Together for family internet

The all-Russia video conference, Together for Family Internet: The Role and Opportunities for Libraries, took place on February 4, 2021, as part of the Safe Runet Week held on February 3-10. It was organized by the Russian State Children’s Library (RSCL). Specialists from the Coordination Center for TLD .RU/.РФ were also invited to the event.

The conference was attended by over 2,500 specialists from cultural and education institutions that represented 79 Russian regions. During the first say, the live video conference received more than 3,500 views.

Opening the plenary session of the video conference, Deputy Director of the RSCL for Science and Publications Olga Mezentseva emphasized that even in the difficult year of 2020 libraries were the main creators of positive content. They organized many events for children and teenagers getting them interested in reading and increasing their media literacy.

Advisor to the RSCL Director Natalya Arakcheyeva spoke about the growing interest of children and teenagers in the recommendation service Webland. Best Sites for Children. She emphasized the Russian status of the resource: experts from regional libraries select materials for it and moderate its website according to the RSCL-drafted criteria. She reminded her audience that until March 14, the resource accepts video clips for the family contest “Journey through the Webland.” The Coordination Center for TLD .RU/.РФ has become a partner of the contest while the head of its social projects, Viktoria Bunchuk, will act as an expert and take part in assessing the video entries.

Experts on online security and media information literacy addressed the plenary session and presented the results of their studies. Pavel Rabinovich, Deputy Director of the School of Anthropology of the Future at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), spoke about the requirements for the modern school – to teach children to conduct innovative activities rather than follow algorithms. Yelena Rasskazova, Assistant Professor of the Neuro- and Pathopsychology Department at Lomonosov Moscow State University, noted that teenagers 12-17 years old spend much of their life online, existing in a so-called “combined” reality, easily switching from online to offline.

Tatyana Novikova, head of the Coordination Center’s projects, talked about the mission and key projects of the .ДЕТИ domain. The Coordination Center initiated the creation of this online platform for children and teenagers’ resources. It also established the Smart Internet Foundation that administers this domain. Tatyana Novikova said that all websites with the address in .ДЕТИ are connected to the monitoring system that makes it possible to find and promptly remove any vulnerability and negative content. Thus, the resources in this domain always remain safe and comfortable to use. Tatyana also presented the ten best websites in the .ДЕТИ domain, for example, the RSCL resources: Библиотека.дети – e-representation of the country’s main library for children; Библиогид.дети – a guide for choosing children’s books; and Веб-ландия.дети – a catalogue of the best educational and entertainment resources for young users.

The program continued with a discussion on ensuring security at online events with children. Experts on online security and positive, developing content for the young generation discussed with library community representatives the topical issues of transferring traditional events for children and teenagers into an online format, including online security. The discussion was led by Viktoria Bunchuk who also presented two Coordination Center’s projects: Domain Patrol and Study the Internet& Govern It! The first project coordinates internet security organizations and provides instructions for countering online threats. It also offers hotlines to accept reports on illegal actions on the internet. The second project is an interactive website for schoolchildren and students. It helps them master digital technology through games, become experienced internet users and learn safe online surfing.

The anchor of the web content, an analyst from the Kaspersky Lab, Andrei Sidenko, opened the discussion and presented conclusions from the Children in the Digital World study. According to the 2020 statistics, almost 86 percent of children in primary school have their own smartphones or iPads, and by the time they are 11-14, this figure reaches 99 percent (last year it stood at 97 percent). As a result, as the children themselves responded, the share of those who cannot do without these devices is about 82 percent. Most often, children go online to watch videos, play games or socialize with friends. They use them for studies much less often (ranked fifth in use). The risks they face most often are linked with the use of social media: acquaintance with new people (admitted by 46 percent of those polled), meeting with them in person (37 percent), and lack of privacy (children publish the number of their schools, cell phones, photos of their apartments and their geolocation on their pages).

To enhance the safety of children on the internet, it is necessary to use both technical means (anti-virus and parental control programs) and education, including with the help of their parents who can teach them to conduct a safe search, adopt a critical attitude to online information and protect their personal data. This approach was advised by Andrei Sidenko and Urvan Parfentyev, Safer Internet Center coordinator in Russia.

The discussion was also attended by representatives from Samara, St. Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod libraries that took part in the national contest of projects and programs on involving children in reading, such as Children’s Reading in the Digital Environment. They described how successful their transition to online was, what instruments they used to organize events and what measures they took to protect children and teenagers that took part in these events.

The video conference Together for Family Internet is available at the official YouTube channel of the Russian State Children’s Library (RSCL).

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