Impressions from the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Istanbul 2014

My name is Luca Troncone and my partners name is Lennart Nickel (we are the guys with the white shirts in the second row)

We participate in the German Youth Panel which is part of the German awareness center called “klicksafe” and we currently attend the 12th class in grammar school. For one year now we are both involved in a program at our school called the “Medienpaten” or “media-scouts” which is led by klicksafe. Our job is to teach the younger pupils in our school how to work and live with the internet in a safe and appropriate way. We teach them, for example, how to use their smartphones safely or how they can react in cases of online bullying. 

After speaking at the European Dialogue on Internet Governance called “EuroDIG” in Berlin we were very cheerful to get the chance to participate in the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Istanbul from 2.-5. Sept. 2014. The IGF is a conference where people from all over the world meet in order to talk about online topics.

At our first day on the IGF we were part of a workshop about how to protect younger children's rights on the internet. For us, it is quite important to make the internet safer for children but without changing the internet itself. Installing filters or other parental control programs should just be a solution for younger children. At a certain age, people should get unlimited access to the internet so they can find their own limits and their personal best way to deal with the internet.

In our opinion the best way of preparing them is to bring people who already made their experiences with the internet and its risks together with younger children so they can show them how they use the internet and what mistakes they already made. One concept for a successful implementation is for example the media-scouts-program.

After the workshop we had great discussions with other participants from other workshops or we just sat down in the main hall to enjoy the other interesting workshops. On the second day we got the chance to explore Istanbul and its - quite nice sites. Our trip to the blue mosque and the Hagia Sofia, which counts to the most important buildings of the Christianity and the Islam, was almost perfect except the annoying traffic. All in all we had a great time in Istanbul and we took lots of good feelings back with us to Germany.

The IGF in Istanbul was also impressive because its supporters, like the UNO, enabled some people from much poorer countries to come to this event and present their thoughts about the internet. For example people joined the conversation and reported about the situation in their countries. In comparison to these countries, where young people don't have the right to contribute in the shaping process of the internet or where the majority of the inhabitants doesn't even have access to the internet, our problems seem to be unimportant or small. But I also think that it is important what we do and I hope for the future, more young people get the chance to participate in forums like the IGF. In the end, it was this diversity of cultures and personalities that made the IGF an unforgettable experience for us.