Friday, September 28, 2012 | 11:27 AM
Just as children need to know how to safely cross the street, they need to learn how to safely surf the web. I just finished a trip in Europe, which underlined the emergence of an inspiring movement bringing together NGOs, governments and private business to raise awareness of online safety and security tools.
The European Commission has been working closely with the CEO Coalition on safety solutions and European Commissioner Neelie Kroes has endorsed the project. In Brussels, I participated in the working group focused on providing tools to help parents understand content, sharing best practices taken from YouTube and Google Play.
Across the Channel in London, I attended Vodafone's launch of their brilliant Digital Parenting magazine. Chock full of how-tos and expert views from kids and PhDs, the magazine is a fun and informative read. (Tip: use an article as a conversation starter during a school ride or at dinner.)
Our Google UK office hosted the Family Online Safety Institute’s roundtable on transatlantic trends in child safety and global implications. The Safety Institute brought together a room full of industry representatives from both sides of the Atlantic to share experiences, set out key priorities, and demonstrate best practices. I heard about campaigns like AT&T’s “It Can Wait” and shared our own experiences with Good to Know and the new YouTube child safety curriculum. We lobbed questions at each other -- how do we make these resources relevant and fun? What can we improve? How can we get youth involved?
After attending three events, it’s clear that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to something as intricate and personal as child safety. As technology forecaster Paul Saffo said, “never mistake a clear view for a short distance.” But that gap is closing -- we are coming together to find unique ways to build a better environment for our users. It is heartening to see this level of passion and dedication.