Amplifying Youth Voices to Shape the Data Future


Datasphere Initiative


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In the context of the #Youth4OurDataFuture project, the Datasphere Initiative spoke to a diverse group of young leaders about the role of young people in shaping how data and digital technologies are governed. Through a series of interviews, 19 young people from all over the world shared their insights on what an equitable data future looks like. 

As youth are more connected to digital technology and data than ever before, it is fundamental to amplify their voices and understand their views on the impact and use of data-driven technologies and data policy frameworks. These products and tools will be targeting them as users and shaping their experiences with new innovations. Young people are often left out of policy decision-making or technological development and their unique and diverse perspectives are essential to responsibly unlocking the value of data for all.

Interviewed participants were given the opportunity to share written responses to interview questions in the form of a short blog piece or participate in a video interview. 

All participants were asked about how they would like to get involved in data governance discussions, make an impact, and how their ideas could reach centers of power and decision-makers. In addition to answering these questions, each participant selected two topics to discuss in depth. They could pick from the following topics and questions:

Learnings at a glance

Young people have ideas on how to use data and increase awareness of its power to positively impact their communities. Including them in data governance and digital policy conversations is an imperative step toward building a more equitable data future.

See below a round-up of key insights from the interviews with young people:


  • Youth want to be involved in data governance discussions and need these spaces to have clearer avenues to meaningfully engage.
  • Young people often bring to the table the most creative solutions to create fairer digital policies.
  • Assumptions and biases about young people like the fact that they are digital natives or cannot contribute to policymaking are hindering the inclusion of youth needs and perspectives in digital policy and product development.
  • Youth are leveraging social media and other digital technologies to voice their ideas and concerns in creative ways.
  • Policymakers should be mindful of the gaps and divide that technology is creating, furthering inequalities among youth.
  • There are various communities that do not have access to technologies and are left behind from the conversation, and we urgently need to address these issues.

Education and Skills:

  • Education nowadays should be focused on equipping youth and other communities with the skills to navigate the digital world in a safe manner and effectively unlock its benefits for them and society at large.
  • While some young people have had privileged education and feel equipped for our digital era, they expressed that not everybody has access to such education, and better efforts should be made to close the educational gap.
  • Youth expressed that education nowadays should not only provide them with the “hard” skills for data analysis, programming, etc. But also with the “soft” skills to navigate the amount of information they are exposed to and ensure general well-being in the digital age.

Digital Welfare:

  • Mental health is more often affected negatively by the content youth are exposed to online. They are lacking the skills and tools to ensure their well-being and would like policymakers to work towards improving this.
  • Cyberbullying and isolation are more frequent experiences for young people online, especially for girls and young women, and better measures are needed to ensure digital welfare.
  • Youth are hopeful on the power of technology to harness social impact globally and are not only aware of initiatives using data to support the SDGs but also, creating their own initiatives to transform their communities with data.

Explore each participant’s experiences

Interested in engaging with the Datasphere Initiative’s work on data and youth?

Throughout 2024, the Datasphere Initiative will be running a series of online youth labs with high school students in the United States. If you are interested in bringing us to your school and participating in the labs, do not hesitate to reach out to [email protected].

The Datasphere Initiative’s #Youth4OurDataFuture is one of the winners of the Omidyar Network Future of Data Challenge. The competition saw hundreds of organizations apply with transformative solutions to reimagine the data economy and help build a more equitable data future for all.

The Datasphere Initiative publicly launched the project during an online event on August 30, 2023.

Follow us on TikTok and Instagram to keep track of the project.

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The Datasphere Initiative is a global network of stakeholders fostering a holistic and innovative approach to data governance to build agile frameworks to responsibly unlock the value of data for all.

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