Young people, parents, educators, and government officials around the world continue to be concerned about online bullying, often asking: What is it? How can it be prevented? And, what tools and resources are available to raise awareness and help educate the public?
Last week, the office of the Attorney General of Washington State held a day-long Cyberbullying Summit on Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, Washington. The company’s Online Safety Team had the distinct pleasure of actively participating. I spoke on a panel entitled, “Where are we now? Current Efforts in Education, Law and Technology to Fight Cyberbullying,” and my colleagues and I took part in the compelling working sessions that followed.
Attendees included Attorney General Rob McKenna and other government officials; educational and community leaders from across the state, as well as local law enforcement and representatives from the private sector. Resources were exchanged and best practices were shared. After thoughtful collaboration a draft plan for a state-wide campaign was devised to begin communicating clearly and with a singular voice how, best to prevent online bullying among youth, and encourage all individuals to be better “digital citizens.” Digital citizenship –
responsible and appropriate use of technology – is a recurring theme in working to address many online safety issues.
When I speak about Microsoft’s Online Safety work generally, or our focus on an issue such as cyberbullying in particular, people routinely are surprised to learn of the company’s commitment and involvement. They wonder why Microsoft would be focused on such issues, and they’re pleased to hear of the company’s decade-long Trustworthy Computing effort. The Washington State Cyberbullying Summit was no exception.
In short, Microsoft is committed to creating safer, more trusted online experiences for people of all ages and abilities. Our work to help prevent online bullying, safeguard online reputations, combat Internet fraud, and curtail other Internet ills and highlight its benefits, falls under the banner of fostering digital citizenship. And, we know we can’t do this alone. Creating a safer, more secure Internet is very much a shared responsibility among youth, parents, educators, law enforcement, governments, and community organizations.
To learn how you can help prevent online bullying and promote good digital citizenship, consult these resources: brochure, factsheet, whitepaper, toolkit. Also, regularly check in to our Safety & Security Center, where all of our tools and materials are housed. “Like” our page on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.