Digital Youth Work in Flanders: practices, challenges, and the impact of COVID-19
Keywords:digital youth work, Flanders, COVID-19, digitalization, challenges and opportunities
The pandemic had a considerable impact on youth work in Flanders, as many face-to-face activities had to shift online out of necessity. For many youth organizations, this was their first encounter with digital youth work, either online or in a blended format. Despite this recent boom in digital youth work practices, the concept is not new. It was first mentioned in the 2017 conclusions on smart youth work by the Council of the European Union. Digital youth work is defined as using and discussing digital media/technology in different types of youth work situations, whilst still adhering to the goals, values, and principles of general youth work (Council of the European Union, 2019). While some Flemish youth work organizations focused specifically on digital media before COVID-19, the pandemic has accelerated the uptake of digital youth work. This paper examines the effects of COVID-19 on youth work in Flanders. It explores the challenges and opportunities, using the quick-scan-method to map relevant organizations.
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