February 9th marked Safer Internet Day, a vital drive to promote a safer internet for all users, especially young people. For the second year in a row, Microsoft subsidiaries across Europe have been organizing employee volunteering activities for Safer Internet Day 2010. Through local partnerships with NGOs, schools, customers and partners. This year, the volunteering opportunity was extended to UK and Irish MVPs. 55 MVPs were trained with the skills at a side session during the UKIE Open Day in October 2009. Two UK MVPs in particular have been extremely busy since then.
On Feb 9th, UK MVP Mark Wilson educated 11 parents at his son’s school in Olney. The school gave him positive feedback and all the parents found it useful. Mark will repeat this session to engage with a higher number of parents. He has since approached a further 2 schools to cooperate with.
MVP Andy Trish has been busy in Cornwall. Over the last few weeks he presented to 8 schools across the region. He plans to work with another 10 schools in the near future. Requests for his services continue to role in.
On Feb 11th, Trish was interviewed by Pirate FM (Cornwall's radio station) on internet safety. He also recently presented to his local county council.
Trish's presentations are highly appreciated by the attendees. An attendee said, "Amazing presentation, it made me really think and I'm determined to do something about it when I get home."
Another attendee said, "It opened my eyes, I thought I knew it all and actually I knew nothing. Andy really got the point across, it scared me yet gave me the determination to seriously consider online safety for me as well as my children."
Karina Gibson (Consultant Citizenship Manager) from the UK Office added, 'Microsoft takes its commitment to online safety education seriously and tries to provide volunteer speakers in local communities where possible. However due to the main locations of our business we do not have volunteers in every area of the UK. By partnering with our MVP community we have been able to extend the reach of our internet safety awareness education, it is thanks to their dedication to the program that even more parents are able to learn how to safeguard their children online."
Internet safety should be a concern for any parent who has a child on the internet. Clearly the parents who attended these sessions learned valuable lessons. We applaud the efforts of Trish and Wilson to give concerned community members the tools they need to protect children from dangerous internet vulnerabilities.
Story contributors, Vicki Collins and Joe Mirabella