When kids go online … where’s mom?
Mary Kay Hoal is a nationally recognized expert in children’s online safety. She is a married mother of five children ranging in age from 7 to 20 years old.
Mary Kay is an accomplished global media professional who took it upon herself to leave a successful career and take action to make safety and privacy a key priority for children online.
Five years ago, Mary Kay’s daughter began showing interest in having a profile on some of the world’s largest social media sites. Mary Kay knew these online networks were created by, and meant for adults, so she said no to her daughter, who was 12 at the time.
Regardless of Mary Kay’s concern, her daughter was a typical 12-year-old and intent on having a profile.
After much debate and disagreement, Mary Kay decided to immerse herself in several online communities in order to understand the draw of social media. After all, she understood that this industry was (and still is) in its infancy, which merited a cautionary approach before giving in to her daughter.
Suffice it to say that after researching a multitude of social networks, Mary Kay found that the same everyday safeguards that exist for children in the physical world simply don’t exist online. In fact, she found that many sites weren’t abiding by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) – a federal law that has been in place for over a decade.
Mary Kay also found that many of these social networks did little to empower children with all the benefits that social media offers: the connectivity, the creativity, the education and the fun.
Instead, she discovered children being exposed to adult-intended content and a free-for-all culture where members aren’t held accountable for their actions and the mistreatment of others is often the status quo. Inspired by families like her own, Mary Kay has dedicated herself to providing solutions for families through her work at Yoursphere Media Inc.
If you have young children who want to participate in a social media experience, check out Yoursphere today.