Children Aren't Safe Online, But BSPs Can Protect Them Against Cyberbullying
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We all know that cyberbullying and other online dangers are increasing, and our children are dramatically impacted mentally. In fact, 90 percent of children have access to the internet in some manner, and almost half of teens report being online constantly. Further, more than a third of children report having experienced cyberbullying, yet only 10 percent disclose the incident to their parent or guardian.  

Taking Action is Complicated 

While the situation is at a crisis level, it’s unlikely that state or federal governments will step in to fix this issue. This inaction is due in part to social media companies that are hiding behind Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. Congress passed the law to protect Americans’ freedom of expression online by protecting the intermediaries who make online communication and social media possible. The purpose is laudable, but the result is less than ideal, especially when it comes to protecting children online. Reform is needed, but we do not have time to wait. 

Communities are bridging the gap as best they can. Take, for example, a recent lawsuit filed by a Seattle public school. The complaint, filed on Friday, January 6th, 2023, against Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), Meta Platforms Inc (META.O), Snap Inc (SNAP.N), and TikTok-owner ByteDance with the U.S. District Court, claims these companies purposefully designed their products to hook young people to their platforms, thereby creating a mental health crisis. 

BSPs Can Help Communities Keep Kids Safe 

“As someone who has experienced cyberbullying firsthand and has preteen-age children, I immediately knew that the partnership between Calix and Bark was something that I wanted to get behind,” said Russell Kacer, president at YK Communications. “I think that, as broadband service providers, we are responsible for protecting our communities by making efforts to stop cyberbullying.”  

As the gateway to the internet, broadband service providers (BSPs) provide an invaluable service to their community. But that relationship also comes with responsibility. BSPs can and should offer their subscribers tools and resources they can use to ensure their children can safely explore and learn online. “I am not doing this to make money. It’s a social responsibility,’ Russell said.

ExperienceIQ and Bark Add a Two-Layer Approach to Online Safety 

Thankfully, BSPs can make a difference. There are two easy things a broadband service provider can easily do to protect their most vulnerable subscribers. Calix proposes a two-layer approach to protect your subscribers’ children. You can offer parents a complete set of tools to manage and monitor their children’s online lives, whatever their age and whether they are at home or on the go. ExperienceIQ® and Bark are complementary applications you can offer as managed services to help subscribers navigate the complexities of kids’ constant connectivity. 

Time is of the essence. Learn how you, too, can offer these managed services to help protect your families in the communities you serve.  

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