Doug Park, Director of Online Safety for Xbox writes on the Get Game Smart blog:
Last week I had the chance to attend the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the Kids@Play Summit. It was great to see the newest products and ideas in consumer electronics while thinking about the online safety implications that come with each new innovation. A plethora of smart devices – from cameras on televisions to browsers on every device and unlimited content – are bringing connected entertainment to more people than ever before. At the same time, there could be new potential risks being introduced.
It all adds up to some common themes that were represented well at the Kids@Play Summit. Online safety and privacy awareness and education are critical for parents and children alike. Parental controls should be part of the conversation (and we have you covered for Xbox), but parental involvement is key. At the end of the day, we know you can’t be there to protect your children all the time, so we need to partner to give them tools for when they go it alone. It’s like teaching a child to always wear a seatbelt, not just when you are in the car to enforce it.
I was given a chance to present some of these ideas on the Taming the Reputation Monster panel, moderated by Larry Magid, Technology Columnist and Co-Founder of ConnectSafely.org. My fellow panelists included George Garrick, CEO of SocialShield, Clayton Ostler, Senior Director of Technology at ContentWatch (NetNanny), and Noopor Argawal, Senior Director of Public Affairs at MTV. As Larry noted near the end of our discussion, we were all somewhat surprisingly consistent with our outlook that there needs to be a balanced approach for addressing privacy and online safety needs for children and families.
Some of the common themes from our discussion included working to create safer online communities and combating digital abuse, as well as creating awareness of online monitoring tools and online safety education resources. We also agreed that parents are the "first line of defense" as kids and teens are increasingly connected and new gadgets are coming into the home. Parents need to take the lead in a continued discussion on acceptable technology habits with their children. It was a great panel to participate on.
The summit and CES were a good reminder that technology isn’t going to slow down and will continue to introduce new threats and risks. As a parent myself, it also increases the importance I place on having the right conversations regarding privacy and online safety with my own children (ages 5, 7, and 12). If you need help, check out the PACT on our site. It is an outstanding resource to start the conversation.