This week, my colleagues and I have the honor of speaking at the WePROTECT Children Online Global Summit in Abu Dhabi to participate in a broad exchange and to provide an update on industry efforts to help protect children online. We will touch on Microsoft’s latest efforts in our long-standing commitment to help keep children and young people safe online, and we’ll highlight the important role industry plays on the WePROTECT International Advisory Board, as we all work to eradicate the online availability of child sexual abuse material. We’ll also discuss new initiatives to encourage greater progress on a regional and local level in countries around the world.
Microsoft, and indeed all of the tech industry, has a unique role to play in this space. We create and invest in innovative and disruptive technologies; we orchestrate internal self-governance through policies and practices; we educate and inform the global public about online risk; and we partner with others in both the public and private sectors across all of these areas.
For example, among other things, Microsoft is announcing that we are distributing an internal guidebook to our international subsidiaries to help local governments establish National Initiatives for Child Online Protection, in order to help broaden the focus on child sexual exploitation and abuse to encompass a child’s full digital life. The guidebook covers conducting research about children’s online habits and practices; raising public awareness of online safety risks among youth; advocating for in-school education; enacting and enforcing laws; and collaborating with the technology industry and NGOs as the main strategies behind creating an all-up initiative for protecting children and young people online.
Such national initiatives bring critical people and organizations to the table on focused solutions that reflect local and regional considerations. While the problem of child sexual abuse material is global, the full dynamics of the problem can vary by region, making national programs increasingly important.
It is also imperative that we further amplify the gravity of not just online child sexual exploitation and abuse, but the need to protect children online and our global society at large. As always, there is more to be done, but Microsoft is honored and privileged to be working with other determined government, industry and other leaders to do just that.
For more information about starting a National Initiative for Child Online Protection in your country, please contact your local Microsoft government affairs or other representative. To learn more about Microsoft’s commitment to protect children online, see our website.
At the time of writing of this post, Jacqueline Beauchere’s title was Chief Online Safety Officer.