Mary Kay Hoal: a safe internet for our children, Part 1
MARY KAY HOAL is an expert on children’s online safety.
As a mother of five children, and a concerned citizen, Mary Kay is alarmed about the lack of safety and privacy of children online. She finds that children online are constantly exposed to adult-intended content and a free-for-all culture where members aren’t held accountable for their actions.
Leaving a successful career as a global media professional, Mary Kay immersed herself in understanding the draw of social media, and the safety and privacy issues which go with it.
As a result, she founded Yoursphere Media Inc., which focuses on the family and publishes the kids’ social network Yoursphere.com and the parent Internet-safety resource site YoursphereForParents.com. Mary Kay has dedicated herself to providing solutions for families through her work at Yoursphere Media Inc.
In India, where internet laws are absent and the safety and privacy of children online are unattended, Mary Kay’s work and words can safeguard our children in a world dominated more and more by social media.
Biswajit Dey: How safe is the internet for our children? Can you tell us something about the nature of the problem we need to tackle?
Mary Kay Hoal: The Internet is a reflection of the physical world we live in--inclusive of everything good and bad. While there are many positive, age-appropriate places on the Internet for our children, Yoursphere.com being one of them, the Internet as a whole doesn’t have the same societal or legal protections in place for children as there are in the physical world. And this, I believe, is a very large problem for three reasons:
1. The sheer number of risks it poses to our children.
2. The lack of knowledge both parents and their children have regarding the specific risks.
3. A general lack of knowledge that there ARE solutions to the problems.