Web Avengers: Mary Kay Hoal

PHOTO: Mary Kay Hoal

Mary Kay Hoal is a nationally recognized pioneer in children's online safety. A married mother of five children ranging from 7 to 20 years old, Hoal left a successful global media career to advance safety and privacy for children online. She launched Yoursphere Media Inc., which publishes the kids' social network Yoursphere.com and the parent Internet safety resource site YoursphereForParents.com.

After immersing herself in numerous online communities, Hoal concluded that the everyday safeguards for children that exist in the physical world don't exist online. In addition, she found that many sites didn't abide by the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), nor did they empower children with all the benefits that social media offers, such as connectivity, creativity, education and fun. Instead, children encountered content, people and a culture that showed little regard for their safety, privacy and well-being, and left parents without resources to make sure their family had a safe and positive experience online.

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