Cisco launches book on internet safety for kids

Surf's Up is a read for parents who would like to know more about managing screen time 

Cisco launches book on internet safety for kids
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CELEBRATING THE INTERNET may not be something that you hear about every day, but that’s exactly what technology company Cisco did at its Cisco Connect: Say Hello to the Future event last month.

Cisco’s celebration of 30 years of the World Wide Web, however, also included something of great importance to families in the region. As part of its commitment to ensuring a safer internet for all, the company collaborated with noted tech columnist Tamara Clarke to launch a children’s book – The Super Surfer.

Following the journey of a five-year-old boy named Wally who loves surfing, both at the beach and online, the book showcases how he learns to address everything from pop-ups and cyberbullying, to rules for sharing personal information.

“I’m a tech blogger, and in the past I’ve ran contests on my blog. Whenever a device like a smartphone or tablet was being given away as a prize, the response would be overwhelming. So, I thought giving away a year-long subscription of antivirus software would be equally successful. I was wrong,” says Clarke.

“I reflected on that experience and realised that, if adults weren’t keen on safety measures for themselves, it was unlikely that they were using them for their kids. Recognising my own struggles as a parent to manage things like screen time and access to content, I noticed a void in the marketplace,” she adds.

From potty training to riding a bicycle, there are resources available that help parents teach their kids useful skills, but there aren’t that many for managing little ones and electronic devices – and that’s how Clarke got the idea for the book.

“I knew that a picture book on internet safety for kids aged three to seven was needed because they’re receiving their first devices at a young age. Furthermore, I knew that the messaging in this book was so important that it needed to be spread quickly and widely, and I couldn’t do that alone,” explains Clarke.

“Cisco conducts annual research around this topic and the organisation shared my enthusiasm to lead the conversation on internet safety for young kids, so this partnership was a natural fit,” she adds.

Cisco’s Managing Director, East Region Shukri Eid’s vision was to bring more awareness to a wider audience of the fact that the youth of today are always connected.

“We want to ensure that The Super Surfer becomes a true movement towards championing internet safety. In order to do so, we’re looking at where kids socialise and learn, rather than strictly what their parents tend to visit,” says Eid.

“We will be partnering with at least two schools in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, donating copies of The Super Surfer so that we can truly make an impact. We’re also exploring interest within the school community to donate digital copies to a range of libraries and are open to considering other avenues,” he adds.

Clarke believes that the number one challenge for parents who would like to regulate internet usage among their kids is not knowing where to start.

“The Super Surfer is meant to help with that. It’s the ultimate conversation starter for parents who want to tackle this subject, but don’t know how. I hope they choose to read The Super Surfer to their kids,” Clarke adds.

Her advice for parents: detox. “I’ve had to do this with my own kids. I banned access to devices for an entire week. They were disappointed, and it wasn’t easy to manage at first, but by the third day they had stopped asking for their tablets. This helped us break bad habits and start afresh.”
A reset on bad surfing habits? Sounds good to us.
For more on The Super Surfer, cisco.com.

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