Study on youth, political participation, civic tech and digitalisation
Year of production: 2021
The Study offers an in-depth analysis of the digital political participation of young people in Switzerland
The Foundation for Technology Assessment TA-SWISS launched its interdisciplinary project on digital democracy in November of 2019. As one of three project groups commissioned by TA-SWISS to conduct a study, the Dachverband Schweizer Jugendparlament DSJ – Switzerland’s umbrella organisation to promote youth political participation – analysed digital participation behaviours of adolescents and young adults based on their use of the DSJ platform engage.ch.
The study sheds light on the following three questions:
1. Who participates online? (Demographics: age, gender, level of education, migration background, urban/rural, language region)
2. What features do adolescents and young adults expect and want from a digital participatory platform?
3. How can online platforms be made more accessible in order to reach as many users as possible?
In addition to insightful findings, the study also proposes a series of recommendations for developing and operating digital participatory platforms for young people.
- Digital participation should always include off-line features, for instance, the possibility to participate in a conventional format, advertisement via regular mail or on posters, and workshops to introduce users to a digital platform.
- Collaboration with schools is recommended to promote digital participation in young people, as this would reach a high number of young people and would ensure that both technical features and content are supported.
- Digital participatory platforms should be easy to navigate.
- Digital participatory platforms should use simple language and provide information in various forms (short introductory texts, long articles with background information).
- An app for digital participatory platforms should be developed.
- Whenever possible, users should decide whether they want to use their names on digital participatory platforms. If there is a risk of spam or abusive language, the platform should be moderated. Etc.
While the Study is available only in German, a summary of the findings and the recommendations is available in English, French and Italian.