Melania Trump Visits Microsoft to Discuss Online Safety for Kids
First Lady Melania Trump’s maiden visit to tech giant Microsoft was much talked of when it was confirmed by the White House. But, contrary to many views, Politics was something which was discussed with very less priority on the visit instead the focus was on to learn about the company’s work on accessibility and online safety for children.
It should be noted that the tour began Monday morning with a stop at a Tulsa, Oklahoma, charter school and it is scheduled to be ending Tuesday in Las Vegas with a town hall on the opioid epidemic. The Redmond based tech giant, Microsoft was the second stop in a three-city tour to promote the first lady’s “Be Best” initiative. The initiative is aimed at child well-being, online safety, and anti-bullying efforts and opioid abuse.
At Microsoft, she was shown demonstrations of technologies that make gaming and other online experiences safer for children, which includes giving parents more control over what their children do and see online.
The first lady said, “I feel that sometimes, children know more than their parents” when it comes to social media, gaming social media, and other online experiences. She held a brief conversation with Microsoft President Brad Smith.
According to Smith, Trump’s visit is followed by discussions last summer between the first lady and company executives at their Washington D.C. offices shortly after she launched her Be Best initiative. It should be reported that the Tech giant has loads of efforts aimed at online safety for kids, including parental tools and public education and awareness campaigns, as well as adaptive technology for use by kids with disabilities.
Trump’s carefully orchestrated visit to Microsoft went smoothly despite the first lady’s arrival at Boeing Field was delayed by nearly an hour by technical issues back in Tulsa. The motorcade of the first lady arrived at Microsoft’s Building 33 at around 2:15 p.m. and then she was ushered directly into a large conference room with three technology demonstration stations.
She was shown how the company’s flagship gaming console allows parents to monitor and control virtually every element of their children’s online experience; it includes the websites they visit the time they spend on any particular game. A considerable number of national and local media in the background, Dave McCarthy, vice president and head of Xbox engineering were present there.
In the second demo, she was shown how Xbox products had been made accessible to consumers with disabilities.
And at the third and the final demo, Jacqueline Beauchere, Microsoft’s chief online safety officer, outlined initiatives to encourage children and teens to adopt safer online habits.
After these demonstrations, Trump joined Smith and other company executives for a brief discussion about the next steps in improving accessibility and online safety. As per the discussions, a vital issue for Trump was educating parents on the tools that already are available for monitoring their children’s online activities.
The “Be Best” tour is Trump’s first solo domestic overnight trip in her official capacity as the first lady. However, she did not take any questions from the reporters during the discussions.
However, in the end, Smith was briefly available to reporters, several of whom asked the Microsoft executive on the message that the first lady’s visit to Microsoft sends, especially given her husband’s controversial social media presence.
It was evident for Smith to take a diplomatic tone, befitting a company that has spent a decade carefully cultivating political alliances. “We’ve always said that we’ll partner where we can, we’ll stand apart where we should,” Smith said, adding that Microsoft is “fundamentally focused on working with people who are carrying an important message forward, and the first lady is doing precisely that with this ‘Be Best’ campaign.”
He added, “We have days when we disagree with this administration just as we’ve had days where we disagreed with other administrations, but today was a day where we could stand together to underscore an important message.”