FOSI 2010: Internet Freedom, Safety & Citizenship. A Global Call to Action
Today we welcome our guest blogger, Hemanshu "Hemu" Nigam, SafetyWeb advisor and CEO of SSP Blue, the leading advisory firm for online safety, security, and privacy challenges facing corporations and governments worldwide. Hemu is an expert in online safety and security who has led security efforts at Microsoft and News Corporation. Hemu also served as one of the first federal prosecutors against Internet child predators and computer crimes for the U.S. Department of Justice, as an advisor to a Congressional commission on online child safety, and an advisor to the White House on cyberstalking. Hemu was Chief Security Officer of social networking site MySpace, one of the hundreds of sites monitored by SafetyWeb's parental monitoring service.
This Is Our Call to Action
Every year around this time as the last leaves of the autumn season begin to fall off the nearly barren trees and as my children devour their last pieces of Halloween candy, my attention in my professional life naturally shifts to focus on the Family Online Safety Institute’s (FOSI) annual conference. FOSI’s annual conference is traditionally held in Washington, D.C. toward the end of the year to bring together leaders from industry, non-profit, policy, research, and government organizations to discuss the collective challenges we face in trying to keep children and teens safe online.
This year as I was getting ready to speak at this event that is being held November 9th and 10th as the chill is setting upon the historic monuments of our nation’s capital, I noticed that the theme of the conference is one that has been a part of my professional platform throughout my career: “Internet Freedom, Safety & Citizenship. A Global Call to Action.” It is also very close to what I discussed recently at the United Nation’s Cyber Hate Summit where I gave opening remarks on the topic of “Unlearning Intolerance in a Cyber Connected World”.
During my remarks, I focused on the fact that unlearning intolerance starts in the home and that parents must teach their kids tolerance in the online world in much the same way they do so in the physical world. I asked the group of Excellencies to take a step back for a moment and think of what we have done for many years before the word ‘cyber’ became an indelible part of our vocabulary and frankly before this word scared parents into paralysis when teaching their kids how to be free, safe and responsible online citizens. I explained how we have devoted a great deal of time and energy throughout history in teaching our children how to be tolerant and how not to learn intolerance. We have done it in our homes, in our schools, and in various other places in our societies across the globe. And, still we see headlines every week about bad things are happening to kids online as a result of intolerant actions online.
While parents remain paralyzed, for many of us, it is no mystery that to be good “cyber parents” we need tools to be able to protect our kids online and not be afraid to use them. In many ways the title of this year’s conference, “Internet Freedom, Safety & Citizenship. A Global Call to Action,” holds the answer to this paralysis. As the guiding lights in the home, parents can teach their kids that they have the freedom to make choices online just as they do in the physical world,everything from the right to say yes and the power to say no. Parents have the capability to access tools and resources to help them engage in a dialogue with their kids about safe online practices and the detrimental consequences of intolerant or risky online behavior. And, lastly parents have the right and ability to enforce an online code of conduct tailored to the values that are present in their homes to help their kids become respectful online citizens.
Next week as many of us gather in a city that has been the guardian of our country in the physical world and talk about our global call to action, we should think of how we can give parents the power to let the call to action start in their homes across the world.
This is our call to action.
The SafetyWeb team, along with Hemu and members of SafetyWeb's Product Advisory Council will be participating at the FOSI 2010 Annual Conference and Exhibition in Washington, D.C. on November 8th and 9th. The theme of this year's conference is Internet Freedom, Safety & Citizenship. A Global Call to Action. Interested in meeting with or partnering with @SafetyWeb during FOSI? Email us to schedule a demonstration, or stop by our exhibitor space to say hello!
Follow FOSI online along with conference details @FamOnlineSafety #fosi2010
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