Today's meeting in Tallinn of Directors General on Youth addressed the new challenges for youth work in the digital era. The wide use of digital devices offers new opportunities for youth workers as well as sets new challenges in communicating online and offline.
The director of the Youth Department of the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research Reelika Ojakivi, who chaired the meeting pointed out, that using digital devices and data in youth work is essential if we want to reach the youth who are more experienced with technology than the youth workers, especially if we want to learn more about the needs and wishes of youth. “Raising the topic of smart youth work provides an opportunity to showcase Estonian achievements, but even more importantly – to draw attention to need to digitalise youth work and develop youth workers competencies regarding digital advantages as well as cyber threats, which are a serious challenge in the era of constantly being online via devices.”
Delegates from member states shared their best practices and discussed issues related to the youth use of technology. They addressed that the big challenge is reaching youth who are constantly online, in order to use their full potential. Using gaming or the help of Youtubers to introduce youth work opportunities should be an everyday tool from now. The use of big and open data to better reach youth was discussed as well. However one of the issues was how to protect young peoples privacy at the same time.
The Directors Generals were also given an overview of issues that matters for youth today and in the future that were coming out from the European Youth Conference 'Youth in Europe: What’s Next?' held on 24-26 October in the Tallinn Creative Hub (Kultuurikatel) and will be an input to the new EU Youth Strategy.
The priorities of the Estonian Presidency of Council of the EU include the future of youth and the youth field in EU, smart youth work, and voluntary work.