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Implications of the pandemic for online child safety

26.06.2020

At the next meeting of the Working Group on Childrens Information Security, were discussed current cyber threats and problems of distance learning during the period of self-isolation

The Russian Civic Chamber hosted a regular meeting of the Working Group on Childrens Information Security of the Public Council under the Presidential Commissioner for Childrens Rights. The meeting was held in person for the first time since the restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic was lifted.

The participants of the meeting, including representatives of the Smart Internet Foundation (. registry), presented statistical and analytical data on childrens and family digital consumption during the period of coronavirus restrictions, as well as the challenges faced primarily by parents and representatives of the education and upbringing of minors in specified period.

In particular, it was noted that there was a 30-40% increase in digital consumption of content, at least formally aimed at a minor audience. The activation of digital fraudsters among 15-18 year olds, who usually used ready-made tools (for example, fake login pages on social networks), was named as a specific threat. Among the standard recognized threats, the meeting participants noted the growth of digital fraud and the intensification of the collection of personal data, including minors.

The second topic that was discussed at the meeting was the organization of distance education. The participants, according to the reviews of parents and specialists who faced an emergency transition to remote, noted the following problems:

  • in terms of the offer of various online courses: the quality of the training product;
  • in terms of distance learning: unpreparedness of teachers and parents for a high-quality choice of a digital platform; Digital divide in the regions in terms of channel capacity and traffic volume; the lack of a sufficient number of required digital devices in families; general drop in student discipline;
  • in terms of security: the unreliability of the communication platforms themselves; cases of software and hardware hacking of the training process from hooligan motives.

To solve the set of identified problems, it was proposed: to conduct a study of the organization and implementation of distance learning, both school and out-of-school; initiate the development of an appropriate distance learning standards based on the research results; initiate the development of a unified software and hardware platform for distance learning for secondary schools.

The meeting also raised issues related to the protection of personal data of minors in digital format, increasing guarantees of stopping the circulation of certain types of information that threaten minors.