Microsoft’s Council for Digital Good has penned an open letter to U.S lawmakers calling for the promotion of ‘digital civility’. The board is calling for modern laws that address cyberbullying and sextortion, as well as increased education.
The council consists of 15 teens from across the U.S. who were selected for their experiences with online harassment and other risks. The council presented the letter at Microsoft’s Innovation and Policy Center in D.C., where it was seen by leaders of tech companies like Snap Inc. and organizations like UNICEF.
“As young people who have encountered some of these problems firsthand, our goal as the Council for Digital Good is to provide strategies, solutions and resources for other young people in these situations,” it reads. “For our sake and for that of future generations, it is imperative that we amplify discussions about making the internet a more productive, civil, and safe place.”
Melania Trump and Youth Voice
The teens also met with first lady Melania Trump, who is said to have listened to the concerns of each individual member and their 15 online safety tenents. The letter provides a roadmap for policymakers while also adding that digital civility needs to be prioritized in schools.
For Microsoft, it’s valuable PR, but it also highlights the need for the youth to have a say in the ways technology develops.
“The program underscores the importance of the youth voice and the need for young people to have a say in policy matters – be they governmental or corporate – that affect them,” said Microsoft chief online safety officer Jaqueline Beauchere. “We shared a lot and we’ve learned even more from these youth. I’m planning a more reflective account of the full program soon.”