A Platform for Good Helps Parents and Teens Connect, Share and Do Good

September 11, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - The Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), an international nonprofit organization dedicated to online safety, today launches A Platform for Good (PfG) – an interactive website designed to help parents, teachers and teens connect, share and do good online.

A Platform for Good equips parents and teachers to help teens responsibly navigate our digital world. The site emphasizes communication and collaborative learning and features the following:

  • Poll for parents: The "Teach Parents Tech" feature will enable teens to educate their parents about technology and offer incentives for teens to engage their parents in discussions about digital technologies. Polls are now open for parents to vote for the topics they want to learn about and the interactive feature will be unveiled in November.
  • Videos for teachers: The "Teach Teachers Tech" feature showcases teens in free, short videos that can be used in the classroom to foster discussion about the online world and supplement standard curriculum.
  • Sweepstakes for teens: The "What I Wish My Parents Knew" sweepstakes invites teens to submit videos or written explanations describing what they wish their parents knew about technology.
  • Blog: The PfG blog features voices from every facet of the online world – from safety and security experts to youth activists. Bloggers will discuss ways to use technology for personal and social good and highlight examples of those already using social media for good.
  • Resources: A robust resource page identifies volunteer opportunities and highlights useful online materials, from educational videos to tutorials.

By highlighting the positive uses of the Internet, A Platform for Good works to allay parents' and educators' anxieties about teens' online activities. A Platform for Good is unique in that it focuses on identifying and promoting the social good that can happen – and is already happening – online. "Research shows that the majority of online interactions are positive," said Stephen Balkam, CEO of FOSI. "By giving parents, teens and teachers opportunities to engage with one another both online and offline, we can help change the current conversation about digital technologies – moving the needle from fear to opportunity."

To support A Platform for Good, FOSI has convened a coalition of tech industry giants and others that crosses a variety of areas: social media, search, telecom, cable and online security. A Platform for Good sponsors include: Facebook, Google, Microsoft, AT&T, NCTA, Sprint, Symantec, Yahoo!, Verizon and Disney, with additional philanthropic support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. FOSI also plans to work with educational associations, policymakers, community organizations and other influencers to shape the path forward for A Platform for Good.

"Kids are growing up in an increasingly digital world, which has had a profoundly positive impact on the way they connect with the world around them and learn new skills," said Marne Levine, Vice President for Global Public Policy for Facebook. "FOSI's approach to digital citizenship is unique and innovative: it is leveraging technology to help parents and educators teach teens how to make safe, smart choices online. We're thrilled to join A Platform for Good."

About FOSI

The Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) works to make the online world safer for kids and their families by identifying and promoting best practices, tools and methods that also respect free speech. FOSI is a trusted, international convener, bringing together leaders in government, industry and the nonprofit sectors to collaborate and innovate new solutions in child safety in a Web 2.0 world. FOSI's members include: AOL, AT&T, BAE Systems Detica, BT Retail, Comcast, Disney, Entertainment Software Association, Facebook, France Telecom, Google, GSM Association, Microsoft, Motion Picture Association of America, NCTA, Nominum, Optenet, RuleSpace, Sprint, Symantec, Time Warner Cable, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, TELMEX, USTelecom, The Wireless Foundation, Verizon and Yahoo!.