For the past two years, No Bully has been creating the Power of Zero, a campaign to reshape early learning for a connected world. It will provide early educators and families with the books and learning materials they need to prepare children starting at age zero for the technology and connectivity they will experience in their lives. We launched last Monday at the UNICEF offices in New York City.
The campaign addresses this urgent question. We now have one billion children on this planet under the age of eight growing up in a world shaped by technology. In more developed cities and regions almost every child has their own device by the time they are eight – and are spending up to three hours a day online. Almost none of them is being taught the skills and values they need to use the power of the Internet well.
This is deeply concerning to those of us who work for children and their well-being. Because we see what happens if we don’t teach young children the broad set of life skills and values that are needed for an interconnected world. We have a generation growing up sorely unequipped to deal with:
- The fake news and the deception that is practiced online
- The culture of intolerance and violence that they see from their early years on gaming and video sites
- What to do when people online attack their friends and when they become the target of online bullying.
At a macro level, we are losing an opportunity. The potential of the Internet for the next generation is for connection and creativity, yet this is buried under the roar of the billions of online transactions that take place each day. Children and adolescents need us to come together to make the Internet a space that delivers on the promise of the Internet for connectedness, creativity, and inclusion.
Power of Zero is a collaborative initiative that reaches across geographies, cultures and institutions. Founding members include UNESCO, Hasbro, Microsoft, Facebook, and AT&T. What unites us is our shared commitment to giving young children the skills and values they need to thrive in a connected world. Our goal over the next year is to create big books, games and learning materials that teachers and parents can use to teach all twelve powers of zero.
Starting later this year you will see the globalization and localization of this campaign. We launched in Singapore on the same day as New York and we will extend from there across South East Asia. We are working with regional partners to bring this campaign to South America, Africa, and Europe.
To learn more
- The Power of Zero website ·
- Last week’s panel discussion in New York with thought leaders from around the world on the urgent question of the risks and opportunities that young children are exposed to by their increasing use of technology. · The Power of Kindness. Learning materials for young children (5-8) can be downloaded free here.