Keeping Kids Safe Online

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/hypermom/9068524264/ These days, most kids spend a lot of their time online. Whether they’re doing research for their homework, chatting with their friends, or playing some games, the Web has become a significant part of their lives. But while kids are navigating the World Wide Web, they inevitably leave bits and pieces of their identity when they sign up for their favored sites or comment on stuff they like. This is all well and good if not for organizations that collect children’s personal information and online activities, leaving kids vulnerable to attacks by hackers, identity thieves, and sexual predators.

Vibal Foundation, Inc. recently put the spotlight on data privacy in its recently-held forum entitled, “Are your kids tech-safe?” Led by Esther Vibal, Chair of the Vibal Group of Companies, the forum gave thought leaders the opportunity to express their support to children’s online safety. The forum participants included Jovel Cipriano, founder of Websafekids.org; Ka Arnulfo Empleyo, president of National Association of Public Secondary School Heads; Janice Villanueva, founder of Mommy Mundo; Rhodora Ferrer, executive director of Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines; Ysrael Diloy, advocacy and training officer of Stairway Foundation); and Atty. Noel Del Prado, Legal Consultant at the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Legal and Legislative Affairs of the Department of Education.

Vibal underscored the importance of protecting the Filipino student’s right to data privacy. She said, “We do not want their information and data to be used for purposes other than education. We must be responsible in our use of technology, and be more aware and conscious of the dangers that exist in cyberspace.”

In his presentation, Jeff Gould of SafeGov.org said, “Schools that receive services from cloud technology providers should insist on contracts that expressly ban the exploitation of children’s email or information for other purposes than education. They should also require these providers to offer a transparent and specific privacy policy with strict guarantees against user profiling or web tracking.”

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For her part, Mommy Mundo’s Villanueva said that parents must do their part in teaching their children about protecting their personal information. At the same time, she encouraged parents to work with other groups in order to ensure their children’s safety online.

Watch out for announcements of future forums on this topic by following the Mommy Mundo page on Facebook.

For more information, go to www.safegov.org.