The children of today are citizens of a digital era. Children now have the opportunity to learn in both fun and interactive ways. They can explore and develop their passions in a manner that not long ago would have been either unaffordable or simply unavailable.
The opportunities the internet presents us with in parenting our children are endless. However, like all great strides forward, one must consider the potential risks and unfortunately this digital age does carry some. They need to be addressed, eliminated where possible, and minimized where they cannot be totally eradicated.
With this in mind, in December of last year, Microsoft joined the European Commission’s CEO Coalition on Child Online Safety. Facing a perceived incoherence between European institutions and industry, the coalition itself was set up as a collective effort of industry to discuss best practices that would “make the Internet a better place for children.”
The focus of this coalition centers on the concept of collaboration, of working together in order to identify the problems and take appropriate steps with regard to implementing practical measures to eradicate them. We believe that such joint efforts, involving all major industry players in the digital ecosystem – including hardware manufacturers, technology companies, content creators, telecommunications and online service providers – are necessary to achieve real progress in the area of online safety.
With three little rascals of my own running amuck, I understand the significance of child safety online and how important it is that we stay focused on practical improvements as the digital environment evolves and becomes increasingly ubiquitous. With the recent launch of the Windows Phone 8, Microsoft has introduced a new feature that we refer to as Kids Corner.
Found in the settings of the phone itself, Kids Corner can be activated to simply enable only child friendly apps so that the parent can hand their smart phone to a child knowing that they cannot access inappropriate material, make unsanctioned purchases or perhaps access social networking platforms at too young an age. As a mother of grasp happy children myself, I often fret that they will stumble online or perhaps end up accidentally erasing my pictures or inbox! Kids Corner will ensure peace of mind for a phone passing parent like myself and it is something that I cannot wait to get my hands on.
With Kids Corner, we have added yet another feature to the list of practical contributions to the CEO coalitions’ efforts. I began by stating that the children of today are citizens of a digital era. This era is moving faster than any that has come before and so the dangers with regard to online safety are evolving as the technology does. This is why dialogues such as the CEO Coalition and developments like Kids Corner are crucial in ensuring that we keep pace with the changing world around us.