On May 24th, an 18 year old man brutally murdered 19 school children, two adults and injured several others at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. This horrific incident was the 27th school shooting in the US just this year and the deadliest since the Sandy Hook Massacre in 2012. Though there are no words to describe the pain, horror, and grief these unimaginable events cause, they are a critical reminder that more needs to be done to keep our communities safe and everyone has a role in this effort.
Safety requires collective action. Safety is a foundation that every community and organization must actively create and constantly fortify to protect the ones we love and the most vulnerable– both in the physical and online worlds.
It is a path we cannot pave alone and for this, we ask parents, guardians, and caretakers of our young users for your help.
Today, we humbly present our newly updated Guardian’s Guide. As our team continues to design and build comprehensive safety tools and processes to make our platform more secure, we will also continue to provide informed resources that can empower our users and the caretakers of our users to engage responsibly and seek help when necessary.
This Guide, prepared in consultation with ConnectSafely, is a portal for guardians of younger ZEPETO users to stay informed on our platform’s features, our safety and privacy tools, and best practices for responsible use.
The internet is a dynamic and evolving space. Because of this, bad actors and potential harms will continue to challenge us as an organization to create the right safeguards to protect our users. Our Trust and Safety team will update this Guide on a consistent basis, as we add more robust safety tools to the app and relevant content to our Safety Center.
In addition to ConnectSafely and the TSPA, we will continue engaging in intentional and actionable dialogue with leading experts in digital safety, as well as minor safety, and commit to delivering responsible tech. Our job and our safety promise to you is that we will always ask ourselves: “what are we doing?” and “what more can we do?”
To shed more light on this, we’d like to share the thoughts and guidance from our Service Operations Team:
Smartphones have placed direct, unprecedented access to a global digital universe in the palm of our hands, as well as the hands of our youth. While it’s created immense opportunity for many, it has also opened up countless dangers that the industry is just beginning to address.
As ZEPETO grows to connect reality with the virtual world, our teams’ highest priority is to ensure that our users feel safe and heard while they engage on our platform. The Service Operations team serves as ZEPETO’s primary communication channel, whether it’s supporting the growth of our creators or helping users solve issues that arise.
We’ve also shaped our Community Guidelines, integrating the experienced feedback of many of our users, to create the best possible experiences. The Service Ops team works to operationalize Community Guidelines to ensure they are observed and reflected in our services and content. To share more on what we’ve been working on:
Efforts to restrict inappropriate content
- Technology: From filtering profanity into ## marks to AI that detects and removes sexual and violent content, we are employing numerous tactics that help prevent our users from being exposed to inappropriate content. Moreover, we are continuously searching for, learning about, and applying new technologies to make our services safer.
- People and processes: We understand that technology has its limits and that bad actors can target loopholes to work around these systems. To address this, our moderators review and block bad content before it’s posted. Our Monitoring team responds to reported content for review and removal.
- Production: We have seen tremendous growth in our creator community in ZEPETO Studio. As we support the amazing creativity blossoming in Studio, we also have measures in place to prevent inappropriate content from being produced, using copyright infringement detection technology, as well as support from our Service Ops team.
Despite all of these efforts in place, our users may still be exposed to inappropriate content or experience unpleasant encounters.
How to get help:
If you’re ever in need of support, please contact our Customer Center. Please document and provide as much information as possible when submitting a report. This will help our team to effectively address your concern in a timely manner.
Other resources you can utilize include blocking a user or reporting a user or incident, as well as requesting a cybercrime investigation.*
*We are currently only able to conduct or cooperate in investigations when users or agencies provide adequate information. The process to acquire relevant information can sometimes be difficult. However, with the right information and support of investigative agencies we have been able to address numerous cases where bad actors have been brought to justice.
Involved, not intrusive
Our team believes that a key driver in keeping children safe online is the love and interest parents, guardians, and caretakers provide. Speaking as both a service provider and a parent, please communicate with your children about how they use technology. Find out what they’re interested in, pay attention to their smartphone use, and have an open conversation with them if something seems off.
- Get to know the services, apps and websites they use.
- Have a thoughtful conversation about purchases made on any of these platforms and what you feel is appropriate regarding their spending.
Our teams are here to support and serve our ZEPETO users, community, and their loved ones. We are committed to building a safer metaverse.
By Jackie Lho, Policy & Partnerships Manager, Trust & Safety and Jihae Joung, Service Operation Lead, CX – on behalf of the ZEPETO family