In episode 4 of our podcast, we went deeper into the findings of the study.
We began with digital youth work and the fact that most digital tools and environments being used are not specifically designed for educational purposes, nor are they specifically targeting young people; much less marginalised young people.
From one perspective, there is still much space for developing and exploring youth workers’ competences and skills about digital youth work in general, and digital inclusion more specifically, but against that, most of the online platforms which have been identified by the study were created by NGOs, indicating how the youth sector is also leading in the attempt to address the digital needs of youngsters.
Even if the data was collected during 2019, as the numbers and figures would have surely increased with the boost given by the Covid pandemic to digitalisation, it is clear that
digitalisation could accentuate the lack of inclusion, as most platforms are not designed for this purpose.
Cross-sectoral work with the IT sector might be a possible way of tackling this issue.
Nevertheless, to remain aware of inclusion in digital environments, we should go on asking the same question:
who is included, who is excluded, and why?
In digital environments, exclusion might also result from a lack of information, of time, of resources, devices etc. so we should always aim to include those excluded for many of these reasons.
A possible benchmark for inclusive digital platforms should not be set solely by numbers and statistics, but by also focusing on how young people engage on these platforms.
In the same way, it is strategically important for the purpose of expanding inclusion that young people would increasingly become co-creators of the platforms and activities aimed at them, even in digital environments.