Friday, April 8, 2011

EastWest Institute and Girl Scouts Work to Empower Kids in the Digital World

The EastWest Institute reports that on April 4, 2011, the EastWest Institute hosted the International Youth and Technology Forum in partnership with Columbia University, where the event was held. It brought together everyone from cybersecurity experts and activists to government representatives and Girl Scouts to lay the groundwork for a new alliance aimed to protect – and empower – kids and teenagers in our digital world.

Dominique Napolitano, a fifteen year-old Long Island Girl Scout who has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives, described the new risks kids face online, from “sexting” to cyber bullying.

“We need to empower youth to take this problem into our own hands and find solutions that will work for us,” said Napolitano, stressing the need for early education on cybersecurity.

The call for education resonated throughout the day, as did the call for people of all ages to become better “digital citizens,” capable of applying real-world knowledge, ethics and personal responsibility to cyberspace.

The International Youth and Technology Forum grew out of a working group aimed at protecting youth online at EWI’s first Worldwide Security Summit in Dallas in May 2010; participants include AOL, Common Sense Media, the iKeepSafe Alliance,UNICEF,, and others. On May 31, 2011 in London, EWI’s first International Youth Congress on Digital Safety and Citizenship, which will include many forum participants, will precede EWI’s Second Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit (June 1-2).

“The EastWest Institute may be one of the first organizations who have really recognized that child online safety plays such a large role in our worldwide cybersecurity,” said former FCC Commissioner Deborah Tate.

Last Summer, I was honored to attend Dominique's testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives - video below: