Tim (14) took months to develop a romantic relationship online. When he finally sent a "nude" upon request, he received an instant message: "Get your dad's credit card, or I will send this to everyone you know." When we heard Tim's (14) story, we were heartbroken.
Tim is just one of 18,000 victims who reported falling victim to sextortion in 2021 in the US alone. It didn't take long until we realized that exploitation and abuse are synonymous with childhood in the digital age. Every other child has experienced some form of abuse online. Big Tech's business model makes children vulnerable to predators, blackmail, nonconsensual nudes going viral, and exposure to traumatizing sexual content. Yet, we believe "Childhood is Not for Sale."
We have worked with youth in Germany and the United States for nearly a decade and observed an alarming trend.
Children encounter an online world that monetizes their innocence and curiosity. We have met mothers who were heartbroken about the fact that they were unable to protect their kids from sexploitation. We have encountered dads who were in utter despair when porn sprang up on the devices of their six-year-old when looking up an innocent video.
Malicious and exploitative content is used as a fast track to exploiting our children’s most fundamental human needs.
Feeling lost in how to respond to the challenges we encountered when working with kids and their screens, we needed answers.
As a response, we wrote the book, The Glass Between Us – Empowering Youth To Combat Digital Exploitation, a foundation to inspire youth to build value-driven screen habits, packed with research, interviews, and tips for a healthier screen life. The book has been praised by parents, counselors, teachers, academics, and politicians on both sides of the political aisle.
We are convinced that the only way to solve this digital crisis is by inviting young people to the table. What if youth were not only victims of a broken web but inspired leaders ready to create a better digital future?
We call this generation back to health, safety, and a life of meaning and purpose, where digital habits support what they desire most in life.
We are committed to protecting child and family rights in the digital age and advocate for better legislation to protect kids online.
We host the "Roundtable for Child Online Safety." We regularly gather youth and top-level leaders from the tech industry, political leaders, and child advocates in Washington DC to advance online child safety together. This challenge can only be solved by bringing key stakeholders together.
We speak in schools, businesses, and other organizations on raising up a generation to be the first line of defense against digital exploitation.
We serve families in the digital age by creating hands-on material that allows families to confidently tackle tech's biggest challenges.
We advocate for a childhood that is not for sale, fighting for policies and tech safety tools that allow kids to stay kids for as long as possible.
Will you join our Wired Human community to help us to empower kids to live a life free from digital abuse, bondage and addiction?