The Forum has become a place for expert discussions on the security of the digital space, legal protection of minors on the Internet and the search for joint solutions to create a favourable digital environment for young people.
The opening event was the panel discussion “Safe Internet: Protecting the Rights and Freedoms of Children and Youth on the Web", which was attended by Chief of the Presidential Directorate for the Development of Information and Communication Technology and Communication Infrastructure Tatyana Matveeva, MGIMO Rector and Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Anatoly Torkunov, Director of the UN Information Center in Moscow Vladimir Kuznetsov, Deputy Head of Rosmolodezh Andrey Platonov, Chairman of the Alliance for the Children Protection in the Digital Environment, Vice President for Corporate Relations at Yandex Anton Shingarev and Youth Digital Ombudsman Dmitry Gulyaev. The section was moderated by TV presenter Tatyana Remezova.
The speakers discussed the growing importance of digital technologies in particular, the Internet, in our modern society, and what impact these technologies have on the younger generations – the most vulnerable users of the World Wide Web. It is obvious that today a person without digital skills is not able to successfully study or build a career. Lack of necessary knowledge also prevents children and youth from asserting their rights on the Internet. The interaction of young people with the digital environment, thus, is gaining an increasing influence on the formation and development of personality, which, in turn, requires the development of new approaches to assessing and regulating the processes taking place in the online space with the participation of children and young people.
However, the protection of the rights of young people in the digital environment cannot exist without international cooperation. Global digitalization gives us not only obvious benefits, but also risks that can be prevented through global cooperation. One of the sessions of the Forum – “Young, Digital, Interdependent: the world's best practices for protecting the rights and freedoms of children and youth on the Internet”, which was organized under the auspices of the Center for Global IT-Cooperation, addressed this topic. The moderator was the head of DiploFoundation, Jovan Kurbalija, and the session was conducted in English. The discussion was attended by the Russian representative in the MAG IGF Roman Chukov, digital specialist Bolutife Adisa, founder of ChildSafeNet Anil Raghuvanshi, director of the UK policy at 5RightFoundation Izzy Wick, manager at Global Kids Online Uruguay Soledad Magnone and Chief Executive Officer of Sirius Global International Company Gabriella Marcelja.
Speakers discussed organizations in other countries that advocate for the rights of children and young people on the Internet, the barriers they face, and their personal experiences in teaching young people digital skills. Foreign guests also spoke about what types of violations of rights in the digital sphere face young people around the world, and who can help them in defending their position. The participants of the panel paid special attention to the newly created institute of the Youth Digital Ombudsman in Russia, which in the future should become one of the connecting elements capable of establishing interaction between international institutions for the protection of the rights of children and youth in the digital sphere. At the end, Roman Chukov recalled that almost a week is left until the start of the UN Internet Governance Forum (IGF), where among other things, the rights of youth on the Internet will be discussed. To this purpose, the IGF created a special youth track on which the younger generation can share their ideas for improving the online space. The protection of children in the online space will also become a separate topic for discussion. IGF-2021 will take place from 6 to 10 December in the Polish city of Katowice.