This past year, many of our interactions happened virtually, with both positive and negative consequences, in particular when it came to children’s engagement online. Ensuring a safer and more respectful digital experience has become more important than ever before. All of us share the day-to-day responsibility of improving digital interactions and making online spaces more welcoming for everyone. As our recent Digital Civility research results for Europe demonstrate, young people are often leading the way in increasing respectful behavior online.
Yet, more can and should be done. Greater awareness-raising should start with young people themselves—and we at Microsoft believe that teens in particular can play an important role by modeling empathetic and responsible behavior online. As such, Microsoft is inviting applications for its Council for Digital Good Europe, an 18-month engagement program for teens from European countries. (Eligible youth from the European Economic Area plus Switzerland and the United Kingdom are encouraged to apply).
The Council for Digital Good Europe aims to offer a unique experience for a select group of teens across Europe. Through virtual and (hopefully eventually) in-person convenings, teens will have an opportunity to meet with and hear from Microsoft, as well as online safety partner organizations, and offer their insights to the company and others.
How to apply
Interested teens ages 14 to 16 living in the European countries specified above are invited to submit an online application by Monday, May 7, 2021. In addition to basic biographical information, the process calls for written essay or video responses to questions about online behavior and what experience applicants would like to gain as part of their participation in the Council for Digital Good Europe. All submissions must be in English and a good command of English (both written and spoken) is a requirement, as meetings will be conducted in English.
Council for Digital Good Europe program details
By the end of May, we plan to invite up to 15 teens to join the inaugural Microsoft Council for Digital Good Europe. The program will include monthly video conference calls leading up to a virtual summit later this autumn. We expect the summit to be followed by an in-person event and a more public forum in the summer of 2022, pending travel and other restrictions.
Microsoft’s investment in teen councils globally
In 2017, Microsoft piloted the original Council for Digital Good, and we’ve recently re-launched this effort in the United States. We’re eager to pair this work with the Council for Digital Good Europe. The program is crafted so that both participants and Microsoft hear, understand, and learn from each other—as we all seek to create a safer, kinder, and more empathetic digital world. Check here what teens from the inaugural U.S. Council for Digital Good had to say about their experience. Leading organizations working on digital safety in Europe have also welcomed Microsoft’s Council for Digital Good Europe initiative:
“For the past 15 years, the e-Enfance Association has been working to protect minors on the internet and to help their parents with digital parenting advice. The Microsoft Council for Digital Good – Europe is an initiative that we welcome because it supports young users as they improve their safety online.”
Our planned program builds on learnings from our pilot Council in the United States, as well as a sister Council for Digital Good established in Europe—both launched in 2017. Activities for this sister cohort are expected to continue. We thank our partner, Janice Richardson, for her work supporting this sister Council and look forward to continued collaboration in 2021 and beyond.
For questions about the Council for Digital Good Europe or planned activities, contact us here. To learn more about Microsoft’s work in digital safety generally, visit our website and resources page, and you can also review the European results of our recent Digital Civility Index released on Safer Internet Day, February 9. For more regular news and information on online safety globally, connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
This article was first published on 31 March by Microsoft.