You have made a difference!
At CBWOQ’s April women’s conference and again at CBOQ Assembly in June, dozens of you heard our invitation to join with Defend Dignity in urging Starbucks to put filters on its Wi-Fi. You signed petitions.
Today we’ve just learned that Starbucks has affirmed its commitment to ensuring their coffee shops are family friendly, safe locations for people of all ages.
The beverage and food services retailer announced July 15, 2016 that they are “in the process of evaluating a global protocol” to address the safety of their public Wi-Fi service in all company owned stores. Starbucks says they are participating in ongoing discussions regarding the implementation of broad-based solutions to “remove any illegal and other egregious content.” In the meantime, they have indicated they will stop any behaviour that interferes with customer experience, and have confirmed their commitment to ensuring their stores remain safe and welcoming.
In agreeing to filter out harmful, sexually violent images from their public Wi-Fi, “Starbucks is putting the safety of children first,” says Glendyne Gerrard, Director of Defend Dignity. Defend Dignity is one of organizations that partnered with CBWOQ on advocacy efforts during the 2015 Pan Am Games. “Once completed, they will join McDonalds and Tim Horton’s as leaders in the food services sector in Canada for having good filtering software on their public Wi-Fi.”
“We encourage Starbucks to quickly implement the necessary filtering, so that children stay safe and predators are stopped,” added Gerrard, noting that while many parents use safety measures at home to protect their children from Internet dangers, parental control safeguards can be easily bypassed by children when using Starbuck’s unfiltered Wi-Fi service, immediately exposing them to Internet dangers.
In addition to the possible harms to children, adults may also access and freely view pornographic material in Starbucks stores, thus exposing other customers, including children, to unwanted sexually explicit images. Also, sexual predators can access child pornography through the current open Wi-Fi in Canadian Starbucks stores.
“Today’s Internet pornography is misogynistic and violent, fuelling rape culture and desensitizing the viewer,” says Gerrard. “Because Internet pornography is easily accessible and available, it consequently poses one of the biggest threats to our children’s online safety.”
Defend Dignity acts as a catalyst for individuals and organizations to end sexual exploitation in Canada. In March 2016, they launched their Family Friendly Wi-Fi campaign to convince the proprietors of public gathering places to filter their Wi-Fi service. CBWOQ joined Defend Dignity’s efforts in April.