Microsoft recently put together a group called the Council for Digital Good - a council of 9 young women and 6 young men designed to work with Microsoft to help shape the future of digital civility. The council is tasked with the important job of giving some much-needed perspective to technology professionals working to make the world a better, and safer place to be.
Here are some quotes that Microsoft laid out through a blog post today - they'll help you get an idea of just who is behind the council, and what they think the big problems are.
- The “concept of respect often seems to be forgotten as soon as we are ‘concealed’ by a screen,” says Christina, 15. “We’re not actually hidden, though; in reality, there are still consequences for all of our actions.”
- Katherine, 16, agrees, adding that she expects the council experience to be an eye-opening one for herself and her peers. “Amongst the sea of information, posts, messages and videos, we tend to lose our own identities and hide behind the screen.”
- “I really want to understand perspectives (of the other council members) and use the information to reformulate my own views,” says Jacob, 14. “I hope council members can contribute to the discussions in a way that helps form a positive impact on life online and online interactions.”
- Jazmine, 13, is excited that her community recently launched a digital inclusion plan to eliminate the digital divide. “This is great news … but with access comes the need for more education to ensure that youth, like me, understand their digital responsibilities and how to use the internet and the wealth of accessible information, for good … (With) more access, awareness becomes essential.”
- Isabella, 12, recounts a related incident where technology was misused at her school. Officials responded with a class dedicated to digital citizenship. As students, she says, “we were never taught to be safe on the internet. We had no guidance on what to do or how to act online, which is one of the reasons technology was being mistreated. If we had informed our students before, this incident could have never happened. This made me realize the importance of online safety and what a difference it could make.”
- Indigo, 13, noted near-ubiquitous internet access. “I want to contribute to making the online world a safe place for kids and teens … Almost every kid today, even toddlers and babies, have access to the internet. I know from experience that bad things happen” online.
Microsoft plans to work with this council to "grow a kinder, more empathetic and respectful online world," and try to dissuade some of the more toxic individuals that make up online communities. Whether or not they can truly have any meaningful impact on a social climate that so naturally tempts these kinds of people is yet to be seen, but it's a solid effort.
You can check in with the Council for Digital Good right here, as they intend to be updating the public with their progress towards making a safer online world. Otherwise, you can check them out on Twitter with the hashtag #CouncilforDigitalGood.