This invitatiion and some extra information can be found in the Press Document that is available for download

Social software and youth at risk: do they match?
INCLUSO Conference
Leuven (Arenberg Castle, Heverlee-Belgium) - 13, 14 September 2010
According to the recent results of a number of European research projects, young people at risk of being socially excluded can improve their lives by using social software tools, gaming, playing music, mobile phone applications and other invasive technologies according to European funded projects, presented at the INCLUSO conference. Examples include young people learning how to use job-seeking websites in order to find employment, establishing respectful relationships with peers and adults through social network sites and using ICT, internet and social computing applications to collaborate on projects.
Organisations, working with young people will receive suggestions for successful and sustainable implementation of these new media tools into social work.
All of this will be presented and debated at the international INCLUSO conference on eInclusion of Youth at Risk, which will take place at Kath. Univ. Leuven (Arenberg Castle, Heverlee-Belgium) on 13 and 14 September 2010.
The event is organised by the European INCLUSO research project (Social software for social inclusion of youth at risk), supported by the European Commission and coordinated by the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and its associated K.H.Kempen University College.
The conference will provide the opportunity to discuss priority actions for the future and showcase concrete results from the INCLUSO project and four other EU projects:
o   Incluso: social software for social inclusion of youth at risk
o   Replay: gaming technology to help young people marginalized by their behaviour to be rehabilitated back into society.
o   ComeIn: using mobile online communities and specific interactive media content to facilitate social inclusion of marginalized youth of various backgrounds
o   Umsic: interactive environment and music to contrast risks of social isolation/exclusion of children (between 3 and 12) with social, emotional, learning and language disorders, weaknesses or disabilities
o   Hands: using/testing persuasive technology within mobile solutions to help teenagers diagnosed with autism to overcome everyday challenges
The debate will see the participation of international specialists in the field of new media to improve social inclusion for disadvantaged youngsters, representatives of governments and of the European Commission.
Keynotes speakers include: Miguel Gonzalez Sancho Bodero (Information Society and Media Directorate General - European Commission), Professor Jos Dumortier (K.U.Leuven Centre on Law and Informatics) and Ellen Stassart (Childfocus).
You are cordially invited to attend one or several sessions as they are open to the media.
Project coordinators will be available for interviews throughout the event.
Programme highlights for the media
  • 13/09 at 10:00  – opening session: Miguel Gonzales Sancho Bodero, European Commission presentationof new EU on ICT driven initiatives for Youth at risk
  • 13/09 from 10:30-12:30 – Presentation INCLUSO Project results
  • 13/09 at 14:15 –Experiences from 4 other EU-projects, in the same area
  • 14/09 at 16:00 Debate on future priorities for research and actions
Media contact:
Practical information
Venue: Arenberg Castle, Leuven-Heverlee (Belgium),
Background information
Computers, mobile phones and Internet communication are everywhere in our present-day society. Social software sites such as Facebook, Netlog and Twitter are well known and are currently used by more than half a billion people around the world for the development of their social contacts. Gaming, mobile phones and music are a part of young peoples’ lives. Social computing, Social Networking Sites and other so-called "Web 2.0" tools have an important socioeconomic impact on our daily lives.
In the past educators (and governments) have rightly questioned the positive impact of these technologies. Research regarding their potential and risks for young people has become more mature: potential adverse effects are frequently reported in studies and seminars, especially when young people from difficult backgrounds are involved. Even though it is acknowledged that a large part of youngsters at risk have access to and make a wide use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), the way they are using them for their socio-economic inclusion, and to tackle their urgent and daily problems, are still largely unknown. .
However, these ICT driven initiatives also offer opportunities. Social software tools like Facebook, Netlog, Ning, the use of avatars,…  for instance, can diversify the network of young people in problematic situations, help them to acquire autonomy, contribute to increasing their positive self-image, create job opportunities, etc. Gaming can make a contribution to guidance and open up new ways for interaction between those young people and their counsellors.


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