Teenangels.org - Official Blog

Friday, June 25, 2004

Teenangels Breaking News - San Francisco Update

During the second week of June 2004, I had the unique opportunity of attending and speaking at the IAPP/Trust E Privacy Futures Conference. The guest list included the Chief Privacy Officers of all the major technology companies i.e. Microsoft, Oracle, AOL, Proctor & Gamble, and Google, as well as members of the FTC. Some of California’ s Congressional Representatives were there too! I spoke on the plenary (main) panel with Parry, Brian, Pat, Emma, and Joey (our newest Teenangel!).

We talked to these adults, some of the most powerful in the business, about what kids and teens REALLY think when it comes to privacy. We explained to them that above all we want RESPECT. We don’t want to be tricked or deceived. We want what happens to our information to be OUR choice. In other words, we should be told exactly what the sites will be doing with our information and have the option of allowing it or not.

We ARE willing to give our information to a site, as long as it won’t be linked to personally identifiable information; either way, we want to know and be able to choose what is done with it. Teens and kids are particularly inclined to offer information if we trust the site, and if the site offers us something that interests us. Surprising to many adults, including Parry, the teens and kids we surveyed actually trusted Microsoft more than anyone, Google and Disney included! Furthermore, we don’t usually fall for gimmicks. In other words, if sites are offering us something, it better be something we actually want, but also something that does not sound too good to be true.

The Conference attendees loved us! They found the teen perspective very useful and intelligently formed. At the end of our presentation I solicited help from the audience. I told them our goals, including completing and distributing safety, privacy, and training videos, forming more Teenangels chapters, and spreading the word through our site, brochures, manuals, and activity books.

I also mentioned our long-time goal of a Teenangels conference. Guess what?! By the end of the presentation, Microsoft, Oracle, and others had already begun to plan our conference! It’s all in the works now and you will get more details later, but so far, the conference will take place NEXT AUGUST, on Puget Sound (Seattle area). It will last about 3 days and about 300 teens from across the country will be specially selected to attend. We are going to teach them how to be Teenangels all at once, by bringing in all of the experts in security, privacy, and safety to train them. While there will be an underlying safety focus, and plenary panels that all will have to attend, the teens will be able to choose what specific track they’d like to follow, i.e. privacy, techie stuff (like hacking etc.), or content. Through SMS texting, Internet polling, and live video of the conference available on the Internet, hundreds of teens will learn from this conference, even if they aren’t physically there.

Others at the privacy conference also showed interest in linking our site to theirs, sponsoring Teenangels chapters in their towns, funding the videos and more. It was a great success! After working for the past 6 years on something you believe in, it’s so rewarding to see others take a strong interest in it and want to help. That was probably one of the best days of my life so far…

So as you can see, Teenangels is ready to take flight. We are the experts! And we have an audience, the world, ready to hear what we have to say. Blog, talk to your friends about being Teenangels, and get excited about being a Teenangel. You have no idea just how impressive that is and will continue to be. Thanks for everything you have done and will continue to do.

So who is ready to help?


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