in the digital domain. 5.1 End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere Gendered disinformation and propaganda threatens women and girls’ rights. Attacks often portray women and girls as inherently untrustworthy and overtly emotional, but building a safer and more inclusive digital space for them can help create a framework that is uplifting and supportive. By involving young women and girls in this process, peacebuilders and policymakers can combat gendered disinformation to empower women and girls. 5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life As mentioned above, gendered disinformation can hinder women’s participation for leadership and decision-making, and the presentation of women often leaves their capabilities undermined. Educating youth, and preparing them for our media-saturated world can enable next generations of women to fairly and equally participate in government, and reduce the biases and stereotypes towards women. 5.b Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women Enabling technology and using it to empower women is critical to creating an equitable digital society, as it allows women to bridge the digital gender divide. Radical narratives that emerge from MDM can have damaging consequences for marginalized groups, including women and populations of color.​​ Therefore it is imperative to empower and educate young women to promote social cohesion and awareness, and to encourage positivity and democracy online. 16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels MDM can distort truth, and disrupt democratic processes. MDM is powerful in creating targeted messages that influence the public, and ensuring future participatory and representative decision making starts with involving youth at every step. Creating opportunities for youth to voice concerns and expressions online is vital to civic engagement and to confronting MDM at the root. 16.8 Broaden and strengthen the participation of developing countries in the institutions of global governance By creating a more equitable digital domain, developing countries have more opportunities to participate and grow. Through mitigating MDM, and sustainably building a more positive outlook towards the internet, youth and others can sustainably use the internet for freedom of expression without fear of retribution, search for economic opportunities, and service this idea to spread institutions of global governance. This session will discuss the social, political, and economic impacts of mobilizing youth to spread democratization. 16.10 Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements. According to a Harvard study, MDM is linked to lower trust in media and government. MDM deters public access to information and endangers fundamental freedoms. MDM’s implications pose threats to the right of having a free and fair election, critical health information as demonstrated during the pandemic, and additional pervasive impacts. MDM has caused physical threats and harassment towards poll workers in the United States, Russia has used information warfare as a tactic in their invasion of Ukraine, and MDM has rapidly advanced inaccurate information about COVID-19 across the globe. MDM threatens access to accurate information, especially for vulnerable populations like youth and women. Teaching younger generation media literacy skills and mobilizing them can help ensure access to information in an increasingly more authoritative digital age. 17.17 Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships This session will focus on creating and strengthening partnerships across public domains including government, civil society, the private sector, and international organizations. There is often a disconnect between institutions on how to tackle misinformation, disinformation, and mal-information (MDM) and this session will expand on the strategies, tools, and policies that will strengthen youth’s ability to be resilient to MDM, while also promoting awareness and education on the topic. Cyber threats, including harmful narratives that emerge from misinformation, disinformation, and mal-information (MDM), can have damaging consequences for marginalized groups including women and populations of color, increase the digital divide, disrupt democratic processes, and inflict harm to youth populations often considered to be "digital natives". Creating opportunities for youth to voice concerns and express themselves responsibly online is vital building resiliency and confronting MDM. This session will examine these elements and implications of information disorder, and explore different policy recommendations. Through the lens of a more informed and responsible outlook towards the internet, youth and others can engage in freedom of expression without fear of retribution, raise awareness and healthy skepticism related to information disorder, and share these ideas to inform governance and education. Creating opportunities for youth to learn, spread awareness, and explore solutions is vital to confronting this challenge and enhancing youth resiliency.



Duration (minutes)

Strengthening youth resilience to cybersecurity threats including cybercrime and the impacts of mis, dis, and mal-information (MDM) by emphasizing online safety and the ability to navigate the complexities of today’s digital information ecosystem as essential components to individual safety and resilience. Discuss multi-stakeholder engagement, educational initiatives, and policy approaches to build capacity and resilience, and ultimately empower youth to engage safely and productively online.

This session will utilize a number of interactive elements to bridge ensure engagement and participation from both onsite and online speakers and attendees. Session speakers will leverage live polling, interactive classroom tools like nearpod.com, brief breakout discussions, active moderation of comments (both online and onsite) and a brief Q&A. Both onsite and online attendees will have access to the same digital platforms to ensure cohesiveness. The speakers will deliver a concise presentation featuring the perspectives of young students from across the country, followed by a series of thought-provoking questions to engage the audience and facilitate a productive discussion. At the end of the session, speakers will employ an activity to gauge participant understanding and re-emphasize key takeaways.