Friday, September 4, 2009

Helping create responsible digital citizens

With more and more kids going online, whether to connect over social networking sites, mingle in chat rooms or play games, it's become increasingly important for families, schools and service providers to work together to ensure that the younger generation understands their responsibilities while they explore the virtual world.

A few weeks ago, Google participated in the 21st Annual Crimes Against Children Conference in Dallas, where over 3,500 members of law enforcement, child advocacy groups, the tech industry and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) convened to share ideas, discuss strategies and explore new technologies designed to combat the many and varied forms of crimes against children. We had the opportunity to describe some of the positive steps Google is taking to educate and safeguard minors who use our products and services, as well as the unique ways we support the individuals on our staff who do child exploitation-related work.

According to a recent NCMEC study in patterns and trends in online child victimization, the past few years have seen a 6% increase in reports of kids providing images and videos of themselves when asked by online acquaintances; sending naked photos of themselves through text messages ("sexting"); and cyber-bullying. This new trend underscores the need to educate our younger users, their families and teachers on ways to create and enjoy safe online experiences.

We're doing our part by working with child safety organizations and law enforcement around the globe to spread positive messages about life online. For example, in mid-September, we're launching a global training program on YouTube to help teens teach other teens about these issues. This is just one step among many that we're taking to help create a generation of responsible digital citizens.

Voices of support for the Google Books settlement

Posted: 04 Sep 2009 07:45 AM PDT

We've spent a lot of time with authors, publishers, academics, civil rights groups and other communities this summer discussing how the Google Books settlement will impact them. We've met individually with a number of organizations and participated in their events. And we've hosted our own forums across the country.

Yesterday, we took part in another call with even more groups, including the American Association of People with Disabilities, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Federation of the Blind, the United States Students Association and others, who together voiced their support for the agreement.

These groups, along with many others we've heard from in past months, represent a large and diverse collection of many millions of people, and they believe, like we do, that providing more access to more books is of critical importance. They have voiced their support through videos, op-eds, and tweets, as well as through statements sent directly to the Court.

In editorials, The New York Times and the Washington Post have echoed the importance of increasing access to information. And just this week, The Economist weighed in with its support for the approval of the settlement and cited the benefits for authors, publishers, libraries and researchers "from Manhattan to Mumbai."

We continue to be inspired by these stories, and we've gathered them all on a new site that can be found here. We know this is a complex issue, and we want to make sure all of these voices are heard. As we get closer to the court date for the settlement approval, we anticipate there will be even stories more to share. And we'll make sure to add them to this site.

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