WYRED Social Dialogues

A key aim of WYRED is to engage children and young people (C&YP) in a process of social dialogue giving them a voice to share their thoughts, fears and feelings in relation to the online world and explore a range of topics and themes that interest and/or concern them

26 face to face and including 2 online social dialogue sessions took place by end of June 2017 across 8 countries involving 436 C&YP! The Dialogues engendered lively and energetic debate among the children and young people using a range of creative techniques to motivate the C&YP.

The process of social dialogue allows for engaging and building alliances and the diverse nature of the groups reflected the inclusive nature of the WYRED project. C&YP proved themselves to be active decision makers. They felt heard and listened to in the process and willing to be challenged in relation to their ideas and concepts. Sound relationships were formed between groups of young people.

The dialogues facilitated by the 9 WYRED partners provided the opportunities for C&YP to explore both the digital and physical worlds in which they live. The themes identified throughout the Delphi process provided the stimulus for the later conversations to begin and to grow. However there was room for a number of other issues and topics to be explored which were initiated by the C&YP themselves.

The results from both rounds of the Delphi show that young people consistently attribute the highest importance to the issues of “self-image and self-confidence”, “tolerance to different cultures/opinions”, and “necessary changes in education”. One issue, mental wellbeing, is also perceived as very important and emphasized in some of the initial face-to-face social dialogues with young people carried out by the project team.

A wide range of potential research areas were identified throughout this process by some of the partners and this will be explored further.

The social dialogue phase has provided a unique opportunity for a range of stakeholders and most importantly our C&YP to be fully engaged in a process that will put them at the heart of research involving the online world which is part of their everyday lives. Research questions identified lend themselves to manageable and accessible projects which we are excited to take forward in the next phase of the WYRED project using a wide variety of expertly designed innovative research tools to appeal to the broad age range of the C&YP involved in the project.

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