The Youth Juries are intended to put the voices of children and young people at the forefront of any discussions relating to their experiences of the internet, and their recommendations for how their experiences may be improved. After running two pilot Youth Juries last November, we decided to set up an Advisory Group to help us to make sure that the Youth Juries were as lively and engaging as possible, so that young people felt encouraged and engaged to take part.
We invited those that attended the pilot Youth Juries to see if they would be interested in joining the Advisory Group. Many willingly agreed, and an email mailing list was set up to communicate with potential members and to keep them informed of the dates of future Advisory Group meetings. We also invited them to bring along any friends that might be interested in joining the group, as it is also helpful to engage and seek feedback on new activities from others that had not taken part in any Youth Jury previously.
So far, we have had four young people take part in the Advisory Group, one of whom had not participated in a Youth Jury already. The group are aged between 16 and 18 years of age, and they are all at school or college, doing their AS or A levels. We always meet our Advisory Group in a café over a coffee and cake to help to make sure that the meetings are informal and relaxed. It is important to us that the young people feel comfortable to share their views, so we always emphasise that all views are welcome, as it helps us to learn what will (or won’t) work in a Youth Jury setting. As a thank you to all those that attend the meetings, they all receive a shopping voucher and all transport and refreshments are paid for by the project.
The meetings have proven to be invaluable to us as we have been able to gain vital feedback on all aspects of the juries. The group has provided feedback on the overall structure and design of the activities that we held during the Pilot Youth Jury. We were then able to work with this feedback to strengthen the activities used in Youth Juries, to make them as effective as possible in eliciting the views of young people.
The young people shared that they would like the beginning of the Youth Jury to be designed to inform and educate them about things such as algorithm fairness, as they pointed out that they would then feel more comfortable, willing and able to give their opinion about it later on in the jury. We have subsequently built this into the design of the juries.
The young people also gave us feedback on the design of recruitment literature that had been created to recruit new participants to future Youth Juries. They were extremely forthcoming in their feedback, and we were then able to use this feedback to develop the literature to ensure that they are effective in recruiting participants.
The questionnaires assess how much participants may have learnt during the Youth Jury, and whether any attitudes or opinions may have changed as a result of participating in the session. The group gave us feedback on the design, wording and structure of the questionnaires. They also helped us to simplify the language used in the questionnaires, to ensure that they are understandable to those filling it in, and particularly to those who are younger.
The group helped us to design new activities to incorporate into the juries, including the Data as Currency and Personal Filter Bubble tasks. They also helped us to make the jury scenarios more relevant to young people of a range of ages. They thoroughly enjoyed the ‘mapping’ tasks at the beginning, and the ‘black box’. The original juries also had a section in which they were given a couple of real life scenarios and were asked to vote on the fair outcome, but these were felt to not work well in small groups where people were embarrassed to show their votes to everyone else. This activity was therefore removed.