Founding companies of the Alliance for the Protection of Children in the Digital Environment sign voluntary commitments 2021-09-01 13:10:00 Russky Island, Primorye Territory Vladimir Putin attended, via videoconference, a ceremony for signing of Voluntary Commitments by the founding companies of the Russian Alliance for the Protection of Children in the Digital Environment. The Alliance’s mission is to create a safe and supportive digital environment that would give children opportunities for creative and professional self-development, socialisation and safe communication in the virtual world. The members of the Alliance, owners of Russia’s largest tech platforms, video hosting websites and search engines, have taken on enhanced commitments to independently identify and restrict access to illegal information and content that can harm children’s health or development, as well as to exchange best practices and the latest developments in this field. Taking part in the ceremony were AO National Media Group Director General Svetlana Balanova, Mail.Ru Group General Executive Director Boris Dobrodeyev, Gazprom-Media Holding CEO Alexander Zharov, Kaspersky Laboratory CEO Eugene Kaspersky, MTS President Vyacheslav Nikolayev, Rostelecom President Mikhail Oseyevsky, Megafon CEO Khachatur Pombukhchan, Vympel-Communications CEO Alexander Torbakhov, Yandex Managing Director Tigran Khudoverdyan, and Yandex Vice President on Corporate Relations and Chairman of the Alliance for Children’s Protection in the Digital Environment Anton Shingaryov. Also taking part in the video conference were Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Kiriyenko, Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights Anna Kuznetsova and Head of the Talent and Success Foundation Yelena Shmelyova. * * * Vladimir Putin: Greetings, friends and colleagues. I extend my greetings to you on this day and I am happy to know that today, on Knowledge Day, you got together and are building the Alliance for Protecting Children in the Digital Environment. I thank all the participating companies for such a responsible approach. Digital technologies have widely and firmly entered our lives and have become a natural and integral part of it for children. We have this impression – you know it better than I do – that our young people are now born with the skills to manage electronic devices. They learn to handle them so quickly and confidently and have access to the internet from an early age, when they are just in preschool. All that definitely impacts the way they learn about the world, their studies at school and peer communication. But we often neglect what they do for fun and how they spend their free time. So, the content of the virtual, digital space matters most for our children’s wellbeing and safety. They must be reliably protected in this area. Obviously, the state’s efforts, laws and regulations are not always adequate, and discussions about that are going on all the time. It is of paramount importance that society and business take an active stance and understand their role and responsibility. It is important that the online space be filled with positive educational substance. Evidently, this needs to be useful and exciting. We must act on this together, and to achieve creative solutions, we must attract leading education centres and educational platforms, parent-teacher communities and young creative teams, and also factor in the experience of children’s rights commissioners and the resources of youth and volunteer associations. I really hope that you will manage to build a constructive dialogue with global digital platforms and cooperate to protect children in the digital environment. Many countries have already gained this experience, including European countries. Of course, it is critical that we set standards in this area ourselves. Russia, as you well know, has a strong position in digital technologies. This is evidenced by the achievements, your achievements, achievements of our powerhouses in the world markets. And first-rate personnel training is a condition for developing and moving forward. We need to continue creating favorable conditions for these breakthrough technologies in our country. And the fact that today you prioritise the interests of children, formulate and promote moral and ethical principles in the Russian segment of the internet, speaks to the maturity of our companies promising domestic developments in digital business. And I wish you success with all my heart. I believe it is extremely important, what you are doing now, and what you are creating as an organisation that will protect our children and create conditions for their development. This is not a business goal, it is a national goal. Thank you very much. Let’s get down to business and our discussion. <…> Vladimir Putin: To wrap up our meeting, I would like to highlight the following. You see, I just recalled an interview with a very famous pop singer, a world class pop star. Her performances are often controversial with regard to their perception by young people, the more so by children. And she appeared to have many children. When asked “What do your children think of what you are doing on stage?” she gave an unexpected answer. She said, “I don’t show it to them, they don’t see it.” That is, she protects her children from this content, whereas all the others do not seem to matter. But in your business, in the business you are engaged in, it is impossible to protect your own children, grandchildren, the children of your loved ones, friends and relatives from what is happening on the internet. Therefore, the only correct conclusion and the only correct action on our part and on your part is to join efforts to protect our children from dysfunctional, harmful, evil content that has a destructive effect on them. And vice versa, to create such content and build the work of this entire system, the system of this business, your business, in such a way that it contributes to the development of the child, helps the development of the country. Thank you so much for that. I want to wish you every success – both in your current undertaking, and in your work, your life and in your business. You will certainly succeed. For its part, the state will do everything it can to support you. I wish you all the best.