With our world getting more virtualised and the proliferation of new technologies providing instant mobility, it is commonplace today to see children as young as six years old clacking away on a computer or surfing the Internet with a smartphone in hand. In Taiwan, 90 percent of children aged six to 11 years have access to the Internet, and eight in every ten of them own a mobile device.
What is worrying is the nonchalant stance that the majority of Taiwanese parents adopt when it comes to monitoring their children’s Internet behaviours, despite their concern about the possibility of exposure to adult content and Internet addiction.
To create greater awareness of cyber-safety, Microsoft Taiwan is collaborating with the established international non-governmental organisation (NGO) ECPAT Taiwan (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography And Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes), which is dedicated to ending commercial sexual exploitation of children. Both organisations have joined up to launch several initiatives on cyber-safety for children, announced at the ECPAT-Microsoft Taiwan Family Cyber Safety Media Event.
“Harmful content, such as online pornography, not only has a negative influence on children, but it also provides sexual offenders a platform to prey on children for abductions, sexual assaults and even sexual trafficking,” said Professor Yu-Quan Kao, Executive Director, ECPAT Taiwan. “It is crucial that parents are aware of the dangers that their children are potentially exposed to.”
Vincent Shih, General Manager of Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft Taiwan, also cautioned that these risks will get increasingly complex due to the rapid development of the Internet in the coming years.
A Microsoft-ECPAT initiative titled “4G” (Time Guardian, History Guardian, Web Guardian and Rating Guardian) enables parents to use free Microsoft tools to ensure a safe web browsing experience for their children.
- Set limits and regulations on Internet access and digital devices for children
- Teach children not to reveal personal information online
- Install parental controls, cyber safety settings or an Internet filter service
- Educate children on proper use of Internet and online communication etiquette
- Help children choose appropriate content to read and games to play
Microsoft and ECPAT Taiwan are embarking on a campaign to screen the cyber-safety education video that they co-produced, for students, teachers and parents across Taiwan.
ECPAT and Microsoft will be working closely with original equipment manufacturers, Acer and Asus, as well as retail partners on a cross-industry collaboration promoting children’s cyber-wellness. Their efforts include posting related information on their official websites, placing family safety flyers in their stores and providing after-sales services for Windows Family Safety installation.
“With IT deeply ingrained in our everyday lives, it is essential that we teach our children to keep themselves safe in cyberspace,” said Shih. “When we educate our children, we are also educating future generations who will lead this country.”