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Empowering Youth in the Digital Age: Advocating for Digital Rights and Addressing Generational Trauma

Thousands gathered in Bangkok under youth-led protests at the Democracy Monument on August 16, 2020. CC BY 4.0

Guest post by Natasha Nutt

Exploring the impacts of data privacy violations and generational trauma through an abstract lens, this thought-provoking analysis examines the film “Black Hole” by Patipat Oakkharhaphunrat. The piece underscores the urgency of empowering youth to engage with digital rights issues and advocate for accountability, as younger generations grapple with the ramifications of elders’ questionable actions that undermine privacy and democratic principles. It calls for creating supportive digital communities, destigmatizing mental health struggles, and prioritising digital literacy education to build a healthier civic space that safeguards human rights in the digital age.

This post is part of a series of issue analyses for the Tech Tales Youth film collection. Read the rest of the series here.


In an era dominated by technology, the commodification of personal data has become a lucrative industry, with individuals often unwittingly trading their privacy for the convenience of online services. Data privacy violations have far-reaching effects, ruining one’s sense of identity and agency. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, youth engagement in these issues has become paramount to safeguard personal information and ensure the protection of digital rights.

Black Hole is an abstract look into the impact of data privacy breaches through the lens of generational trauma. The film was influenced by recent events in Thailand when it was reported that a military commander sold the personal information of Thai civilians to cyber-criminal syndicates. In recent years, instances of authority figures – whether in familial, political, or professional spheres – leveraging their positions to perpetuate unfair advantages and stifle dissent, have been documented by the younger generation. Political structures in Thailand have also witnessed instances of older leaders exerting their influence in ways that may undermine democratic principles. The film tackles both digital rights and generational trauma, reflecting on the betrayal that Thai youth may be feeling towards their elders who made questionable decisions without regard for the impact on the younger generation.

Generational trauma can be perpetuated in various ways, such as through cyberbullying and online harassment, leaving victims to carry the psychological scars of these experiences well into adulthood. Addressing generational trauma necessitates fostering a supportive digital community where young individuals feel heard, understood, and protected.

Creating safe spaces for open dialogue can help alleviate generational trauma. Initiatives like Youth Connect Thailand and mentorship programs by non-government organisations like Child’s Dream provide counselling services, educational resources, and experienced mentors to guide individuals through various life challenges. Mental health hotlines, online support groups, and school-based counselling services offer additional avenues for support, fostering a sense of community and providing coping strategies. Government-led initiatives further contribute to building awareness, reducing stigma, and creating a supportive environment for young individuals.

In line with confronting the shortcomings of the older generation, young people should be empowered to make better decisions related to upholding human and digital rights. To enhance understanding of digital rights issues, digital literacy programs should be seamlessly integrated into educational curricula, offering a multifaceted approach to equip students with essential skills for responsible digital engagement.

The active engagement of today’s youth in digital rights matters is imperative for a healthier civic space. Doing so is not just an investment in their future but a safeguard for the digital well-being of society as a whole.

Watch the film