Personal Data Protection & Mobile Security Solutions

Yahoo! The CyberHood Watch Partners | Dave & Bill | Meet Catherine Teitelbaum – Director of Child Safety

by dballard on January 26, 2011

Catherine Teitelbaum Joins Dave & Bill on CHWradio

You could feel Catherine Teitelbaum’s smile, pleasant candor, and passion for connecting children, technology, and education all together. Talk about destiny, and “it was meant to be”…Catherine Teitelbaum meets Yahoo | Yahoo meets Catherine Teitelbaum, and children reap all the benefits, not to mention the rest of us.

Something the CyberHood Watch partners, Dave & Bill, consistently enjoy are the personal stories behind the journeys our guests have taken when they arrive on CHWradio. Catherine shared with us one of those great stories, and it furthers the conviction, Dave & Bill, have that events occur for a purpose; hence, Catherine and Yahoo!

Fifteen years ago was Catherine Teitelbaum’s digital handshake with the Internet. Catherine’s interests focused on middle school education, which was about to change. Yahoo! Now Catherine’s priority is focused the digital safety education of children in today’s digital world. Yahoo provides safety tools, education, and a “green space” a safe place for kids to play called, Yahooligans, later renamed, Yahoo Kids.

I recall the day, thinking how cool it was that Apple had reached a status to represent the private sector in such a public manner. Standing shoulder to shoulder with the Federal Government and wondering what their presence and recognition would do for the computer industry; feeling this was an important moment.

“A school had just received a technology grant and it was one of the first grants that was matched between Apple Computers and the Federal Government, and it mandated that whatever the school spends on buying hardware and software they had to match in spending on teachers training. …Ended up in hiring eight new teachers, and I was fortunate to be one of them”, said Catherine Teitelbaum. Which is the answer to why Catherine felt lucky about her transition from a middle school teacher K-8, and eventually to become the Director of Child Safety and Product Policy for Yahoo!? Talking with Catherine during the interview you could sense how lucky kids were to have been influenced by her.

Imagine being that second grader, introduced early when imagination and technology were first meeting, and spending an afternoon with Bruce Degen, illustrator of Magic School Bus Series. One of those lucky moments, Catherine references earlier, being in the right place at the right time, at least for one child in attendance. Imagine the ripple effect of that chance meeting with, Bruce Degen, as a second grader.

Catherine’s, second graders whether they realized it or not, were experiencing an interaction in education through the future of technology. No one imagined that someday almost every American, (91%) would own a mobile phone and be connected to broadband.

It is important for parents to be aware of his or her child’s digital persona, and develop a safe digital footprint. First, realize your child’s personal life is neither separate nor distinct from their digital life. Unlike individuals, like Catherine, Bill, or me, who already transitioned from the pre-PC and Internet to the digital age, have the benefit of both experiences. Today you own a digital persona at birth. Moreover, today’s children do not have the recall between old memories/experiences of a pre-digital age, so their digital persona is their reality.

The challenge is how we empower our children to balance technology with reality and to appreciate the human connection with every text. How do we teach our children to appreciate and distinguish the reality of the friend they walk to school with, sit with in the cafeteria to have lunch, and the digital friend.

Help our children understand the permanency, the forever and ever and ever reality that everything posted to the Internet will always be there. There is no do-over. Imagine your grandchild sitting on your lap asking, “Grandma is that really you on YouTube? Was your Mom and Dad mad?” Imagine this scenario, “Don’t yell at me, I saw what you did when you were my age, and all my friends have seen it too. You are such a hypocrite!”  How do we get our kids to understand, what we see today what will be seen tomorrow?

Hey kids, “You are publishing your life story for everyone and anyone to see”.

It is ironic when you think that kids will set up a second and third account to avoid Mom & Dad finding out about what they say and do…Go figure! LOL

Want to know…What to do? Be a parent, stop being technophobic, it is not rocket science. Here is one great suggestion, ask your children to help with setting up your Facebook account. Ask about, security settings and what they mean. It will be a great opportunity for you to inject some parental wisdom, life experiences, decision making, consequences, even if it was from the school of hard-knocks. The worst is you begin a dialogue that can continue for years.

Yahoo is now launched in fourteen languages and in twenty-nine countries with more than 600 million users. Communication & Awareness are key concepts put into practice by Yahoo! Yahoo presents information and makes it available at the point of decision making whether it is password information, creating settings for your profile, or providing information how to use your tools well.

Let us give another shout out to the 71% of Dad’s involved in the safety of his son or daughter’s digital safety. In a recent survey of Yahoo, it was a pleasant discovery that more dads are taking an active role making sure his kids are safe and secure online. Do searches, enter your child’s name in the search engine, and look through the results to see if there are any concerns or discrepancies. Looks like the dads are the digital housekeepers.

The Yahoo survey indicates a positive influence for those caretakers who shoulder the goal to empower the digital age, and make a difference in promoting best practices for our children’s safe digital lives.

“The best advice I can give is that parents apply their good parenting skills, trust their intuition, ask questions, check-in, and provide guidance. These are all things parents do on a daily basis”, said Catherine. “It is a privilege, not a right”, Catherine continued.

Catherine shared one of the more frequent questions asked of her, “What age is appropriate for a child to have a mobile and/or smart phone?” What do you think? Leave a comment below, we would like you to share your thoughts.

At the very beginning of the post, I commented on Catherine’s delightful demeanor. It was not until the end of the interview that Catherine statement reinforced what I felt earlier…”I am an optimist.”

The future of the digital age belongs to our children…Or does the future of our children belong to the digital age?

Your CyberHood Watch Partner

david c ballard

Radio Security Journalist

Listen to the entire interview here:

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