According to a survey by the CREDOC - Centre for Research and Documentation on Living Conditions (Centre de Recherche pour l’Étude et l’Observation des Conditions de Vie), 99% of 12- to 17-year-olds and 18- to 24-year-olds are web users across all types of connection.
A survey steered by the INJEP / DJEPVA and carried out by the CREDOC in October 2016 emphasises the high level of involvement of young people in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and social networks . The survey underlines the rise of forms of mobilisation, such as signing an on-line petition, which is is an indication of that interest in new technologies.
Furthermore, in 2020 the INJEP National Institute for Youth and Non-Formal Education (Institut National de la Jeunesse et de l’Éducation Populaire) published an article on youth political participation: La participation politique en ligne des jeunes à travers le prisme des inégalités socioculturelles [Online participation of young people through the prism of socio-cultural inequality]. The analysis highlights that:
Digital and social media appear to be the main bases and vectors of youth political participation today. "Having signed a petition or defended a cause via the internet, a blog or a social network" is 2019, the most cited form of participation by 18-30 year olds, ahead of bénévolat, collective action or, even more so, partisan activism (CRÉDOC, 2019).
In recent months, the 'global climate strike' or the Gilets jaunes [yellow jacket] movement - two advocacy actions that have strongly mobilised young people, or more precisely some of their components (Collectif d'enquête sur les Gilets jaunes, 2019 [Collective for the investigation of the Yellow jackets]) - have highlighted the importance of digital tools in collective mobilisation. This digital participation, which is constantly increasing (CRÉDOC, 2019), therefore contradicts, or at least nuances, the media and political discourses describing youth as "disengaged, apolitical, individualistic and apathetic" (Becquet, Goyette, 2014)
Faced with the ubiquity of the Internet and digital tools in the daily lives of young people, the public authorities are encouraging the use of ICT and education in these new means of communication, which contribute to the development of youth participation.
Digital consultations and participation
- In October 2018, the Government organised an online consultation on the « National universal service » (Service national universel) commitment scheme. This consultation targeted youths in particular to encourage their participation in the development of this scheme concerning them.
- In 2019, on the 30th anniversary of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and in order to carry out his mission to follow up on the recommendations of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, the ombudsman created a national consultation mechanism. Its objective was to collect the thoughts, proposals and recommendations of children regarding the implementation of their rights in France. In order to include as many children as possible, including the most vulnerable ones, the Defender of Rights mobilised nearly 50 associations fighting for the respect of children's rights in France: 2,200 children, from 4 to 18 years of age (with a large majority of 8-14 year olds) were able to participate.
- The Ministry of National Education also supported the launch of the Isoloir.net project in partnership with other stakeholders, including the European Commission, Île de France Region, and associations from the digital field. That digital arrangement aims at encouraging awareness and citizen action among young people aged 14 to 18, and placing in the public arena young people’s opinions on the great debates of society. Isoloir.net is an active-education tool that is part of the trend of “Serious Games”, applications developed from video-game technologies but that do not aim at providing only entertainment.
In parallel with digital participation, the public authorities, especially the Ministry of Education and the INJEP - National Institute for Youth and Non-Formal Education, have carried out several studies and a significant amount of research on the use of new technologies by young people, and on “digital citizenship”.