Space2Grow and Vedantu launch a benchmarking report for Online Child Safety in the education space

New Delhi: The massive surge in the adoption of online learning has democratized quality education for students across India. According to UNICEF, globally 1 in 3 children are using the internet. More than we realise, both the vulnerability and safety of children who are consuming online content is an immediate reality to contend with. Therefore, online safety has become an immediate concern for everyone and there is a growing consensus that EdTech companies align to safety ‘norms’ and declare themselves as “Child Safe”.

To actively address this concern, Space2Grow a leading social impact consulting firm working in the area of Women and Child Safety and Vedantu, a pioneer in LIVE online learning, have launched the Online Child Safety Benchmarking Framework, proposing internal standards of benchmarking for EdTech firms and other institutions in the e-learning space, ensuring that their services to all stakeholders, especially children, are safe and standardized.

This framework was a key element of a broader report Online Child Safety: Indian Education Space, Benchmarking Report 2021 that was unveiled at the panel discussion entitled “Investment in Online Safety Children: Need of the Hour” a first of its kind roundtable to discuss the issue of Online Child Safety, its imperatives, and the need of investments in it by various industry players, institutions, and online platforms. This roundtable, hosted by Space2Grow, saw the participation from many business leaders in ed-tech, gaming industry, regulatory bodies, and social impact space – all impacting children.

 

The key experts at the roundtable included Priyank Kanoongo (Chairperson, NCPCR) & Rajnish Kumar (Director, Digital Education, Ministry of Education.), Mr. Sameer Desai (Founder, Kreedana, Game Responsibly), Dr. Eesha Sharma (Asst. Prof Dept of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, NIMHANS, Ms. Anju Wal (Principal, Shiv Nadar School), and Mr. Pulkit Jain (Co-Founder, Vedantu Innovations). The roundtable was moderated by Ms. Chitra Iyer (Founder, Space2Grow) and focused various closely related topics like the existing gaps and that prevent effective safeguarding, sector specific best practices for ensuring children’s safety, and industry specific solutions.

This child safety framework, already adopted companywide by Vedantu, ensures that online learning on the Vedantu’s platforms is safe for millions of students accessing it every day. Further, the report and its findings are designed to understand benchmarking standards and review internal levels of safety for EdTech companies. The framework has been developed keeping in mind such standards and best practices advocated by international organizations, providing comprehensive and robust metrics for assessing standards of digital safety for EdTech platforms.

Mr. Priyank Kanoongo, Chairman, NCPCR, said, “Online safety of children is extremely important, and with children’s access to Internet, this becomes a significant point. We do need standards of safety and compliance within industry and institutions that provide platforms for education, learning and gaming and other relevant platforms.”

“There is growing need for standardised regulations and advisory for Edtech, Gaming, Schools – to make “safety” the front and centre of a child’s learning process. This report and the framework it proposes, offer a ready to use mechanism for various key stakeholders – Ed-tech, learning institutions, regulatory bodies, and many others – to adopt a child safety matrix to their work areas. Maybe as their USP” said Chitra Iyer, Founder, Space2Grow

Commenting on the report, Pulkit Jain, Co-founder & Head of New Initiatives, Vedantu said, “We are humbled to partner with Space2Grow to create awareness on child safety and provide best practices for the EdTech industry. The report provides us a holistic picture on creating international benchmarks for safer online learning spaces. Ensuring child safety as a firm wide commitment, every Edtech platform should incorporate safety rules and regulations for a child to mitigate uncomfortable online situations. As a “Child Safety First” brand, Vedantu is committed to provide a safe learning environment for every child with zero tolerance towards unsavory practices that makes a child uncomfortable while attending any online learning session.”

About The Child Safety Benchmarking Report:

The proposed framework has four major indicators for internal assessment of EdTech companies and includes factors such as:

Accountability – This is focused on the responsibility and accountability the organization undertakes for child protection with commitment from the senior-level management
Reporting and Redressal – It evaluates the presence of the structure of reporting and redressal for the child abuse cases and the service level agreement around those cases
Privacy & Data handling – This assesses the process around the handling of personal information, responsiveness of the information owners, and the ease to access personal information
Digital risks and harms – This focus on the presence of relevant infrastructure to minimize the risk of cyberbullying, cyber abuse on the online platforms and how responsive the platform is in taking an action
The report further focuses on integrating child rights across all levels of an organization and creating interventions to make online child safety a necessity across platforms.

 

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