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Free Delaware summit will teach kids (and their parents) how to safely use emerging tech

Bans won’t stop teens from using social media — but the Safe Screens Summit can help teach them how to navigate the digital world.

Are your kids safe in their digital worlds? (Pexels/Julia M. Cameron)
Kids need to learn about new, quickly evolving and emerging tech. But first, they need to learn how to be safe.

Delaware children can do so at the first Safe Screens Summit, presented by Emerging Teens and DETV and sponsored by Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long. The convening takes place on Thursday, March 21 at 6 p.m. and kicks off a series of free tech webinars for youth at Wilmington University (WilmU).

A professional stands confidently in a modern interior, arms crossed, with a warm smile.

Thaïs Greca (Courtesy)

Thaïs Greca launched the nonprofit Emerging Teens in January, after making it to the finals of Reinventing Delaware with a proposal for exposing kids to emerging technologies. The idea was to partner with companies like Amazon and Microsoft to give kids hands-on experiences that could help launch them into tech careers. The goal was to go beyond coding into newer skills like auditing code that AI creates.

Greca, a mom of two school-aged children, couldn’t wait to get kids learning and creating. Then she paused and took a step back: If kids were going to learn how to build a virtual reality room, for example, shouldn’t they first learn how to identify if someone in a virtual reality room is unsafe and how to deal with it?

She formed partnerships with DETV and Bark, the Atlanta-based company that gives parents control over monitoring how their children use and consume digital media, and created the Safe Screens Summit. The free event will include a panel discussion with the executive directors of the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children, Prevent Child Abuse Delaware and the Wilmington University Criminal Justice Institute.

As much as the event will benefit teens, it will be just as helpful for parents, who may think they know more about what they’re kids are up to online.

The current “TikTok ban” legislation going through Congress right now is exposing that gap.

“People are like, ‘OK good, it will get my kids off TikTok,’” Greca told Technical.ly. “That’s not what’s going to happen. Kids are going to get a global VPN and still watch TikTok.”

Those who don’t use a VPN, short for “virtual private network,” may be susceptible to migrating to other alternative platforms that expose them to new risks if TikTok is banned in the US.

Another of the real dangers kids face online is that parents, in many cases, don’t realize the level at which their kids are interacting with other people online. For instance, Greca has talked to parents who didn’t know their kids were playing with real people in Roblox or when they put on their Playstation headset.

In addition, cyberbullying is rampant, and harmful body image issues can be implanted in kids at a young age.

“They do not want to post a picture without a filter,” Greco said. “So it’s like, are you talking to your girls about that? Why don’t they want to post their face without a filter?”

After the Safety Summit, kids can sign up for a free Saturday “Safe Phone, Safe Kids” workshop at a WilmU campus in New Castle, Brandywine or Dover. Through this program, they can earn a “Safe Screen Permit” that will allow them to pick and choose in-person Saturday emerging tech workshops with industry leaders in fields like AI and XR.

In the “Safe Phone, Safe Kids” workshop, which includes lunch, students will learn:

  • Digital Citizenship
  • Cyberbullying Awareness
  • Privacy Matters
  • Safe Communication
  • App and Game Safety
  • Cybersecurity Basics

The Safe Screens Summit will take place at DETV’s downtown Wilmington studio from 6 to 8 p.m.

Register for the summit and safety workshop

Promotional poster for the Safe Screens Summit featuring speakers and sponsors with event details.

A promotional flyer for the Safe Screens Summit. (Courtesy)

Companies: Wilmington University
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