Groundbreaking Global Effort to Better Prepare Young Children for Connecting Online Launches at UNICEF in New York

Power of Zero, a global campaign led by No Bully to reshape early learning for a connected world, launched the first in its series of learning materials developed by Scholastic for young children (ages 5 to 8) at an event at UNICEF’s UN Plaza headquarters on Monday, March 11, 2019.

The campaign, pioneered by the San Francisco-based nonprofit No Bully, is an initiative two years in the making by founding global partners UNESCO, Hasbro, Microsoft, AT&T, the United Nations, and Facebook. Power of Zero is the first global collaborative campaign to address the new reality that young children have access to digital devices like smartphones and tablets from their earliest years.

“Online safety is an important issue for everyone and for children it is paramount,” said Antigone Davis, Global Head of Safety at Facebook. “Power of Zero sets young children up with the tools they need to connect safely, respectfully, and compassionately, whether it’s on Facebook or another platform.”

Infants (0 to 2) average 42 minutes a day of screen time. Young children (2 to 7) average 2 hrs 19 minutes. A recent study conducted by AT&T and No Bully in New York City showed that 84% of kids ages 3 to 7 years old now have their own internet device.

“Parents and caregivers visit our stores every day and the issue of online safety is a real concern for them,” said Neil Giacobbi, associate vice president for Corporate Social Responsibility, AT&T. “The philosophy and resources behind Power of Zero can help families navigate this new and ever-changing online world.”

“The line between online and offline life is becoming increasingly blurred; yet, we continue to prepare children as if they were functioning in separate worlds,” said Jacqueline Beauchere, Chief Online Safety Officer at Microsoft. “We can’t teach young people about technology independent from core values like compassion, respect, resilience, and inclusivity—the hallmarks of ‘digital civility.’ Connecting these early and often is critical to minimizing online bullying, violence, and hate.”

Power of Zero has developed learning materials for families and educators of children ages 0 to 8, including classroom lesson plans, story books, animated videos and more, in collaboration with Scholastic. The materials launched today focus on how kindness is important online as well as offline and will be piloted in classrooms nationwide. Early feedback from teachers about the resources is positive: Amy H, a pre-K teacher from Indiana who incorporated the content into her classroom, said “Kindness is a major theme that runs through our pre-K curriculum. I was happy to find a lesson that begins to address kindness in the digital age with students this young.”

Power of Zero is building an ambitious set of learning materials that will teach young children all twelve “Powers for Good,” which are the core abilities, such as inclusivity, critical understanding, respect, and creativity, that every child needs for success in school and life in this digital age.

“We don’t let kids bike down the street before teaching them how to ride. But many children are finding themselves on the busy highways of the internet without any guidance on where to go and how to treat others,” said Nicholas Carlisle, Founder, and President of No Bully. “Our mission with Power of Zero is to work with parents, early educators, caretakers, as well as the private and public sectors to make sure children are well-prepared to thrive in today’s interconnected world.”

Power of Zero arose out of in-depth research that shows it is never too early to start talking to kids about how to connect well in any environment. By starting at age zero, educators and families will be able to link core social and emotional learning and life skills with today’s interconnected and digital world.

“There are a lot of great and much-needed efforts to reduce bullying in school and online,” said Karen Davis, Senior Vice President of Global Philanthropy and Social Impact at Hasbro. “But what we need to do is stop it before it starts, and these resources do that by reinforcing the importance of kindness both online and offline.”

Monday’s launch event at the UNICEF House – Danny Kaye Visitors Centre featured speakers Antigone Davis, Global Head of Safety from Facebook, Karen Davis, SVP of Global Philanthropy & Social Impact at Hasbro, Jacqueline Beauchere, Chief Online Safety Officer at Microsoft, Unicef Senior Representative from Child protection and Neil Giacobbi, Associate Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at AT&T in conversation about this critical question: How do we live up to the promise of a connected, inclusive and empowering internet and ensure that the world’s greatest resource, its children, thrive in a digital world? The campaign’s global reach was a core focus, as voices from across the world were featured in the campaign’s introductory video.

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