How Global Youth Advocates are Taking On Tech
Gen Z accepted the call to action and launched a social movement at the LookUp Youth 4 Youth Summit
By Carolyn Lovvoll, Marketing and Engagement Intern at LookUp
Several hundred youth advocates and allies from 35 countries gathered this past week for the first LookUp Youth 4 Youth Summit, which was organized and run by LookUp’s Teen Leadership Council. From Argentina to India, Cambridge to Menlo Park, digital natives rallied around a shared vision and call to action for a healthier and more humane digital world. Jeff Orlowski, the award-winning director of The Social Dilemma - and Tristan Harris, our hero, and pioneer of humane technology - inspired us with their unique insights into how we can create a youth-led movement to solve this global dilemma.
So, what did we learn at the Summit? That youth are truly leading and advancing the movement for humane technology forward, as noted by panelist Adin Helfand, “From the moderator to the panelists to the attendees, seeing so many poised young adults speaking passionately and describing the measurable effect they accomplished was really inspirational and made me want to get more involved in public advocacy.”
The Summit was truly an example of youth leading and inspiring youth. From startups to TED Talks, these young leaders are already taking action and creating change. More than 65 youth speakers and moderators from universities and high schools from eight different countries spoke candidly about topics of deep concern to Gen Z such as Ethical Tech Design, Mental Health, Truth, and Negativity. As Columbia student and panelist Katie Santamaria noted, "doing something simply to get a photo of it to post on Instagram, changes the entire purpose behind doing activities with friends. It shifts it from being an intrinsically joy-inducing activity to something that’s becoming performative even when you’re offline."
In addition to the fabulous youth leaders, Jeff Orlowski and Tristan Harris both addressed youth attendees, many of whom view the two as role models. Orlowski, an award-winning filmmaker, and activist encouraged the youth advocates to think critically about their legacy and their impact on others.
“How do you want to use your time on this planet, ” Orlowski asked. “How can you use your time to make a positive impact and to help others make a positive impact? “Because if you can scale your impact not just in the work that you do directly but in the inspiration of others and in partnership with others...that’s how radical transformational change can happen.”
“If you can scale your impact not just in the work that you do directly but in the inspiration of others and in partnership with others...that’s how radical transformational change can happen.”
Orlowski’s keynote inspired youth from around the globe. One thanked Jeff for “spurring a regenerative movement that builds beauty for tomorrow on our planet and in our communities!”
In addition to Orlowski’s keynote, Tristan Harris, former Google Ethicists and Co-Founder of The Center for Humane Technology, led a Call To Action for the Youth Movement, asking youth attendees, “What are the new social norms, the new ways of being with each other, that we can do collectively, not just by ourselves, to solve this problem?”
Harris firmly believes that youth will lead the movement for humane technology because they are “on the frontlines of dealing with these issues every single day.”
This collective of Gen Z and young Millennial advocates agrees and has already taken steps toward change. Several groups have developed 90/90 Commitments to Action, which they will collectively achieve in the next 90 days. Ongoing Monthly MeetUps have been scheduled for youth and their allies, while regional Action Groups are in development. The Summit platform will remain open and the LookUp Global Network has been launched on LinkedIn.
Susan Reynolds, Co-Founder of LookUp, is feeling hopeful. “The Summit is just the start of this youth-led initiative to create a healthier and more humane digital world, and we believe this will continue to grow and expand as a global movement."