At the kickoff event for his year-long presidential initiative, “America’s Promise – Keeping Our Kids Safe,” the new leader of the U.S. National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) promised to help protect American youth in all aspects of their lives, including life online.
“We need to focus on prevention,” NAAG president and Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen told an audience of about 120, including AGs, members of their staffs and others in Milwaukee last week. “We need to educate our kids; we need them to build positive relationships with law enforcement, and we need to take people off the streets (who would do children harm).”
Representatives from Microsoft’s Online Safety Team and Digital Crimes Unit were on-site at the NAAG event, invited to participate along with a total of nine other corporations and child-focused non-profits. Our “presenter station” showcased our technology tools and educational resources and we offered five different “learning sessions” designed to educate AGs and their staffs about various aspects of the digital lives of America’s youth, as well as Microsoft’s work in these areas.
Standing up to online bullying, taking charge of online reputations, our industry-leading PhotoDNA technology and our efforts to thwart child trafficking were all subjects of our informal learning sessions. In addition, we distributed educational resources we’ve developed to help inform parents, teachers, school officials and others about how best to protect kids online. We dedicated a learning session to this array of free materials so attendees might help do the same. “Building Global Trust Online,” our Policymakers’ Guide to Security, Privacy, and Online Safety; our “Digital Citizenship in Action” toolkit, a primer on PhotoDNA; and Microsoft’s Human Rights Statement were the most popular titles.
Plenary sessions and “main-tent” panel discussions featured experts from varying fields of child protection, including drug-use prevention, combatting child exploitation and addressing school violence.
Microsoft applauds General Van Hollen for his concern for, and dedication to, all aspects of youth protection, and we welcome the opportunity to help him further advance the important effort of childrens’ online safety.
We’ve made protecting kids online – indeed, all individuals – a priority since we launched our first Web service in the mid-1990s. Our work includes:
· Providing family-friendly technology tools in our products and services
· Partnering with others in industry and the non-profit sector on joint initiatives
· Creating educational resources to raise public awareness and inform global Internet users how to be good “digital citizens” in today’s constantly connected world