UNESCO IITE experts at the “An Adolescent in the City: Inequality and Opportunities” conference

Подростки и Интернет

What is “An Adolescent in the City”?

Perekrestok Plus”, a Non-profit Partnership for the Development of Children and Adolescents, annually organizes an International Conference “An Adolescent in the City: Inequality and Opportunities”. The conference is striving to explore innovative approaches to working with adolescents and their social environment.

The conference is organized with the assistance of:

  • Institute of Social Sciences of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration;
  • Institute of Education, National Research University Higher School Economics;
  • The Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences.

This year the conference took place online, on April 14-16.


UNESCO IITE joined “An Adolescent in the City” conference

This year’s conference focused on the social, economic and resource inequality as well as risks and existing opportunities for social and psychological assistance to adolescents. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, special attention was drawn to the well-being of adolescents under forced self-isolation and distance learning.

Tigran Yepoyan, UNESCO Regional Health Education Adviser, spoke at the opening plenary session and outlined the difficulties that teenagers face all over the world because of COVID-19 pandemic. Among others, school closures, transition to distance learning, self-isolation, negative feelings and stress were specifically mentioned. Talking about the potential long-term changes that will occur in various spheres of life, he noted the necessity of including into the school curriculum lessons on social and emotional development to increase students’ resilience, adaptability and ability to cope with multiple challenges.

Tigran Yepoyan also presented information cards prepared by UNESCO IITE in collaboration with UNAIDS. These cards give practical advice to teenagers and their caregivers on how to manage coronavirus related information flow and not to give in to panic, how to organize studying, work and maintain good health and relationships with people that live together at home confinement.


Session “Teenagers, Health and the Internet”

Digital socialization and gadgets in a teenager’s life was another important theme discussed at the conference. Within this thematic track, Yulia Plakhutina, UNESCO IITE National Programme Officer in Education and Health, hosted a session “Teenagers, Health and the Internet”. Speakers with both practical and scientific experience discussed how to work with teenagers on sensitive topics in digital space and minimize the risks adolescents face on the Internet and social networks every day.

Yulia Plakhutina talked about the opportunities, potential risks and the perspectives of online sexuality education of teenagers. She presented key findings from UNESCO’s resent research on digital sexuality education and shared the main outcomes of the First International Symposium ‘Switched on – Sexuality education in the digital space’, which UNESCO organized in February 2020.

The session also featured the following speakers:

  • Alena Lesnyak, science journalist and a comic book author, Editor-in-Chief of “Dvor” social media project, on how to build trust with followers instead of annoying them while educating teenagers on the Internet (based on the experience of “Dvor”);
  • Svetlana Chigarkova, senior research associate at the Department of Psychology of Personality, Lomonosov Moscow State University and specialist of the Foundation for Internet Development, on cyberbullying among adolescents;
  • Svetlana Ilyukhina, research psychologist at the Foundation for Internet Development and narrative therapy practitioner, on self-destructive behavior in social media networks
  • Valentin Konon, popular science writer and a biology and geography teacher, on how to create educational content for young people on social media networks;

More than 500 participants and 80 specialists have attended the conference, including representatives of education, healthcare and social protection sectors, civil society organizations, volunteer associations, psychologists and psychotherapists.