Our 2011 plans at Learning From A to Z include creating a series of written and video content that have the specific goal of helping families stay safe on the Internet. Before I get into an overview of our plans, I’ll provide you a little insight into our backgrounds and inspiration.
In the late 1990s, while still an employee at Microsoft, I served as one of four volunteers on a joint Federal and local cyber crime task force that ended up netting out one of the largest child indency stings in US history. You can read about Operation Avalanche on Wikipedia. This also led to one of the biggest law enforcement blunders ever in the UK through a related operation referred to as Operation Ore. Though the details of these cases are deep, it did open my eyes to the dangers of the Internet for both children and adults.
Furthermore, prior to acquiring Learning From A to Z, both Jerod and I dedicated our time to a digital marketing agency that we own and operate. As a part of this, we got called into quite a few corporate clients who had been presented with troubling online situations, including: harassment; extortion; and flat out hacking. Due to the nature of the work, we kept up with contacts in law enforcement and have been privy to their information on cyber crime and scams.
So, the question you probably have in your mind is: What does this have to do with children and learning? We look at the answer to this question as a two-fold response.
- Computers and the Internet are a part of mainstream education in schools and home schooling. As a member of my child’s education and technology board at school, I can tell you that there is a constant need for collaboration between educators and parents as cyber safety is an ongoing topic.
- Adults in the family are likely to be at a higher risk of cyber safety issues than children. We view every dollar lost in a scam and every moment spent dealing with a cyber issue as time and resources that are taken away from educational time that adults could be spending with their children. It also introduces stress into the household, which is a flat out distraction for little minds.
We are pleased to be announcing the launch of our Family Online Safety series via this blog post and with Scott West on Day Break Radio this Monday. We’ll post a YouTube video of the show on this blog once it is available. We’ll also be launching our first blog post in the series entitled “Fake Checks – An Eye Opener for Parents”