Digital Citizens Launches Its Mission to Make the Internet Safer
Anyone who uses the Internet knows that, as much as it is essential to our lives, it is becoming an increasingly risky place, for all of us, but especially for seniors and children. According to research conducted by Hart Research Associates in 2012, many Americans have firsthand knowledge of how dangerous the Internet can be:
- One in 3 Americans said they or someone they know has been a victim of an online scam.
- One in 8 Americans report that they or someone they know purchased a false or counterfeit product over the Internet, such as medicines or merchandise or a product or software that turned out to be fake and not what was promised.
We can only combat this problem with knowledge, and by joining together to demand better solutions from our government and Internet companies. That’s why the Digital Citizens Alliance was launched—to give a real voice to the victims of Internet crime and to help us make real progress toward a safer Internet for everyone.
Think of what promotes safety in the real world. A vigilant community. Quick and accurate information about possible dangers. Laws, leadership, and accountability. Digital Citizens is trying to apply the same principles to online safety, and—just like a real-world community—each of us must do our part to make the online community better and safer.
We aim to promote education about the threats people face online and ask policymakers to help us implement measures that will protect Internet users from scams, theft, counterfeits, fraud, and predation.
Some may assume that such an effort isn’t necessary. Everyone knows not to click on suspicious links or give out their personal information, right? Well, not everyone, especially children and people new to the Internet, such as seniors. Moreover, the scams and the tools available to criminals are changing all the time.
Policy makers also need to be educated on these issues. The government can help crack down on criminals, but only if the people give them the power and the mandate to do so. From City Hall to Capitol Hill or the Statehouse to the White House, everyone has a role to play, and our elected leaders must develop the laws and policies that will help ensure online safety without unnecessarily limiting the many ways the Internet benefits our society. That’s no small challenge.
Digital Citizens strongly believes that finding the right solutions requires the active participation of all Internet stakeholders – individuals, governments, and industry – to make the Internet safer. By working together, we can ensure the threats we face are addressed in a cooperative fashion.