AT&T Joins Major Technology and Media Organizations and Nonprofits in Launch of Project Online Safety
Educational Campaign to Promote Internet Safety Via Online Portal, PSAs
San Antonio, Texas, February 7, 2007
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) announced today a collaboration with a broad array of technology companies, media organizations, trade and nonprofits in launching Project Online Safety, an educational campaign focused on promoting Internet safety for children. The initiative provides parents and children with a centralized online resource of Internet-safety tools and educational materials at www.ProjectOnlineSafety.com, and supports and encourages the broadcast of a series of related national public service advertisements (PSAs).
Project Online Safety is part of an ongoing, industrywide effort working with leading advocacy organizations to educate parents and children about the importance of online safety. In addition to AT&T, other founding partners of the initiative that are investing resources to support online-safety programs are BlogSafety.com, Charter Communications, Comcast, Cox Communications, Facebook, Fox Interactive Media (MySpace), National Cable & Telecommunications Association, Network Solutions, News Corp., Qwest, Time Warner Cable and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).
"AT&T, as the nation's leading broadband provider, has a long-standing commitment to protecting children online and safeguarding their Internet experience," said Dorothy Attwood, senior vice president of Regulatory Planning and Policy for AT&T. "As the Internet is impacted by a wide variety of stakeholders, industry initiatives, such as Project Online Safety, are a critical component of these efforts, as they provide additional opportunities for raising awareness of how to create a safer online environment for children."
The Project Online Safety educational campaign addresses concerns regarding abuse of the Internet, of which children are often the victims. AT&T is one of many companies currently taking important measures to reduce the potential threats posed by Internet predators and to prosecute individuals who use the Internet to prey upon children. The company's current online-safety initiatives include:
- Raise Awareness. To increase awareness of the importance of Internet safety for parents and youth alike, AT&T offers a national traveling education program that works with young students in classrooms. AT&T also offers a full library of supportive Internet-safety and Internet-security tips and interactive safety games, all available at www.att.com/safety.
- Law Enforcement. AT&T is committed to working cooperatively with local, state and federal law enforcement in their efforts to protect children online. AT&T supports law enforcement in its pursuit of child predators and online child pornography and is an active partner of the congressionally mandated NCMEC in its mission as a resource center for child protection.
- Internet Content Ratings. To help protect children from harmful content, it is now more important than ever to ensure that parents are equipped with the tools necessary to make informed choices about the content that their children are viewing. Through its membership in the Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA) AT&T actively supports voluntary efforts to self-label Web sites and to develop technical solutions that allow such labels to be recognized by Web browsers and search engines. AT&T helps ICRA to expand these capabilities beyond the Internet to work with all forms of digital content.
Technology and media companies are also marshaling the experience and resources of nonprofit advocacy organizations in developing best practices for online safety to further promote a safe online experience. At the BlogSafety.com forum, for example, parents can share intelligence and learn about successful strategies developed by other parents to support safe blogging and social networking. Also, the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee has aggregated information about the respective efforts of various online and technology companies to help safeguard children while online.
In conjunction with the initiative, a new robust online portal at www.ProjectOnlineSafety.com serves as a central repository, where parents, guardians, teachers and children can access numerous Internet-safety tools and educational materials, which are made available by the participating companies and organizations. The site serves as a portal through which users may access resources on specific topic areas of interest, such as parental-control technologies, ways to report trouble online, cyberbullying and safe Web sites for children. In addition, users can click on a participating technology company or advocacy organization Web page to review their online-safety materials and to read more about their efforts to help protect children's online experiences.
By offering one point of access to the wealth of valuable information about Internet safety, ProjectOnlineSafety.com can more effectively educate parents and children about the importance of online safety and empower children to have safer experiences online.
PSAs on Internet Safety
In conjunction with this initiative, the founding partners will devote resources toward distributing and encouraging the broadcast of PSAs on Internet safety. The PSAs, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, NCMEC, and the Ad Council, are designed to educate parents and guardians about measures they can take to better protect their children online and to instruct teens on how to be smart and maintain safe online relationships in order to reduce risks of sexual exploitation and abduction.
The PSAs direct parents, guardians and teens to visit www.cybertipline.com to learn about safe and responsible use of the Internet, as well as how to report threats. Administered by NCMEC, the CyberTipline is a reporting mechanism for child sexual exploitation. Reports can be made on the Web site or by calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678). The PSAs will run on cable, broadcast and Internet properties, including being accessible through links on att.com and other participating company Web sites.
A third series of these PSAs will be released and will run this spring. This series will continue to engage teenage Internet users with the message of protecting themselves online by not posting images or information that might put them at risk. The PSAs were created pro bono by advertising agency Merkley + Partners.
Those organizations interested in participating in the Project Online Safety initiative are encouraged to contact Danielle Yates, Internet Caucus Advisory Committee at (202) 638-4370 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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