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In My Own Words: Why Yahoo! is Making a Big Difference to Kids’ Online Safety

Posted: 30th of November, 2011


As the regional director of public policy in APAC, I have many conversations with regulators on best practices in the Internet space. During these conversations, I am always proud to profile the leadership that Yahoo plays in the area of Internet safety and the websites we have launched around the world.  As a team, there are many of us working hard on this and the results in APAC are world-class.

One of the most important projects that has happened this year was the launch of Yahoo Safely in Vietnam, to promote online safety among children and young people in Vietnam. The launch roped in Vietnamese celebrity Ha Anh (also Unicef’s local Ambassador) and up-and-coming local boy-band “365” as Yahoo Ambassadors to help spread the word. Leveraging the Yahoo! Safely website and plans to extend to offline activities such as a “train-the-trainer” programme, road shows and school visits, the initiative is the first of its kind in Vietnam.

Yahoo! is the first Internet company to establish a presence in Vietnam when it entered the market in 2007 and enjoys a very positive brand image. The launch of Safely in Vietnam, to me, was testament to Yahoo!’s commitment and responsibility to the market. Vietnam is a burgeoning new-to-net market brimming with huge potential and business opportunities – and everyone wants a slice.  31% of the population is currently online, and Vietnam has experienced the fastest growth in Internet in the region in the last 10 years. Yet, online safety is largely overlooked.

While online safety is important all across the world, it is critical in emerging markets in Asia as the majority of new users are youth aged 15 and above, where the Internet is an uncharted landscape, not just to them, but to their parents and educators.

Yahoo! has robust online safety programs in every major market. Above Yahoo Safely which has been launched is in most markets, there are also online safety initiatives in the region outside the umbrella that push strong similarly strong agendas.

In India, the online safety programme led by colleagues from Yahoo India comes under Learn with Yahoo!, an initiative to educate users about the Internet, and like Vietnam, targets new-to-net users. In Taiwan, a mature market where Yahoo enjoys a 98% reach, the Internet Security Program for Children aims to educate users as early as elementary school.

Reaching out in India

India’s online safety program kicked into high gear when its school program, upon travelling to 27 schools in Delhi last year, found that while 98% of this school’s growing audience knew about the Internet and considered it a destination for learning, fun and entertainment, net safety was not a feature on the kids’ radar. Awareness about Internet safety was virtually non-existent.

This insight shaped a new focus for the team, who took the safety message outside of the original program framework. Harnessing the reach and popularity of animated cartoon characters, Yahoo India aired vignettes on Internet safety on kids’ channels such as Cartoon Network and Pogo, with the characters sharing tips, along with an interactive quiz on TV through SMS, to effectively get the message across to kids and parents.

Now, Yahoo India reaches 82% of the Internet audience in India and is a market where users are growing exponentially. Today, above leveraging kids channels and school programs, Internet safety tips are shared across 2,500 Internet cafés in 50+ Indian cities, helping a brand new audience make smarter, safer choices online.

Keeping Kids Safe Online in Taiwan

In Taiwan, Yahoo!Kimo’s partnership with the government and academy brought to bear its Internet Safety Program for Children in 2009. It is estimated that 1.6 million Taiwanese children under 12 use the Internet. The project addressed kids aged 12-14 and touched on three main areas: managing time spent online, befriending strangers on the Internet and giving out too much personal information.

The campaign started in Taipei with camps, blogs, online material and an ambassador programme, and extended islandwide the following year. Materials were developed for classroom use, and Yahoo!Kimo travelled to 2,650 elementary schools across the country to spread the message.
This year, teen idols were invited to speak on the program together with the launch of fun videos and competition. And the kids noticed – making over 100,000 downloads of the material. Yahoo Kimo’s efforts have seen them win the Taiwan PR Awards- Corporate Social Responsibility Campaign of the Year, and  the Outstanding Award – Education, in the annual CSR awards presented by Global Views, a leading current affairs publication in Taiwan.

And the online safety push isn’t over in Vietnam. In July, the PC for Life campaign, in partnership with Dell and Intel, saw 2,000 youth journeying across the country on foot to spread the word on internet safety, and educating villagers along the way on how to use the Internet. The Yahoo Safely partnership with Unicef also saw an MOU signed, partnering on various children issues.

To say the least, I’m very proud to be working for a company which understands the need to better the community it serves.

Kuek Yu-Chuang,
Yahoo! APAC’s regional director of public policy


Yahoo! Safely around the world - click the link for your region to learn more:
Argentina : Asia : Australia : Brasil : Canada : Chile : Colombia : DeutschlandEspaña : France : 香港 : India : Indonesia : Italia : Malaysia : Méxicoالشرق الأوسط وإفريقيا : New ZealandPerú : Philippines : Québec : Singapore한국台灣ประเทศไทย : United Kingdom : United Statesen Español : VenezuelaViệt Nam