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Brentwood teen joins Microsoft's push for digital good

Submitted to FOX 17 News

He’s an anomaly -- A Brentwood middle schooler who isn't on social media, and doesn't even have a phone.

That’s precisely why the world's largest software maker, Microsoft, is asking Judah Siegand for high-tech help. Microsoft wants online safety classes in every public school.

The 8th grader at Oliver Middle School is happy to explain he has no Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook. It's a decision Judah's very proud of, though his friends at first asked questions.

“Some of them were like, ‘You don't have a phone? Like, are your parents okay?’" Judah said.

Now, his friends respect his restraint and Microsoft does too, choosing him as one of just 15 teens across the U.S. to be on its first "Council for Digital Good."

“When our son first applied, his exact words to me were, ‘Mom, they want to know about my life online and I don't have a life online,’ and trying to encourage him that that's what makes you different," Judah's mom, Sarah Siegand with Parents Who Fight, said.

Different indeed. First Lady Melania Trump posted about her time with the Brentwood teen thanking all 15 of these teen leaders.

“We talked about cyber bullying, sexting and digital civility as a whole," Judah said. "Things like that I've never dealt with that, I've never struggled with any of that because I've never had the one thing that causes that, which is social media.”

FOX 17 News has covered teen porn addiction extensively showing how just one look begins to change a child's brain chemistry. We've also shown how adults, even teachers, are getting arrested for targeting kids through their phones.

That's why Microsoft is stepping up to protect kids. Ultimately, Microsoft, with the help of its Council for Digital Good is calling on government to address cyberbullying, sextortion, to modernize laws, and to promote in school education on digital safety.

Judah reflected on his trip to D.C. to work on this mission adding, “They said you're the one kid on this council who doesn't have social media and still cares about these subjects.”

What an honor for a middle Tennessee teen to help lead the way for screen safety and online civility.

FOX 17 News will follow Congressional action on mandatory screen safety courses in schools. In the meantime, if your school wants workshops on cyber bullying, online pornography or teen sexting click here.

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