Young People are the Most Active Internet Users
As is known, about 95.5 million people in Russia use the Internet, which makes up about 78.1% of the population. It is no secret that young people have traditionally been the most "involved" audience in the internet space. Last year, the proportion of Internet users aged 12 to 24 years in Russia was close to 100% and amounted to 97.1%, and in the 25-34 age bracket, 95.8% of Russians use the Internet at least once a month.
As a result, any processes on the Internet ranging from the launch of new services and platforms to government initiatives regulating the online space - primarily resonate with the young audience.
In this context, it is obvious that their participation in developing the virtual environment is essential.
A special platform has been created to enable young Internet users to discuss their vision of the Internet environment with industry experts and express their opinions on how it should be organized and regulated.
In line with the global trend
"In fact, there are youth directions of the UN Internet governance forum in various countries of the world," says Roman Chukov, a Russian representative in the UN Internet governance Forum and a representative of the Competence Center for Global IT Cooperation. Today, national and regional branches have emerged in a number of countries, including Russia. There are also youth forums on Internet governance developing in many countries. In our country, such a forum - namely, the first Youth Internet Governance Forum (Youth RIGF) in Russia – is to take place on April 6 at Skolkovo Tech.
Similar forums have been set up in Germany, Argentina, Italy, the Netherlands, China, India and other countries.
Their main goal is consistent with that of the Russian forum: to introduce young people to the idea of Internet governance and to involve young people in relevant discussions at the national, regional and global levels.
"I hope that the Russian forum will become one of those links between the youth section of society - young IT professionals, young government officials, company representatives and, in fact, all their adult counterparts," Chukov said in an interview with Gazeta.Ru.
According to him, the goal here is to get a real picture of what our young people think about, what ideas they have. "Because youth always means a driver, youth always means development," he stated.
The forum will culminate in a kind of "youth message".
The message will reflect the results of the discussions at the forum's sections and a certain model of young people's vision of the Internet future and will be further passed to the Russian and global Internet community.
Last year Russia's initiative to establish the Forum was recognized by the United Nations and on March 11, the UN Secretariat sent to its organizers an official letter of congratulations and gratitude for the work done in its preparation.
UN Recognition of the Russian Initiative
More specifically, the United Nations found the Russian initiative to have been organized in full conformity with the main principles of the UN Internet Governance Forum: openness, inclusiveness and non-commercial nature.
The UN secretariat also noted the compliance of the Russian Youth Forum program in Russia with the NRIs (National, Subregional, Regional and Youth Initiatives).
Despite the fact that the Youth Internet Governance Forum is being held in Russia for the first time, its agenda is distinguished by precision and topicality.
Instead of taking general topics related to the Internet space, the forum organizers focused on problems that are relevant right now and reflect major global and Russian trends. For example, the forum will discuss the problem of personal data protection – as there has been a global trend to limit this data collection and processing that violate personal users' rights.
The Forum's sections
It is known that Russia is "in the forefront" of this issue: the end of last year saw a law passed enabling the Russians to demand the removal of their personal data from the public domain if they are not happy with the way the data are used. The forum will discuss the extent to which control over personal data collection and processing depends on people, and the extent to which it depends on the perfection of legal instruments and technology.
"I am just moderating the section "My personal data," who it belongs to and whose it really is," said Roman Chukov. - There we will discuss all these problems, we shall discuss the 108 Convention on personal data with representatives of the Council of Europe and we shall discuss those formats in Russia and in the world, on best practices of data processing and the need for some global standard-setting initiatives with representatives of Russian business and the deputy head of Roskomnadzor. I hope it will all be very interesting.
The experts will also listen to the Forum's young participants about what should be done to support the beginning specialists to stop the brain drain.
The state is already actively improving working conditions for young people in the IT sphere by providing grants, creating innovative clusters, developing IT directions in universities, and introducing significant regulatory relief for IT companies and their employees.
Over the last year alone, two packages of industry support measures were proposed, and one of them is already being implemented this year: "digital sandboxes" have started working and a tax maneuver is being carried out. The opinion of young specialists, which will be voiced at the youth forum, will determine further vectors of support for the Russian industry.
The TikTok Generation
The other two sections will raise no less important topics: the problem of digital addiction and the specifics of popular social networks and how well they satisfy the interests of their main audience - young people.
"A very hype, interesting and unconventional topic will be raised -- '2020 is the year of TikTok,'" Chukov says. --. It will be interesting to talk about how the platform is developing, what are general trends in the development of social networks, how we consume content, what type of content is generally in demand, what young people need, why they see social elevators in the social media and TikTok, in particular".
As far as social elevators are concerned, Rosmolodezh will examine the projects submitted for the forum contest," Roman Chukov explained. - Perhaps, the best projects will be supported with grants.
Developing the Forum's initiatives
In terms of further development of the forum, one of the brightest features of the event will be the selection of the youth digital ombudsman, Chukov told Gazeta.ru.
"Now there are six candidates, all their profiles have been made available to the public on the website, and people even are voting in their support. At the forum itself, there will be a presentation of ombudsmen's programs.
A specially selected jury will assess the feasibility of these programs, and a representative of Russia's younger generation will be chosen at the forum," he said.
"In general, our Competence Center for Global IT cooperation intends to be just such a back-office, both for the youth ombudsman and for Russia's adult initiatives to accompany her participation in the UN Forum on Internet Governance," said Roman Chukov.