Digital Futures Report; Today’s youth, tomorrow’s internet

Roundtable discussion

Written by Russell Haworth, CEO, Nominet

The UK’s young people know the internet is the future, but how do they really feel about it?

Read the full report here.

For more than 30 years the internet has had a growing presence in the lives of everyone in the UK. Its impact has been profound, touching on practically all elements of our existence. That’s especially true for young people, who have grown up alongside online technology and whose lives will continue to be shaped by it for decades to come.

At Nominet, part of our mission is to contribute to a digital future that is more connected, inclusive and secure. Young people are the future business owners and leaders the UK will rely on, so understanding their relationship with the internet is crucial. That’s why we commissioned this research – to find out how they feel about the internet today, how they see it affecting their lives and what hopes they have for the future.

But it’s not all about waxing lyrical on how the country should prepare for our digital future. Actions speak louder than words, which is why we’re committed to an ever-growing programme of projects to enhance the UK’s digital readiness and prepare it for the future. And it’s our partnerships with leading youth organisations, from the from the Scouts and Samaritans to The Prince’s Trust, Micro:bit, Digital Leaders and the Learning Foundation, that give us invaluable insights into young people of today and their relationship with all things digital.

Today’s youth are fully immersed in a digital world. But how do they really feel about it and how exactly will they navigate the digital world of tomorrow? We all know that the subject matter of this report is a controversial one. Young people are dealing with, and will continue to face very mature issues in the digital world, not least online bullying, anxiety and fake news, which continue
to generate negative attention. But the internet, social media platforms and the successors of these technologies are our future – they bring so many benefits which consumers and businesses alike depend upon. We wanted to delve into these topics to draw out the positive aspects of having to overcome such challenges to help build a safer and more stable digital future.

The level of maturity, confidence and optimism for the future of the internet shown by young people is encouraging. By first acknowledging there are issues and understanding that we need to make behavioural and legislative changes, young Brits are realistic in their vision for the future. And we should listen to them. Their willingness for technology innovation and drive to stamp out issues of anxiety, cyber security and negative online conduct should be the catalyst and motivation we need to overcome any challenge and build a safer and more secure digital future.

Read the full report here.

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