Facebook, MacArthur Foundation, Mozilla, FOSI Team Up On Project:Connect Initiative Aimed At Safer Internet For Youths

By David Cohen 

Facebook, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Mozilla, and the Family Online Safety Institute will team up on Project:Connect, an all-day hackathon in New York Thursday, May 9, aimed at developing social tools, applications, badges, and curriculum to aid younger Internet users in making more responsible choices.

Programmers, designers, and educators will team up to compete for prizes in the following areas:

  • Social Tools for Social Good: Enabling people to create a culture of kindness and respect that enhances civic participation.
  • Social Tools that Enable Control of Information: Helping people understand how to control their information and manage privacy and security.
  • Social Tools that Enable Literacy: Helping people build, access, and understand or make components of the Web.

The winners will receive monetary awards, and the tools they produce will be featured on A Platform for Good, which was launched by FOSI last September as an online resource for parents, teachers, and teens.

Project:Connect does not stop with the hackathon, however: A series of events will be held at museums and libraries throughout the U.S. this summer for youths and their families to learn new skills related to digital literacy and civic engagement.

Facebook Vice President for Global Public Policy Marne Levine said:

We’re thrilled to partner with the MacArthur Foundation, Mozilla, and FOSI to promote innovative solutions that can help parents, teachers, and teens connect and share safely and do good online. By encouraging digital literacy and responsible online behavior, we can enable teens to use technology as a vehicle for opportunity, learning, and social change.

MacArthur Foundation Director of Education Connie Yowell added:

Supporting healthy online communities is a top priority for MacArthur. Research shows us that the Internet has become a place where young people are learning and growing. The online world is rapidly becoming a hub for civic activity and lifelong learning, and we need to give youth the tools they need to become engaged and responsible digital citizens.

Mozilla Executive Director Mark Surman added:

The beauty of the Web is that when you want to make it better, you don’t have to sit back and wait for someone to fix it for you. You can build it yourself. We’re thrilled to come together with such great partners to help people make the Web what they want it to be.

And FOSI CEO Stephen Balkam said:

This hackathon is a great way to highlight the best new thinking around digital citizenship, and we are excited to host some of the winners on A Platform for Good. Events like this allow for collaboration on some of today’s biggest challenges and show how technology can be used to do great things.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.