Understanding Youth Participation and Media literacy in Digital Dialogue Spaces


Young people have largely withdrawn from traditional forms of participation in democratic life. In order to sustain democracy, there is an urgent need to reverse this development and provide them with the right tools for involvement. There is evidence that young people are still keen to engage in democratic life, but they ask for more and different public spaces of participation.

Addressing this challenge, the key goal of the U-YouPa project is to provide a research-based understanding of the interconnection between cultural and technological preconditions for strengthening youth participation in digital dialogue spaces, and by this meet the fundamental challenges of inclusion currently emerging in European countries. In addressing this, our studies will also provide an understanding of young people’s preferences with regard to participatory and connectivity cultures in virtual public spaces.

Key topics

  • Youth participation in digital dialogue spaces
  • Intercultural dialogue
  • Emerging challenges of inclusion in European countries
  • Media literacy and ethical reflection on the role of technology in social dialogues
  • Innovative methods engaging youth as co-researchers by including their perspectives in research design and interpretation of results

Focus of the Web Literacy Lab

We explore how different SoMe spaces may contribute to cultural diversity, inclusion and intercultural dialogue among young people in the age group 15 to 29 years. Due to its geographic position in the centre of Europe, the south of Austria has had a special role related to the refugee ‘crisis’ since 2015. It is therefore necessary to shed light on the diversity within the youth itself. Consequently, our research activities not only include youth with an Austrian passport but also (unaccompanied) refugee minors or Austrian-based youth from other countries.

You can find a more detailed description of our work package at the U-YouPa blog: Social media and youth participation