Microsoft Helping Empower Families to Promote Online Safety
The potential for children to access unsuitable content on the Internet or to come in contact with online predators is real. Microsoft is leveraging its unique position to help address the issue, working across its technology platforms, online services and educational initiatives to help empower consumers to better protect their families and children online.
Microsoft has worked closely with government, consumer, industry, police and charitable organizations to help further educate people about ways to stay safe online and has provided safety information on a number of websites to ensure easy access.
- GetNetWise (www.getnetwise.org) - In 1999, several leading technology companies, including AOL, AT&T, and Microsoft joined forces to establish GetNetWise, an online industry resource for parents and caregivers. A testament to its value, this site has been visited by millions of users and, in 2003, was re-launched to provide greater resources and information. Microsoft provides a link to the GetNetWise website from http://www.msn.com.
- MSN Stay Safe Online/Cyber Safe Cities (http://www.staysafeonline.com) - MSN's informational website for families and communities looking to help keep children and communities safer on the Internet, providing expert guidance from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and others.
- StaySafeOnline program for kids (http://www.staysafeonline.com/default2.htm) - An easy, kid-friendly guide to the Internet developed by Microsoft and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
- Trustworthy Computing homepage (http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/innovation/twc/) - An in-depth look at Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing initiative, providing information and resources on technology and the issues of security, privacy, reliability and business integrity.
- Regional MSN online safety sites (such as http://www.onlinesafety.msn.co.uk) - Additional tailored websites in 20 countries, providing links to relevant local organizations, initiatives and hotlines.
Technological Tools and Parental Controls
Microsoft is also helping provide technological tools to help parents better manage their child's personal information and play a more active role in determining the content their child may access.
- Content Advisor - By enabling the Content Advisor feature in Internet Explorer, users can control the types of content that their computers can access, based on the RSACi Internet ratings system and the Internet Content Rating Association (of which Microsoft is a founding member).
- P3P - Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser also supports the Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P), helping empower users with the tools they need to control their privacy preferences online.
- MSN Service Offerings - MSN's Communities offer permanent category ratings for 'adult' and 'mature' communities that prohibit entry by Kids Passport users and help ensure adult content remains adult. MSN's Chat service also provides a help button to report users inappropriately interacting with children and a guide to help families decide how to handle "abusive" chatters.
- XBOX - With the password-protected "lockout" feature in Xbox, parents can configure the console to play only games and DVD movies with the appropriate rating for their family. Microsoft also requires that all games created for Xbox be rated by the appropriate local game rating board, thereby providing consumers with information about the content and appropriate age level. In the US, the parental lockout feature for DVDs is synchronized with the US film industry ratings system. Several companies, including Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft are also cooperating with European authorities to develop a European-wide rating system.
On behalf of the technology industry, Microsoft is committed to working with interested bodies and governments to address this issue and will continue to invest in research and development for the advancement of technologies that protect children online. Through broad cooperation, we can enhance child protection while encouraging the use of the internet and the growth of the industry.