This past week PocketGuardian attended the 2015 Family Online Safety Institute's (FOSI) annual conference. We had the pleasure of connecting with many organizations and thought leaders who are bringing awareness to online safety. Over the two-day event, panel topics explored cyber ethics and cyber-bullying, child online sexual exploitation, privacy, international trends, educational technology, digital parenting, and much more. This was our first time participating we felt the positive energy among all of attendees. Here are our takeaways from this year’s conference. 1. Kids Understand the Importance of Online Safety We met with students from across the country who are passionate about bullying prevention, online safety, and ending social isolation among teens. One particular group of students who caught our attention were associated with Beyond Differences, an organization that empowers students to end social isolation in middle school through online and campus programs. They traveled from the West Coast to share their individual stories. As one student mentioned, "coming to Washington, D.C. makes a difference because it spreads our message of inclusion across our nation.” It was awesome to meet kids supporting a great cause and taking action. 2. Parents Are Helping Their Children Navigate Their Digital Life FOSI recently released its latest research report, "Parents, Privacy, & Technology Use," and it contains encouraging statistics. According to the report, 87% of parents say they have rules for their children's technology use, which include what sites they have access to, what online accounts they can have, and what they can post online. In addition, 55% of parents go online and use technology with their children often, a sign that parents are doing a good job communicating and modeling appropriate online behavior. 3. Our Efforts Are Stronger When We Work Together
While it was great to hear about what each individual person and organization is doing to bring awareness to online safety, we kept an eye out for those who are taking a proactive approach to working together in a meaningful way. We acknowledge that the fight against bullying and child exploitation is bigger than our individual efforts. For this reason we have partnered with like minded companies who share our collaborative and proactive approach: KidsEmail, Frienedy, and CyberWise. There is an old saying: "It takes a village to raise a child." We took this to heart, and have created a digital protection package containing our respective services that is targeted at parents raising kids in today's digital age. KidsEmail makes your child's first digital experience a safe and enjoyable. Frienedy provides a safe environment for your child's first social networking experience. PocketGuardian allows parents to monitor their child's digital footprint while maintaining their privacy. CyberWise's Cyber Civics teaches kids how to develop the best safety net in the world, the one between their ears. We enjoyed our experience at this year’s conference and look forward to reconnecting with attendees and continuing online safety discussions in the future. We are equally excited about our new partnership and efforts to help parents keep kids safe online.
Jason France is a Co-Founder of PocketGuardian, a parental monitoring application that detects Cyberbullying and Sexting on children’s mobile devices while maintaining their privacy. Prior to PocketGuardian he founded Tangent Engineering, which creates custom software applications specializing in CyberSecurity, Natural Language Processing, and Web Design. Jason graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a Bachelors of Science in Electrical & Computer Engineering and a Masters in Information Systems Management with a concentration in CyberSecurity. Follow PocketGuardian on Twitter @PocketGuardian.
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