The Power of Youth to Challenge Dangerous Online Narratives

On 15 March 2018, 2030 Youth Force Indonesia was at Sydney to attend DIGI Engage 2018: Challenging Online Narratives. The Digital Industry Group Inc (DIGI) is a non profit advocacy body representing Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Oath and Twitter. Collectively they provide various digital services to people around the world, from search engines to social media and other communications platforms. One of DIGI’s core missions is to help people connect in meaningful ways, and work with government and the community to promote the internet as a safe and respectful place.

As regional leaders descend on Sydney for the 2018 ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, DIGI has teamed up with the Australian Government and some amazing local and overseas partners to bring back DIGI Engage in 2018, an energizing and empowering technology-based event for young people to explore identity, diversity and leadership.

As we all know, youth play an important role in peacebuilding among the individuals. Using SDGs point 16 which states Peace, the role of youth in strengthening peace process is powerful. In today’s era, internet has been our day-to-day bestfriend. With internet, we use social media to fulfill our needs in the era of modernization. We produce, distribute and consume what is said to be our ‘online narratives’.

Radicalization to violent extremism are a complex process. Whether they are ideologically on the far right, the far left, or rooted in distortions of religion, these movements promote dangerous narratives or messages that seem to make sense of a complicated and ever-changing world like today. Internet as part of our life, can be categorized as one of the most potential platform to spread this dangerous online narratives especially on youth. So, what is dangerous online narratives? Where do these narratives come from?

The word narrative comes from the latin word narrare which literally means to tell. But basically, narrative is just a fancy word for a “story about connected events’.  Narratives come from us, from both our real world and online world. So simply, we can say that narrative is the stories that make us… “us”.

And, what makes narratives dangerous? Is it radicalization? Fraud/ fake news? Pornography? Cyberbullying? To conclude, narratives can be dangerous when it is able or likely to cause harm or injury to people, both physical and mental. Narratives are dangerous when the idea of doing harm makes sense to the person consuming them. Young people have the power to help challenge dangerous online narratives in their communities and online. Through representation, campaign, and movements, together we can help, spread and promote positive and respectful content on the internet.


Author: Dhifa Salma

Editor: Angela Shinta

Communication Officer Team 2030 Youth Force Indonesia

About the author: 2030youthforce

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