First Lady: cyberbullying a top priority

Local News

Eyewitness News has teamed up with the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office and the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation (EVSC) to help make parents aware of the dangers their children face online. Thursday night, Eyewitness News is looking into what the nation’s largest Internet companies are doing to protect kids online. First Lady Melania Trump is asking they do more and says improving cybersafety is her office’s top priority.  

First Lady Melania Trump sat down with executives from Internet giants Google, Facebook and Twitter to urge them to do more to protect kids online.

Mrs. Trump wants tech companies to improve anti-cyberbullying efforts.

Among the ideas discussed were adding more parental controls and kicking harassers offline.

Last month, President Donald Trump suggested that the Internet is contributing to violence in America’s schools.

“We have to look at the Internet because a lot of bad things are happening to young kids and young minds and their minds are being formed,” said President Trump.

Since the 2016 election, Mrs. Trump has promised cyberbullying would be her top priority.

Critics have argued she should focus her effort closer to home. In 2016, singer and anti-bullying activist Lady Gaga blasted the idea.

“To say you will stand for ‘anti-bullying’ is hypocrisy. Your husband is one of the most notorious bullies we have ever witnessed,” said Lady Gaga.

Internet safety advocates said that, putting politics aside, new anti-bullying efforts are essential.

Steven Balkam is the CEO of the nonprofit Family Online Safety Institute. His group researches ways to help protect kids online.

“In our own research, we found that teens were more likely to set privacy settings than their own parents,” said Balkam.

Balkan said this is proof parents need more help.

He’s hopeful the First Lady’s spotlight will eventually show parents their options.

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(This story was originally published on March 22, 2018)

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