“Shutting them off is wrong,” said Mandeep Dhillon, CEO and Co-Founder of Togetherville, a social network for kids, at the “Learning in a Digital Age” conference, referring to blocking kids from the Internet in order to keep them safe.
“The more transparency we have, the easier we can engage them to help make them safe and the easier to manage the people around them,” he said. “It’s a fundamental shift from the way we’ve been doing things. In the past, we built a notion of comfort around anonymity in chat rooms, but Facebook changed the way people think about verifiable conversations. So with safety and transparency, we can actually have verifiable conversations. Parents can create a network of people that both kids and parents know. It’s essential to surround kids online with people they know.”
Extending the thought was Catherine Teitelbaum, Director of Child Safety and Product Policy at Yahoo:
“We’re teaching young citizens how to do well and be safe out in the world. But that definition of ‘out in the world’ has to shift. They have to have more responsibility and more freedom — with guidance — sp they know how to navigate what’s next.”
Sarah DeWitt, Vice President of PBS Kids Interactive added:
“Safety has to go hand in hand with media literacy. We have to teach them in a safe, fun way, as opposed to scaring them.”