Global Kids' Response to the FCC's Broadband Plan for Children and Families

This is a statement from the founder and executive director of Global Kids, Ms. Carole Artigiani:

On behalf of Global Kids, a twenty-year-old youth development organization based in New York City, I applaud Julius Genachowski, Chair of the Federal Communications Commission, for his recent address on “Digital Opportunity: A Broadband Plan for Children and Families.” While there are reasons to be concerned, we agree with the Chairman that digital technology and online spaces present tremendous opportunities to educate young people, connect them with the wider world, and develop the knowledge, values, and skills necessary to be engaged citizens. We see internet access as a first step in educating and supporting the next generation as they prepare for life and work in the 21st century.

We agree that the FCC's priorities of digital access, digital literacy, digital citizenship and digital safety are a good framework for approaching a national broadband strategy that benefits young people. Global Kids, through our Online Leadership Program, is doing its part through innovative and cutting-edge programming in all of these areas:

  • Digital Access: The Global Kids headquarters in downtown Manhattan offers open and unfiltered broadband internet access for youth participating in our programs. Most of our young participants do not have regular access to broadband internet in their homes and typically have limited access in their schools.
  • Digital Literacy: Global Kids' Digital Expressions program teaches young people how to become savvy consumers and facile creators of online content, from researching and writing entries on Wikipedia and to creating customized Google Maps. Their Digital Portfolios and Transcripts, which they create themselves, serve as useful tools as they apply to college and enter the workforce.
  • Digital Citizenship: Along with our ongoing face-to-face programs at schools and other venues, Global Kids has several digital media programs that enable young people to express their (informed) opinions and support issues of particular concern. Our Playing 4 Keeps program empowers teens to create online games on serious issues that they then share with their peers. Our Virtual Video Project supports young people to become digital filmmakers, creating short "machinima" films on serious subjects of their choice.
  • Digital Safety: For 20 years, Global Kids has supported young people in becoming engaged with the wider world in ways that are safe and empowering. Our online programs are no exception, with a strong emphasis on helping youth understand how to safely represent themselves online, engage in online discussions, and share their creations with the world.

Chairman Genachowski’s vision can be realized only with the participation of all sectors of society -- from government and schools to NGO’s and the for-profit sector. He notes that such companies as Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and AT&T have been supporting programs on online safety. Promoting online safety is admirable and necessary as we expand access to technology across all sectors and in all regions. Equally important is support for educational (and fun) programs that develop critical 21st century knowledge and skills and promote effective citizenship in our own communities and on the global stage.

For more information on Global Kids see http://s13911.gridserver.com.