Microsoft Digital Civility Index Report, 2017 states 64% Indian youth face online risks such as cyber bullying and harassment, 75% know a friend or family member who has been subjected to online harassment and 44% have met the perpetrator of the risk; but only 50% know where to get help if needed.
This data is appalling and worrisome to me as a parent in particular and internet-user in general. My son started early on the cyberspace like every other kid of his generation. He now is a teenager and well adept with the ways of internet and understands the pros and cons of being on cyber-turf. This by no means was an overnight journey but his understanding of cyberspace developed over a period of time. I have always been in the process of discussing online safety with my child from an early age. But some kids may not be lucky as the MS digital civility Index report suggest. These kids and perhaps their parents too do not know a thing about viruses, online privacy, phishing and other internet safety and security issues.
To that end, Microsoft and KidZania have joined hands with Dr. Jyoti Kapoor, Sr Psychiatrist, Paras Hospitals, to create awareness about good practices for holistic and collaborative cyber-physical safety of children.
According to Dr. Jyoti Kapoor, Sr. Psychiatrist, Paras Hospitals,
“As parents we need to be more attentive and alert about our child’s surroundings both, in the cyber and physical worlds. We must watch out for behavioral change caused due to emotional or physical abuse, and we must adopt preventive measures. The most common warning signs of abuse in cyber as well as physical worlds manifest as signs of depression, anxiety, social isolation, nervousness and low self-esteem. Parents need to be very alert to read these signs and immediately take corrective measures. It is important that while we draw benefit from the immense potential of new technologies, we must also make use of all the security features available to make it a safe and pleasant experience.”
Microsoft and KidZania Share a Common Philosophy
Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. KidZania’s vision is to ignite the hearts and minds of kids everywhere by empowering them to make the world a better place. Microsoft and KidZania are helping create protected cyber and physical spaces where children are empowered to learn, be creative and achieve more. Microsoft and KidZania shared good practices for holistic and collaborative cyber-physical safety of children during a conference held on November 08 at KidZania Delhi NCR. It was attended by parents, print and digital media professionals and bloggers from Delhi, Noida and NCR.
Microsoft has a three-pronged approach to cyber security by developing technology and tools, establishing partnerships, providing safety-related education and guidance, and conducting research into people’s behaviors online. This allows MicroSoft to understand, employ and monitor users internet security.
Alok Lall, Partner Technology Lead, Microsoft India, believes,
“The internet can be a wonderful educational tool as well a means of providing interactive and constructive leisure activities for children. However, most parents are rightly worried about some of the content their children may be exposed to on the web and want to keep them safe online. As a parent myself, I would encourage everyone to take advantage of the Microsoft Family features within Windows 10 to create a secure online environment.”
The threats looming in the cyber world are different from that of the physical world in terms of volume, velocity and complexity. Therefore, as a crucial first step, Mr Alok Lall encouraged the use of Microsoft Family Safety features and Windows 10 Parental Controls that can safeguard children in the cyber world.
Windows 10 Fall Creators Update has introduced new features in the Windows Defender Security Center that provide easy access to and integration with Parental Controls that helps protect children from inappropriate content and secure the system from malware. Microsoft Family allows parents to insulate their children from inappropriate content strewn across the web. When parents add their child to the Microsoft Family and turn on activity reporting, they get weekly activity report emails that show a summary of their activity, including websites visited, games and apps used, terms searched for on search engines like Bing and how much screen time they had, even if they have logged in from a friend’s house or any other screen.
KidZania have been pioneers in creating safe and interactive indoor theme parks across the world including India. The essence of their child-centered, role-play and reality based activities lies in the fact that they have safety in-built into their designs, developments and operations. KidZania has led the way in adopting practices of controlled access through RFID Security Bracelets for children, highly trained team of supervisors, following No Touch Policy, strong vigilance tech with CCTV Camera Coverage without Blind Spots, No Unaccompanied Adults Allowed Policy and many more.
Reiterating their commitment to being a safety leader, Viraj Jit Singh, Chief Marketing Officer, KidZania India, said,
“KidZania has over 18 years of experience running safe and secure theme parks all over the world. Since inception in India, we have hosted more than 2.5 million visitors. While our safety measures are of international standards, there is a constant flow of learning through best practices from our 24 global centers. We constantly innovate and since technology plays an integral role in creating a safe and secure space for our visitors, we will reach out to partners who can help us explore the benefits of AI, IoT, cognitive services and other Cloud based services to provide seamless cyber- physical safety to our children.'”
Key Takeaways for Cyber Security
- Turn on Windows Defender to filter out malware and other Trojan and virus attacks.
- Do not make child the administrator thus exposing the computer and child to security threats.
- Make use of parental control features lent by Windows update to track internet and Xbox usage
- Create an environment where digital citizenship thrives. Do not bully or be victim to such harassment.
- Reader mode of Windows 10 removes unnecessary ads and thereby exposure of kids to the unwanted cyber literature 🙂
- Access trustworthy sites only to circumvent any threats.
- Just like in physical world, tell your children to follow ‘Do not talk to strangers’ rule in the cyber world as well
After a walk around of the premises with KidZania Mayor Rohan, we were assured of the safety and security arrangements at this theme park. He explained to us the utility of RFID bands in locating your child. He also showed us the the CCTV surveillance that is a reassurance to every mother her child is safe. At the mountaineering activity zone, the trained team of KidZania helped us understand the equipment used which meets the world class safety standards. The ropes, harness and extra safety nets placed ensure kids are safe while they are enjoying adventure activities.
A panel discussion and Q&A session followed where the eminent panelist took questions from the audience. They allayed fears of parents, added to information on Microsoft Windows program and KidZania’s safety and security measures. The conference concluded with a lot of enlightenment with sharing of expert tips and meaningful discussions. The conference was a part of the Children’s Day celebrations at KidZania.
What a wonderful way of celebrating Children’s Day to give them a childhood they deserve – safe and happy!