VIDEO: Kelowna company presses for internet safety for kids
The safety of kids online is the subject of a petition before the House of Commons in Ottawa, and it's a Kelowna woman who's behind it. Janice Taylor, founder of the kid-safe social media platform, Mazu, put it forward. Taylor stopped-in at KelownaNow to tell us about the effort, and the underlying concerns behind it.
Taylor's Privacy and Data Protection Petition petition was approved April 4.
The Mazu creator has been immersed in this topic for a decade and was dismayed to discover Canada has no regulations designed specifically to protect kids online. "And from a parent point of view, I was really stunned. As the tech industry evolves, so must the regulations around children's digital rights and safety," said Taylor. She points out that the average tween spends between 7 and 9 hours a day immersed in social media and she said it's having a very negative impact on mental health. "Anxiety, depression and suicide rates are up," said Taylor.
She argues that regulation can make a difference. "It can create more basic legislation for the big tech companies to behave more appropriately." She said companies are currently free to gather data about our children and sell that data to the highest bidder. "For a parent," she told KelownaNow, "your child's life is for sale."
At the time of our interview, the petition was well on it's way to gaining the 500 signatures necessary to bring it before the House of Commons for consideration. "This isn't really for us to be oppositional to government," said Taylor. "I think all of us, including our government, were really taken away by big-tech and data hoovering."
Mazu has created a video entitled Love A Million to press the point.
The petition for children's privacy & data protection is open for signatures on the House of Commons website until August 2, 2019.
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