The internet can sometimes be a wild and dangerous place, but a new Microsoft pilot program is aiming to make the web healthier and safer for teens. In a recent post to the On the Issues Blog, Jacqueline Beauchere, Microsoft's Chief Online Safety Officer, announced the "Council for Digital Good" program and encouraged U.S based teenagers ages 13-17 to apply now.
Applications for the one-year pilot program which aims to lay the groundwork for a new approach to online interactions are now open, and those who are selected will be invited to the Microsoft Campus in Redmond for a two-day trip in early August. It is explained by Jacqueline:
Today’s youth are tech-savvy, digitally engaged and resourceful, and we at Microsoft are interested in what they’re doing online, who they’re connecting with, and what they’re sharing and learning. In turn, we’re cognizant that being online presents very real risks, and we want to make sure young people appreciate – and have the skills to help mitigate – those risks. That’s why we’re piloting this council: to gain diverse perspectives from youth in the U.S. on the state of online interactions today, as well as their hopes and ideals for what would make online life healthier, safer and more enjoyable.
The application for the program requires some basic information, as well as an essay or video responses to questions about life online, expectations for council experience, and about Microsoft generally. After reviewing applications, 12 to 15 applicants will be selected to join an inaugural council summit at Microsoft's Redmond headquarters. Activities planned for the summit include a small group and full council discussions, a separate “parent track,” interactive sessions with guest speakers, engagement with Microsoft consumer product and service group representatives.
Online applications for the program, which are available here, are open until Wednesday, March 1. Interested applicants can also learn more about the program by visiting this website. You can also learn more about Microsoft's online safety initiatives by going here.