ERYICA (European Youth Information and Counselling Agency) is currently working on a project to produce an InfoKit for youth information workers across Europe. The InfoKit will be designed to help information providers facilitate young people’s access to high quality information, balancing the risks and opportunities.
The InfoKit aims to highlight some of the key issues in helping young people get the information they need, growing up in an information society enabled by digital networks.
The InfoKit will include learning activities that youth information workers can run with the young people they support. In this way, it’s hoped that they can boost knowledge sharing about these issues of quality and safety in using the web as a information resource.
In Antalya, Turkey, ERYICA organised an international session (11th-14th November) with 26 young people from across Europe to help pilot a range of different activities that will be included in the InfoKit when it’s published at the end of April 2011.
What was striking was just how getting info from the web was something all the young people could relate to, regardless of their cultural differences. It was clear that the web is crossing geographical and cultural boundaries in more ways than one. It felt like geography is less of a dividing line, than age is when it comes to the understanding the web.
Pragmatism and Culture
It seemed like the young people’s we spoke to and worked with in the workshop’s sessions had an attitude to the web that was assimilating two distinct aspects of the web.
The first is an impressive capacity for pragmatism. It was clear that the web’s existence was a practical reality. It affects their approach to school, to life with friends and to those around them.
“If I have a question for a friend it’s simpler to message them”, said one, “calling them means I’d have to go through the social niceties of polite conversation. Messaging is quick and gets to the point”.
The second is a coming to terms with a new and emergent culture mediated by digital networks. From the discussions that took place in the sessions, one overriding theme was how the web is changing social norms in often confusing and topsy turvey ways. For example, making sense of friendship where you’re messaged on Facebook by a school companion to tell you that they saw you in the street.
“If they can’t say hello to my face, are they still friends?”, asked one of the delegates.
This is a new web culture and we’re all discerning the values as we go along- wherever we live in the world.
In one of the activities we road-tested, we asked the young people to script, record and produce a short video imagining they were explaining the internet to aliens visiting from outer space. They used flip cams and within a matter of hours had produced interesting results. The film below, just one of those made, more than demonstrating what the young people achieved during the time in the workshop session, gives a general flavour of the discussions and atmosphere of this time together. Enjoy.
You can find the others on Marc Boes’ post on the social network for youth information workers – SHERYICA.