Cocoon for Klaas Kids from Get Cocoon on Vimeo.
Whether it is identity theft, online tracking, or profiling, the Internet can be an open door to a child’s personal information.
Whether it is identity theft, online tracking, or profiling, the Internet can be an open door to a child’s personal information. That is why Virtual World Computing is working with child-safety advocate Marc Klaas, founder of the KlaasKids Foundation, to establish a free online tool to protect children from predators and abusive marketers.
The KlaasKids Foundation was established in 1994 to give meaning to the death of twelve-year-old Polly Hannah Klaas, (Marc’s daughter) who was kidnapped at knife point from her mother’s home during a slumber party in Petaluma, California, on October 1, 1993. People from her home town and throughout the world helped search for her. Polly’s body was found on December 3, 1993. She was a daughter, a step-sister, a student, a friend, and a grandchild.
It’s up to us to ensure that our children do not wander into the streets of the world-wild web alone.
With criminals, deviants and sexual predators actively targeting children who browse the web (coupled with the naivety of our children) -as parents, it’s up to us to ensure that our children do not wander into the streets of the world-wild web alone.
Protecting Our Children Online
The need to protect our children continues to grow as their use of computers and mobile devices increases.
The need to protect our children continues to grow as their use of computers and mobile devices increases. According to a 2011 Common Sense Media Report, “Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America,” 52% of all children (age 0-8) now have access to a mobile device. Computer use is even more prevalent, with 53% of all 2 to 4 year-olds having used a computer, and 90% of 5 to 8 year-olds having done so.
KlaasKids and Virtual World Computing – can be part of the solution by providing more parental tools and education for child online safety.
-The Internet can be an open door to a child’s personal information, whether it is identity theft, online tracking, profiling, or cyber-predators.
-Society has an obligation to protect our children and online safety for children should be a priority.COPPA was drafted to protect kids online privacy in 1998. Since then, we have seen the advent of social media, smartphones, tablets, open Wi-Fi connections, iTunes, online gaming, and online homework and proposed updates to the law have stalled out in Congress. Collaborations – such as the one we have formed between KlaasKids and Virtual World Computing – can be part of the solution by providing more parental tools and education for child online safety.
-Cocoon for KlaasKids will be launched in January 2013, and has the potential to provide millions of parents a free tool to manage their kids website visits and protect their family’s personal information whether on their computer, iPad, iPhone, or other personal devices.
Cocoon for KlaasKids Features
Along with Cocoon’s online privacy and security tools that help shield personal information, it will include a parent-sourced whitelist of recommended, appropriate websites.
How Cocoon for KlaasKids Works
Parents lock Cocoon for KlaasKids into ‘kid mode’ to enable safety features.
Parents lock Cocoon for KlaasKids into ‘kid mode’ to enable safety features. Kids then log in to access sites approved for them. Other sites require parental permission which can be granted either through an email or push notification on a mobile device. Instructions are provided for removing or locking other browsers.
Cocoon for KlaasKids Benefits
-Protects kids personal data from marketers and predators
-Protects the family computer from harmful downloads of viruses and malware
-Helps parents manage their family’s online lifestyle
Relevant Statistics about the Need for this Online Tool
-Some of the most popular kids websites have been found to have “super cookies” (sometimes 30% more than the average adult site according to that 2010 report by WSJ) to track data more effectively. Children are prevalent Internet users, even at an early age, and they are more vulnerable than adults to online tracking and identity theft because they are by nature more trusting.
-A recent study conducted by Commonsense Media (Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America) helps illustrate the prevalence of young kids using technology to go online. For instance 22 percent of 5 to 8-year olds use computer once a day, and more than a third of children under the age of 8 have used a mobile device, either cell phones or tablets, to watch movies, play games and use apps.
-While the official age when people can join Facebook is 13, Consumer Reports released a report in May 2011, finding that 7.5 million kids under the age of 12 are members. They have access to Facebook’s new “frictionless sharing,” which allows people to easily share what they’re reading and listening to without choosing to actually click “share” or “like.” In reality, the new system follows Facebook users across the Internet taking copious notes on their reading, browsing and shopping habits – and that is only one social media site.
-Kids are also at high risk of having their identities stolen. Eight percent of identity theft complaints are for minors under the age of 19, according to the FTC. Further, Carnegie Mellon released a report in 2011, “Child Identity Theft,” findings show “4,311 or 10.2% of the children in the report had someone else using their Social Security number – 51 times higher than the 0.2% rate for adults in the same population.”
Children are prevalent Internet users, even at an early age, and they are more vulnerable than adults to online tracking and identity theft because they are by nature more trusting.
-The personal information collected on children is accessible to cyber-predators who could lure a child away from their home for malicious purposes. A 2010 article in Science Daily reported, “Four out of five children can’t tell when they are talking to an adult posing as a child on the Internet, according to researchers working on software to track pedophiles online.”
-Some of the most trusted names have been in the headlines lately for marketing practices that accumulate private information of kids without parental consent, including McDonald’s and Nickelodeon. This summer, McDonald’s set up a “star in a music video” feature on their site where kids could upload their own photo to be added to a cartoon character. They were then encouraged to share their video with friends and family through email – without the consent of a parent. Kids were sharing names and email addresses with the company in order to share the video. McDonald’s contends they are in compliance with COPPA and that they never collected the contact.
A Message From Our President
Society has an obligation to protect our children and online safety for children should be a priority.
Society has an obligation to protect our children and online safety for children should be a priority. We need a three-pronged approach to address this issue: policy changes; industry self-regulation; and more parental tools, monitoring and education. –Vernon Irvin, President and COO, Virtual World Computing | Huffington Post