Wymondham student selected for cyberspace conference

A south Norfolk high school student has been picked as just one of 25 youth ambassadors who will be representing the views of the UK's young people at an international cyberspace conference next week.

Ruth Spurr, 17, from Wymondham, could find herself rubbing shoulders with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Foreign Secretary William Hague at the Youth Conference on Cyberspace, taking place at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The event will run alongside the London Conference on Cyberspace, which will be attended by 900 delegates from 60 countries.

Ruth, who is studying for her A-Levels at Hethersett High School, said: 'I feel very privileged to be going along. I haven't really done much involving politics before but as a young person I use the internet every day, like Facebook and Skype.

'We are the next generation and I feel I can represent people's views and have an input.'


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Along with her fellow youth ambassadors, aged 13 to 21, Ruth will have the chance to take part in face-to-face debates and interviews with political leaders and technological entrepreneurs, such as Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, on topics like cybercrime. They will then share their updates via live Twitter feeds and blogs.

She will also be able to put her views across in a debate on internet safety for children, chaired by Minister for Children Tim Loughton and Security Minister James Brokenshire.

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At the end of the two-day event, the group will address the adult conference in a Dragons' Den style pitch explaining the top issues they want politicians to take notice of.

Ruth was chosen to attend the important event having completed an internship at ChildLine - one of the selecting organisations.

She said she was not sure whether to pursue a career in politics, but added: 'I'm now exploring my options and this is a great chance to experience something new and every opportunity that comes along like this I'm going to grab with both hands.'

Emily Cherry, head of participation at children's charity NSPCC, which has organised the youth conference, said: 'No previous generation has ever been able to claim an instant global voice in the way they can do now.'

She added: 'The NSPCC is committed to giving young people a voice and the Youth Conference on Cyberspace provides a fantastic opportunity to speak directly to some of the world's most influential leaders in this field.'

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