Demand for positive content grows during pandemic

The Russian State Children’s Library (RSCL) was the venue of the annual interregional webinar on positive online content, with 300 participants representing Russian libraries for children and teenagers. The participants discussed ways to create and promote positive content, government support of socially important websites, children’s demand for media content, information security and the cultural and educational institutions’ remote operation experience.

Vera Chudinova, chief research fellow of the RSCL Department of Social, Psychological and Learning Aspects of Children’s Reading, spoke about trends in media consumption revealed by latest surveys. Since the beginning of 2020, especially during self-isolation, the demand for Russian children’s content has grown significantly. At the same time, children and teenagers are usually interested in online games, streams as well as entertaining and educational videos. The share of parents monitoring children’s internet security has also grown significantly.

Advisor to RSCL Director Natalya Arakcheyeva agrees that the need for positive content has gone up. For example, the number of visitors of the Weblandia site – a directory of high-quality webpages for children and teenagers – has doubled. It was developed and supported by RSCL with the active involvement of experts from Russian children’s libraries. All Runet users can propose a website for the directory. Weblandia Editor-in-Chief Yevgeniya Armaderova spoke about the selection criteria for the directory (it lists about 3,000 webpages). In particular, experts that evaluate websites pay attention to whether their content is educational and entertaining. They assess the quality of language, design and its user-friendliness.

Viktoria Bunchuk, Coordination Center for TLD .RU/.РФ Social Project Manager spoke about the criteria for positive content developed by the Working Group on Children’s Information Security under the Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights. The Coordination Center is a member of the working group and is involved in discussing digital literacy and children’s security.

“When developing these criteria, we used Weblandia’s innovations and best practices of website evaluation. We also noted the importance of the quality of content, language, design and logical structure. Moreover, we focused on website security and protection of personal data, adequate amount and relevance of advertising, and the overall relevance of website content,” Viktoria Bunchuk commented.

Websites and applications implemented in the .ДЕТИ domain as well as the Coordination Center’s Explore the Internet & Govern It interactive educational project were used as examples of positive content. It was noted during the webinar that, interestingly, children aged 6-16 who witnessed the pandemic and its impact are now called Generation C (where “C” stands for COVID-19). The name was suggested by SuperAwesome, a company that creates digital solutions for children. The company’s recent survey discovered that representatives of the Generation C started waking up later but they help around the house more and eat healthier food. Their media preferences are also different: television is returning as one of the main sources of entertainment.

In conclusion, the Coordination Center and RSCL announced their joint project, the second interregional Cyberliteracy Dictation for middle school students that will be held in late October as part of the Global Week of Media and Information Literacy at Russian children’s libraries. The dictation will be held with expert involvement of the Central Bank of Russia and will be dedicated to digital financial literacy.

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