In October the Diana Award were lucky enough to be invited by the DotKids Foundation to a round table breakfast discussion at the European Parliament in Brussels on creating a safe cyber-space for young people. With children having increased access to the internet and therefore the information they can access, a recent new internet regulation has enabled a new kids friendly cyberspace to be created with the domain ‘.kids’. Websites who abide by certain rules and regulations would apply to have a .kids domain rather than a .com domain in their website address. The idea being that young people can be directed to .kids websites in the knowledge that the content on there will be age appropriate, educational and fun.
Our Youth Board Members
The Diana Award took two of our Anti-Bullying Ambassador Youth Board members to the discussion to represent the voices of young people. The two Youth Board members were Henry (15) and Jack (14). Both boys spend a lot of time on the internet, have experienced cyber-bullying at some point, and have come across inappropriate content on the internet. Both Henry and Jack spoke in European Parliament about what a safe cyber-space would look like to them, the types of sites they would like to see with a .kids domain and their experiences of cyber-bullying. They were also fortunate enough to talk with some of the MEPs who attended about the great anti-bullying work both boys have been doing in their schools.
What would be the benefits of a .kids domain?
The content on any website with a .kids domain would be monitored and regulated supposedly creating a safe online environment for young people. Examples of content which wouldn’t be allowed on the .kids domain include drugs, violence, mature content, inappropriate language, gambling etc. Having a specific area on the internet for young people would allow organisations, charities, businesses etc to inform young people of any exciting opportunities available to them. It could also be used as a platform to educate and empower young people.
There are currently three applicants submitting proposals to ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) to be the regulatory body for the .kids domain. These three applicants are the DotKids Foundation (a not for profit organisation), Amazon and Google. Depending on whose application is successful, there are concerns about whether a .kids domain will be used for business purposes and whether the content will really be properly regulated. A decision will be made at the end of this year as to who will be the regulatory body.
We are incredibly proud of Jack and Henry. Not many young people could have spoken as confidently and as passionately as Jack and Henry did about stopping bullying and making the internet a safer place for young people. In November both boys are accompanying us to Facebook’s Headquarters in Dublin where they will be taught about online safety and share what they learnt at the Parliamentary discussion. Exciting times ahead – stay tuned!