Youth Zone aka YZ – Parent Zone’s ‘sister organisation’ – has launched VoiceBox, an international content platform led by young people for young people.
Created by YZ’s ambitious startup team – all of whom are in their twenties – VoiceBox is a space for 14 to 25-year-olds around the world to talk about anything they want.
Max and Natalie, YZ’s USA-based International Leads, explain further: “We can see the internet changing and we want to provide the roadmap. Straightforward user-generated content has led to fake news, hate speech and content bubbles.” says Max. “We want to offer a better model. A space for young voices to be heard, with the responsible approach of more traditional media” finishes Natalie.
Whether they’re writers, vloggers, podcasters, artists or memesters, VoiceBox encourages them to share their ideas and experiences on the site and shout about them across social media.
The idea for the project goes back to 2019 – but with a fast-changing political, social and digital landscape, it couldn’t be more timely in winter 2020. VoiceBox is just one of many YZ projects designed to elevate young people’s voices in conversations that – the team argues – often happen without them.
“We see lots of well-intentioned organisations developing products and services for young people.” explains Lottie, YZ’s Engagement Lead. “But the extent to which young people are meaningfully involved or listened to really varies.”
“We want to change that.” continues Cal, YZ’s Content Lead. “Young people should be at the heart of these conversations, shouting about their ideas and experiences – and challenging everyone to do better.”
Through VoiceBox, YZ are already inviting young people to drive cutting-edge projects from the world of tech, popular culture and mental health – including Ollee, a ‘digital friend’ funded by BBC Children in Need and developed by Parent Zone. But they’re keen to grow – and reach out to young people around the world.
“Having grown up in a global digital world, the old-fashioned boundaries between one country and another, or the so-called online and offline worlds, feel less relevant to us.” notes Ed, YZ’s Business Development Lead. “VoiceBox truly is a platform for all young people – wherever they might be. We hope policy makers, organisations and – of course – lots of young people will join us and get involved.”
Visit VoiceBox at voicebox.site