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Tuesday, December 19 • 16:10 - 17:40
Is there a place for civility in our digital future? (WS99)

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Proposer's Name: Mr. Nicholas Carlisle
Proposer's Organization: No Bully
Co-Proposer's Name: Ms. Clara Sommarin
Co-Proposer's Organization: UNICEF
Mr, Nicholas, Carlisle, Civil Society, No Bully
Ms, Clara, Sommarin, Intergovernmental Organization, UNICEF

Session Format: Other - 90 Min
Format description: Fishbowl

Country: United States
Stakeholder Group: Civil Society

Country: United States
Stakeholder Group: Intergovernmental Organizations

Speaker: Nicholas Carlisle
Speaker: Clara Sommarin
Speaker: Christopher Castle
Speaker: Jacqueline Beauchere
Speaker: Ki Chun, David NG

Content of the Session:
Were you “unfriended” on Facebook because you expressed a viewpoint that did not sit well with others? Were you so put off by the words and actions of a colleague that you “unfollowed” them on Twitter? Has the level of discourse online stooped to such new lows that you found yourself loosing trust in others, stressed out or even not sleeping? If you answered “yes” to any of these, take some comfort - you are not alone.

New preliminary research indicates that 65% of people around the world, including teens, have suffered some sort of negative experience online, which has led them to be less trusting of others both online and off. A full report on the state of digital civility, personal online safety and digital interactions was made available on International Safer Internet Day 2017, and follow-on research from the originally surveyed countries as well as several more will be available for the IGF.

In keeping with this theme, there is a growing movement across the globe to restore the original promise of the Internet of connectivity and a common space for all. In 2017 UNESCO, Facebook, and No Bully launched a global campaign to combat cyberbullying that is bringing together technology companies, the private sector, civil society organizations, educators, and youth to achieve collaborative impact on one of the biggest issues facing children and teens online. UNICEF has been working on its own research on online bullying and online child sexual exploitation and abuse, and will reference these education and awareness-raising campaigns.

Goals of this Fishbowl
• Get out of our own Fishbowl and listen to others
• Deepen the understanding of the impediments to online civility
• Generate strategies to activate the big switches that can reduce online bullying and hate speech among youth
• Share knowledge and feedback on existing initiatives and address what is not working
• Raise awareness among key influencers about what is increasingly being perceived as a problem.

Above all else – we want this to be a highly interactive session where the audience drives the conversation. We’re here to listen and learn, not drive. If you want to be a wall flower in this session, watch out. You might be called on …

Relevance of the Session:
This workshop is directly related to the IGF 2017 theme as it explores a set of issues that, if not addressed, could discourage existing and new internet users from fully utilizing it. As mentioned earlier, the original promise of the Internet was connectivity and a common space for all. Without addressing the issues of bullying and exploitation online, that promise is threatened. In a worst-case scenario, there will be a reduced or even no digital future for many.

Tag 1: Digital Literacy
Tag 2: Youth Engagement
Tag 3: Global Citizenship

Our “Speakers” will serve more as discussants and help with audience engagement. After reviewing some of the research in this area, the speakers will share brief perspectives on the topic of digital civility and bullying. But the the key role for our speakers will be to engage with the audience and bring them into the discussion. We expect a wide diversity of views from the audience participants to make this a valuable session.

The nature of our session, a highly interactive discussion with the audience (as opposed to talking at the audience), lends itself to an extremely diverse session. While we have a small handful of speakers listed in the proposal from various stakholder groups and regions, their role is quite limited. Their aim is to provide a variety of brief perspectives – from IGO and civil society to private sector and youth and to help engage the audience/participants in discussions and exchanges. Due to the relevance of this topic to the theme of the IGF and the global concern about civility online, we expect participation from across the multistakeholder community. Our experience shows that this topic is particularly suited to audience participation because everyone, regardless of where you are from or what stakeholder group you represent, is impacted and interested in advancing digital civility.

Please note that one of our discussion facilitators, David Ng, is a placeholder for a Youth Ambassador from NetMission in Hong Kong. Those have not been selected yet.

Onsite Moderator: Jim Prendergast
Online Moderator: Berry Cobb
Rapporteur: Jim Prendergast

Online Participation:
Through the various networks of each of the participating organizations, we will publicize the session in advance to generate awareness in the community of those who are working in this area but are not able to make the trip to Geneva. Our moderator will coordinate closely with the remote moderator to ensure that remote participants are given ample opportunity to offer comments, ask questions and make other interventions as we shape a truly global, multi-stakeholder dialogue.

We will also conduct advanced outreach to the remote hub coordinators to ensure they are aware of our session and have a copy of any materials.

Discussion facilitation:
Aside from a brief overview of some research there will be no speeches, presentations or other dais-led discussions. Again, our “speakers” will act more as discussion facilitators and will engage the audience to make them a part of the conversation. In fact – we don’t really want an audience – we want a room full of participants.

Organizers will develop a list of thought-provoking questions to spur conversation. In addition, we will closely work with the remote moderator to ensure online participants are afforded equal opportunity to participate.

Ideally, the room would allow for re-arranging of the furniture to make it a big circle to better foster interaction and participation – as if one were sitting around a campfire.

Proposed Agenda
Welcome and Overview - 2 minutes Moderator
Overview of the Research – 8 minutes
Reaction from Discussion Facilitators - 10 minutes
Open discussion among audience participants facilitated by Moderator and Discussion Facilitators- 60 minutes
Summarize outcomes and next steps – 10 minutes

Conducted a Workshop in IGF before?: No
Link to Report: 

Additional Speakers: 

Tommaso Waybe Bertolotti

Tommaso Wayne Bertolotti is a philosopher of technology. He earned his PhD at the University of Pavia, in Italy, where he is adjunct professor of cognitive philosophy. His research focuses on the ethical and cognitive impact of Internet technologies, especially as it concerns social cognition and other cultural and biologically inherited aspects of human life. He lives in Paris where he collaborates with the French engineering school Telecom ParisTech. Since Spring 2017 he inaugurated his own brand of philosophical consulting, MonPhilosophe, to leverage the importance of philosophy in addressing everyday challenges.


Welcome and Overview - 2 minutes Moderator
Overview of the Research – 8 minutes
Reaction from Discussion Facilitators - 10 minutes
Open discussion among audience participants facilitated by Moderator and Discussion Facilitators- 60 minutes
Summarize outcomes and next steps – 10 minutes


Session Organizers

Tuesday December 19, 2017 16:10 - 17:40 CET
Room XXIII - E United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG)