The strong presence of young people on the Internet and the wide use of social media by this age group is known and proven by several national and international studies. According to the study ‘Employment, Mobility, Politics and Leisure’ (2015, Lobo, Marina; Ferreira, Sérgio; Rowland, Jussara, ISS), ‘the access to the internet shows generational differences noted by the general use of the Internet by younger age groups, becoming gradually rarer as the age goes up. Between young people (15-34 years), the percentage that states that they never access the Internet is relatively low (5,6%), and most of these cases consist of people that fall on socially disadvantaged categories. In fact, those who have more economic difficulties (17,9% of the young people who claim that their income is barely enough to live), those with a low level of education (11% of the people that only has a 9th grade education) and the unemployed (9,7%) state that they never access the internet’.
Regarding the purposes for which the Internet is used, according to the people surveyed, the use of social media comes first (76,9%), in front of other activities such as ‘sending and receiving emails’ (69,6%) and ‘looking for information about events, products, or services’ (57,4%).
Thus, any kind of initiative aimed at young people, in order to be effective, must have a strong feature of online communication, this being an essential condition to reach the intended audience. Therefore, the use of ICTs is mandatory in the promotion of young people's participation, in order to encourage their involvement in consultation processes, awareness-raising campaigns for diverse causes or participation in debate forums. Let's see some recent examples:
- The consultation process for collecting young people's opinion about the priorities for the creation of a Youth National Plan, aiming to improve public youth policies. One of the tools used for this purpose was an online survey, available between August and October 2017.
- The 70 NOW! campaign (Campanha 70 JÁ!) is a nation-wide information campaign on young people’s rights, as stated in article 70th of the Portuguese Constitution. It took place from the beginning of 2017 to the end of 2019, promoted by the Ministry of Education, the Secretariat of State for Youth and Sports and the IPDJ, I.P. This information campaign was developed online and offline with a heavy presence on social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook), schools and regional delegations of the Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth. It targets young people aged between13 and 30, youth workers, teachers and parents.
- The sounding out processes for the collection of contributions to the National Youth Strategy 2013, which were implemented in the White Paper on Youth. An online platform, managed by the IPDJ, I.P., was created for the collection of contributions of young people, youth organisations and other entities. It was online for five months. During this period, a total of 341 valid contributions about all of the nine thematic areas were considered. Around 200 young people, youth associations and organisations working with and for young people have accepted the challenge and shared their ideas for the White Paper on Youth on this collaborative platform.
- Participatory Youth Budget – young people had the possibility to submit their ideas online as well as to vote online as to decide where to invest a part of the State Budget.
Globally, IPDJ, IP has been making use of projects backed up by administrative modernisation and Simplex program in order to update the computerised platforms of interaction with young people, which RNAJ — National Youth Association Registry — or EDA — Statute of Association Leaders — are examples of.