kidTECH SoCal — A Reminder of Why the Children’s Digital Industry is Extra-Special

Nathan Sawatzky
Sep 20 · 4 min read

An industry is only as good as its ability to have those within it support and challenge each other for the betterment of the end-user. kidTECH is an event, the SoCal event being the fourth, that brings together an industry with the ambitious goal of making the world better for kids!

If you’ve never attended one of our events, you may have the wrong idea about what kidTECH is all about. After all, the trend is to make conferences bigger and better year over year. For kidTECH we intentionally keep it small, but we have certainly gotten better with every event; and I think the SoCal event was our best yet. We want kidTECH to be a place where people come to connect and be re-inspired (while, at the same time inspiring those around them). If a conference has over 200 attendees, it becomes increasingly difficult for people to let their guard down and feel a sense of belonging. As one of our attendees put it, “The conference was small, but the quality of hallway conversation was high!”

The Round Table Sessions

As we have done before, we partnered with GameDaily Connect (formerly known as Casual Connect) to offer the Kids & Family track. Doing this allowed our attendees and presenters greater reach across a larger conference without compromising the small-ness we hoped to achieve through our micro-conference model.

In the coming weeks, we’re looking forward to sharing some of the session videos from the event. You’ll see David Kleeman talk about how kids haven’t changed as much as we think, or you’ll hear our expert panelists talk about what we can expect to see from voice-enabled technologies. While our update from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) occurred before the big Google/YouTube announcement, we had the opportunity to better understand the way the FTC thinks about COPPA violations (unfortunately, at the request of the FTC, we won’t be able to share video from that session). We had a panel that looked at the cross-section of physical and digital play, and at the role of good content, regardless of platform…both of which again returned to some of themes from Kleeman’s morning talk; kids are still kids.

One of our many game-breaks throughout the day, lead by the fantastic Barry & Jason Games

One of our favorite sessions at every kidTECH event is when we look at technology and its impact on children’s well-being. This year, our Tech for Good panel covered everything from how to build resilience (or, *Moxie*) in young girls, to taking time to *Stop, Breath and Think*, to how technology could be used in the fight against mass violence in schools.

We closed the day with myself (Nate) and Shai Samet (kidSAFE Founder and President) talking about Compliance by Design.

Laura Mauney is kidSAFE’s Head of Quality. This was her first kidTECH event, and she agrees that it was a great day. Here’s Laura’s take on the day:

The children’s education and entertainment industry may be huge from a market-share perspective, but the folks involved in creating the content and developing the websites, apps, services, and digital devices and toys for children are a relatively small family.

kidTECH SoCal reflected that contrast in so many ways. The world-famous Disneyland Hotel provided a relaxed, child-focused environment. In kind, the event itself was like a family reunion, mashing up interactive fun and games with refreshments and insightful and engaging discussions about child-focused technology.

The event gave kidSAFE Seal members and conference guests an opportunity to meet, network, share ideas and thoughts, learn more about the importance of COPPA certification, and possibly expand business opportunities.

What struck me the most was the cheerful willingness of the attendees to engage with each other. The conference was like a day-long fusion of dialogue, debate, and brainstorming.

For my part, I was glad to meet in person the people I typically interact with only by email, members from all over the U.S. and several other countries. Witnessing their common dedication and passion for the kid-space component of technology was inspiring.

Having so many people in one place talking about making a better, safer, and more enriching cyber-world for children helps keep developers and marketers on point in respect to cyber-security, creating a moral compass of sorts for the industry at large.

We’re already thinking about the next kidTECH, so if you missed this one, we’ll look forward to seeing you at the next one! Our commitment to our members, to the industry, and to children everywhere, is to continue to make kidTECH the best place for industry leaders to come together and, as iron sharpens iron, be the industry that the world needs.

If you have any questions about getting involved in kidTECH, or about kidSAFE’s seals and services, please get in touch.

kidSAFE Seal Program

Blog of kidSAFE Seal Program

Nathan Sawatzky

Written by

Service, Safety, & Social Designer | Policy Nerd | World Traveller | Student of Business, Culture, and Sociology. Former Disney, Glitch, Two Hat, and Facebook.

kidSAFE Seal Program

Blog of kidSAFE Seal Program

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