The excessive and uncontrolled use of digital technologies threatens the rights and freedoms of ordinary Internet users and deprives our world of uniqueness. However, young people around the globe are determined to make the Internet a safe and friendly environment, convenient for each of us. In this case, empowering young people and inspiring them to participate in decision-making processes for Internet governance is a prerequisite for sustainable digital transformation.
Youth Digital Ombudsman Dmitry Gulyaev appealed to the UN leadership with the initiative to create a global YDO institute. The institute can mediate relations between all key stakeholders, defend the rights of young people on the Internet and build bridges between different countries and regions, while maintaining its uniqueness. “We are ready to help in word and deed: conduct master classes, share materials, methods, conduct webinars, learn new things together, exchange practices,” concluded Gulyaev.
Since in Russia the YDO was elected during the first Youth Internet Governance Forum (Youth RIGF) in April this year, the institute can already be considered an integral part of the RIGF. In 2025, during the Russian presidency in the IGF, a global YDO forum will be held, and the empowerment of youth within the global digital agenda will become one of the main tracks of IGF-2025.
The head of the Polish Youth IGF Emilia Zalewska, who was also a speaker at the session, supported the idea of globalizing the Institute of the Youth Digital Ombudsman. She stressed that it is important for young people to know that they really have the opportunity to influence the global digital processes and their voices will be heard.
At the session, they also spoke about the creation of a system for filing applications – “Digital Assistance”. With the help of it, young people who have encountered any problems on the Internet (for example, cyberbullying or destructive content) can fill out a special form on the YDO website and receive the support of the Ombudsman's team.
Oleg Abdurashitov, Head of GR at Kaspersky Lab, took part in the discussion. He spoke about the recently created Alliance for the Protection of Children in the Digital Environment, a voluntary alliance of Russian technology companies. He presented the Alliance's recently adopted Charter on ‘Digital Ethics of Childhood’, which contains values and rules of behaviour that will help create a digital environment that is safe and conducive to the development and creative self-realization of children. It is based on 5 key principles: respect for the child as an individual, shared responsibility, preserving privacy and values in the online space, and an inclusive approach.
The XVI Internet Governance Forum is taking place in Katowice (Poland) from 6 to 10 December. The main theme and motto of the event is “Internet United” - an open, free Internet that unites all its users into a single community. An Internet that respects the rights of every user.