Security agent Ballmer

Guest post by: Joanna Hafenmayer, Citizenship Lead Switzerland

clip_image002February 16th was a crazy day in the life of the 4th graders of the primary school Näglimoos in Kloten, right outside of Zurich, Switzerland – and so it was for me.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was visiting the school and there was a media conference going on with plenty of reporters, photographers and cameras. Preparations started early in the morning.

Picture: 8am, Steve signing a diploma for each of the students stating that they have been trained within the security4kids initiative

Steve came to honor the 20,000th pupil that has been trained with the Swiss online safety curriculum with certificates and a huge chocolate lock. In the following press conference and celebration, Microsoft was able to look back onto five years of successful engagement and thought leadership in Switzerland with security4kids. Many of the initiative’s partners – NGOs, public agencies, criminal protection organizations and others - were present to underline the success and relevance of our online safety engagement in Switzerland and also to highlight the challenges that kids, parents and teachers face when trying to stay safe online and understanding what to do and what not to do.

Based on the experience of previous years, Microsoft announced the BuddyGuard, a free chat counseling service for children that can be accessed directly from within Windows Live Messenger – rights where the kids spend a lot of their time.


The most important things to observe when chatting:

1. Protect yourself and your data: no photos, webcam or phone numbers exchanged with people you do not know personally

2. Private things private: don’t share too much information with strangers

3. Be careful who you chat with: photos in chat profiles are not necessarily real and someone saying they are a kid can be a grown up.

4. Don’t agree to meet strangers: if you met someone in chat that you would like to meet in person – talk to your parents first

5. Don’t let anyone pressure you: stop the chat or talk to your parents if some says odd or unpleasant things

6. Be fair: treat others as you would like to be treated yourself

The kids weren’t just interested in the online safety training that day, they were curious to see if the CEO of a major global company - Steve Ballmer - would actually agree to wear the funny black security agent hat that we prepared for him.

He did! And after calling out every single kid’s name and leaving the school for the next meeting, he left me and the whole team responsible for the project and preparation a little bit relieved that everything went well but more importantly a little bit proud and a little bit touched.


Steve handing out a security training diploma to one of the students.


Steve celebrating the 20’000th student trained in security behavior with a Swiss chocolate security lock.


More photos can be found here.

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Comments (1)

  1. greg logan says:

    microsoft has taken over ownership of my computer i want it back "now"

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