As someone who raised three children during a much earlier and less developed stage of the internet, I didn’t have to talk to my kids about the dangers of online interactions as much as a parent should today. These days, kids live in a digital world seemingly in every moment, from the work they do at school to their interactions with their friends.
Although there are many resources for teaching parents how to guide their children to use the internet safely, very few platforms actively protect families from bad actors online. In this post, I want to talk about how Aura is taking strides to proactively protect families through its recently announced safety features, including its partnership with Kidas to ensure safe gaming.
The growing threat in cybersecurity and the World’s new hero
When the Covid pandemic emerged, the world largely turned toward digital technologies. Employees worked from home, students learned from home and people relied on social media and online communities more than ever. As digital interaction increased, unfortunately so did cyberattacks—a trend that continues today. I believe that a major source of risk in this connection is many people’s lack of awareness about cyberattacks and other sorts of potential criminal activity affecting their digital interactions.
When Aura brought in Robert Downey Jr. to be a special multi-year partner and brand advocate and created the short video “Role of a Lifetime” (embedded below), it was more than a celebrity promotion. Downey is so famous that he needs no introduction from me, but he is of course most famous—especially to younger generations—as Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Robert Downey Jr. in “Role of a Lifetime”
I believe Downey is a very fitting partner for Aura as it pursues its goal to raise awareness of cybersecurity threats. He channels the persona of a hero and a role model thanks to his work as Iron Man. Putting Downey in a position to talk about digital security—and about Aura as a digital protector—could be very compelling for younger generations. Even better, Downey comes on board at a time when Aura is advocating for family-focused safety and a safe gaming experience through its partnership with Kidas, which I’ll discuss more below.
Aura’s commitment to family-focused safety
Aura has announced a new user interface and user experience focusing on the family. Its new Smart Vault and Family Alert Sharing functions help prevent scams, hacks, fraud and other digital security threats.
Smart Vault is a safe digital space within the Aura platform that allows the user to add files and passwords to monitor for fraud or data theft. I believe this vault of information could be very useful for families that share family accounts and files. It is much safer to send a Netflix or Amazon password through a secure vault than via text message, as is so common for many people.
Family Alert Sharing allows account members to share fraud and identity alerts so that the main account holder can take action on these alerts. Implementing Family Alert Sharing could also create a good opportunity to talk with account members, primarily kids and grandparents, about the dangers of the internet. It could also be a great opportunity for the account members to see and be assured that their online information is safe.
I like that Aura has included users on the left sidebar of the desktop app and at the top of the mobile apps. I believe it shows that Aura is genuinely intended for use by all family members, not just the account holder. Dependents are targeted by bad actors just as much, if not more, than the heads of households.
Kidas brings assurance and safety to gaming
Aura is also advocating for a safe and protected gaming experience for families and kids. Aura has made an investment in and partnered with Kidas to bring anti-cyberbullying and predator protection software for online gaming platforms to the Aura platform.
Kidas uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyze voice and text conversations and screen time in 200 popular games. In the example I gave above, Kidas would be able to detect suspicious conversations that children are having with online predators and other bad actors who are asking for personal information. Kidas is also able to automatically detect toxic situations like sexual harassment, cyberbullying, grooming and racism.
While I see parents being all-in on Kidas, especially after knowing that nearly one million children had their identities stolen in 2022, kids could be less excited about the moderation and could feel that Kidas is overbearing. However, I don’t think this is a threat to the independence of the child, but rather an avenue for bringing awareness to the types of games our kids are playing. I believe that Kidas allows kids to play games without their parents looking over their shoulders—while also enabling parents to moderate and keep their children accountable.
Other important players in this story are gaming publishers and streaming services. I believe it would be in the best interest of Kidas and game publishers to partner so that game publishers can help ensure healthy and safe online communities. In the same vein, streaming services such as Twitch, YouTube and Discord are a huge part of gaming communities and make up a considerable portion of gaming communication. I believe that if Kidas can integrate into these platforms, it could be a huge win for gaming communities and parents alike.
I think the challenge for Kidas is that gaming communities don’t want babysitters. However, I also believe that it’s in the best interest of online platforms and gaming publishers to implement features like Kidas that encourage safe gaming environments. It isn’t about being a babysitter, but about protecting our kids and creating safe places for them to play and hang out. Toxic and unsafe communities have become all too common on online gaming platforms, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
I call on online gaming platforms and game publishers to take responsibility for toxic communities. I believe platforms like Aura and Kidas are a part of the solution.
Clearly, today’s digital technologies can be dangerous if they’re not moderated and controlled. I believe Aura is creating intelligent, modern features on its cybersecurity platform that put families and individuals in a safer position to use the internet and the digital technologies connected to it.
I am also glad to see Robert Downey Jr. as an advocate for safety, and I commend Aura for continuing to educate people about digital crime. I also commend Aura for proactively implementing features and partnering with companies like Kidas to create safe and secure digital experiences.
I wish Kidas had been around when my kids were growing up and playing online games. Online gaming platforms today are much more complex, filled with a lot more of both good and bad interactions. I believe gaming publishers and gaming communities can create safer and less toxic environments without throwing the baby out with the bathwater by implementing platforms like Kidas. The work being done by Aura and Kidas can help us attain fun and safe gaming experiences for all.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy co-op Jacob Freyman contributed to this article.