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Digital Active Citizenship – tools for modern civic participation – Ráckeve, Hungary

Voting on weekdays with digital voting relays at workplaces, webshop coupons and online bonuses for e-voting, public voting relays in bus stops and train stations to vote on EU, national and local issues – ideas that came up at iDebate Ráckeve the third local event of the Idebate project in Hungary where students of Ady Endre Gimnázium discussed the tools of active digital citizenship and presented their ideas on improwing youth participation in democracy.

The methodology of the debate was based on the case solving method, an approach to learn battle-proven ways of how to solve complex problems and how to present solutions in an effective way.  Before the event students took part in an online round where they filled in a questionnaire based on a short video. Their task was to help the four typical young characters in making their study or career choices. The video also draw the attention to the opportunities offered by European citizenship such as study, work or doing voluntary work in another member state and to the EU programmes connected to them.  After the evaluations of the online round 4 teams were formed from the students achieved the best results. They got the second case study which dealt with active citizenship, digital democracy and e-voting. The case study was written with the help of experts from European Parliament Liaison Office and consisted of info videos made by European Parliament. Students also get tips on effective presentation and could consult experts. Based on these background information the teams presented their ideas at the event.

All teams agreed on that the usage of digital tools would enhance youth participation in democracy and would offer a direct way to form public life. As young people are open to digital world and it is a part of their everyday life it can be motivational to voice their opinion and cast their votes this way. Among the disadvantages and threats of digital democracy safety issues, the cost of devices and the necessary infrastructure and the risk of manipulation of the results was mentioned. As another difficulty to cope with, the aversion or incompetence of elder generations was brought up.

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