Fostering the application of digital technologies to youth work (September 2020)
The application of digital technologies to an increasing number of activities in everyday life is a fast growing trend. Many aspects of young people’s life are transformed, the drastic move to online schooling forced by the Covid-19 pandemic being an example. Youth work too is increasingly employing digital means to reach young people. This includes for example using social media to share information, offering online counselling and enabling youth participation through digital tools. in addition, digital youth work fosters young people’s knowledge of digital technologies and awareness of the potential risks connected, which is especially important for those who have limited familiarity with digital means.
EU Member States have agreed to enhance the digital capacities of youth workers so that they can fully exploit digital technologies in their activities. States have committed to include digital skills in youth workers’ education and training, and to equip them with supporting tools like guidelines, toolboxes, and digital infrastructures. At the same time, opportunities for young people to use digital instruments in their participation in youth work activities must be increased.
According to the map, about two-thirds of European countries have established measures to facilitate the use of digital resources in youth work. Some countries focus on reinforcing the competences of youth workers. For example, Scotland’s “YouthLink” has developed tools to build youth workers’ capacity in organising digital projects, such as short films illustrating best practices from other countries.
National authorities also encourage the creation of online services and activities engaging young people and responding to their needs. Following this approach, Portugal focuses on transferring youth work to the online sphere. The youth work programme “Cuida-te+”, which promotes health and healthy behaviour among youth, now offers support and counselling through an online platform.