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POTSDAM, Germany, June 24 (Itar-Tass) —— The 14th Russian-German meeting in Potsdam discussed the Internet influence on people’s social life.
The two-day conference held in the beginning of this week involved politicians, scientists, artists, economists, bloggers and civil society representatives. The debates centered on political, ethical, social and other dimensions of the Internet.
The influence of social networks on children was a separate item. More than 90% of children in Russia are Internet users, Internet Development Fund Director Galina Soldatova said, referring to a survey done by Russia within a European Commission project. “There is a huge digital gap: parents are simply unable to catch up with the younger generation in their knowledge of the cyberspace,” she said. “That is extremely important for sociability, because social culture is developed in the interaction between children and adults,” she said. The Internet is a school of social relations for children, alongside the real world, she added.
“Children view the Internet not as much as a source of information as a way of communication. Communication in social networks is easier for children from the psychological point of view: it is an easier way to avoid responsibility and to win trust. Besides, the Internet allows children to be more active in the construction of their identity,” the expert said.
At the same time, the frequent use of social networks by children leads to a certain devaluation of human values, such as friendship, and creates a threat of the loss of personal security, Soldatova said. “Actually, the Internet presents plenty of risks,” she said.
Modern people increasingly seek information about particular persons on the worldwide net, German Internet researcher Uwe Burmann said.
He said that employers were using the same technique. At the same time, the majority of users do not think that their profile reflects their true identity, he said.
The Potsdam meetings began in 1999. They discuss topical problems for deeper mutual understanding and new forms of humanitarian cooperation between Russia and Germany. Conference materials have been released as bulletins since 2003.