It’s an undeniable truth that the online world has been increasingly influential in current times, especially among the youth. A single post can reach the eyes and ears of thousands in mere seconds and has the capacity shape opinions and form personal stands. Social media has provided its users with endless possibilities with everyone having access to information with just a click away. However, amidst the comfort and easiness social media has granted us lies a ringing call for a greater digital purpose—how can we use such immense power and widespread influence for social good?
This is the golden question that sparked the idea behind the Think Before You Share: Digital Youth Summit, a three-day conference held last October 5-7, 2017 organized by Facebook in partnership with Mano Amiga, a multi-awarded NGO in the Philippines. The summit aims to train the youth to think critically online by assessing the credibility and authenticity of online news and resources. In this day and age where news is spread so loosely, it is vital to equip Internet users with the right knowledge on how to identify authentic and credible sources. The summit also aims to empower the youth to champion responsible digital citizenship by enabling them to become better digital leaders, with a hands-on opportunity for them to build online campaigns that promote digital literacy amongst their peers.
The Digital Youth Summit opened the floor for a healthy and engaging panel discussion as some of the finest media personalities in the country took the stage and shared their personal stories, ideas, and opinions that shed light on digital empowerment.
Facebook Youth Roundtable
The Facebook Youth Portal Roundtable was a project of Facebook in partnership with Mano Amiga Philippines. The event was a roundtable discussion with interactive activities to gather feedback and ideas from teens around the Facebook Youth Portal. Mano Amiga aimed to recruit a representative group for the Facebook Youth Roundtable with a balanced gender ratio and an equal number of participants in two age groups (13-15 and 16-18).
There were 21 participants in total, with five participants aged 13-15 against 15 participants aged 16-18. Of the 21 participants, 12 were female, and nine were male. The participants were from slightly varying economic backgrounds; eight were invited from the senior high school at the (publicly funded) University of Makati, five were invited through Mano Amiga Academy, and eight were invited through the facilitators’ network.
The event was held at the Facebook Manila office, in a large room with a classroom set up, leaving space for a breakout session. The event, a direct interaction with a sample group of teens, is the first of its kind for Facebook and Mano Amiga in the Philippines.