AT&T and Nonprofits Launch Educational Campaign to Keep Consumers Safe Online
June 12, 2008 8:51 PM
Campaign Will Promote Internet Safety Via Studies, Education and Programs for At-Risk Youth
SAN ANTONIO, June 12, 2008 — In recognition of National Internet Safety Month, AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) today announced a collaboration with nonprofit advocacy organizations to promote a safe online experience for consumers. AT&T also encouraged parents to be involved in their children's online activity, including wireless devices and computers. As the nation's largest broadband and wireless provider, AT&T has a long-standing commitment to protect consumers online and safeguard their Internet experience. The company offers parental controls for various communications modes such as Surf Smart (Internet at home), Wireless Smart (mobile phone), Watch Smart (TV) and Talk Smart (home phone).
"June is an important time of year to raise awareness for consumers about creating a safe online experience," said Brent Olson, AT&T assistant vice president of Public Policy. "With kids out of school and more people spending time online, kids are more likely to be surfing the Internet and keeping track of friends and family on mobile phones and other hand-held devices, both wired and wireless, not to mention the familiar family computer. With today's convergence of technologies, we strongly encourage parents to understand and keep updated on their children's online and mobile phone activities and to educate them about the risks they face online and the measures they can take to protect themselves."
Along with the tools and services that AT&T provides to customers to help keep their families safe, the company is also supporting a number of critical outreach efforts that will help educate parents, children and communities about online safety. AT&T is working with the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), the Internet Keep Safe Coalition (IKeepSafe), Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) officers and Enough Is Enough to provide the resources and educational opportunities necessary to inform consumers of all ages about the benefits and challenges faced online.
"We've taught our children to be wary of 'stranger danger' on the playground, but their wide use of the Internet and networking sites expands the dangers of a virtual playground that reaches into our homes," said U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean, who sponsored the U.S. House of Representatives resolution designating June as National Internet Safety Month.
AT&T supports FOSI — an international nonprofit organization committed to providing innovative solutions for family online safety — who will issue three studies focused on best practices in online safety education.
"FOSI works to promote the best online tools, which include tools for wireless phones with Internet capabilities," said Stephen Balkam, CEO of FOSI. "AT&T is committed to helping consumers and their families implement safe online practices, and their involvement, especially with Wireless Smart Limits, will strengthen our coordinated efforts for family safety."
Later this fall, with support from AT&T, the IKeepSafe coalition and DARE officers will launch an Internet safety program for children that will be provided in schools throughout the country. The online safety program will target children in grades one through five, with an emphasis on cyberbullying for fifth-graders. Programs also will be provided to parents and organizations in these communities.
"It's wonderful to collaborate on this project with AT&T, a company with a long-standing commitment to educate consumers about how to keep safe on the Internet," said Marsali Hancock, president of IKeepSafe. "AT&T is dedicated to reaching consumers with important Internet safety messages every day to protect consumers online and safeguard their Internet experience."
AT&T is also supporting a program through Enough Is Enough, an Internet safety organization dedicated to protecting children and families from the Internet dangers of pornography and sexual predators. The program targets at-risk youth, who have little to no parental supervision and are in an environment that makes them more susceptible to risky online behavior. The pilot program launches in Virginia in the fall, and the national rollout is next year. The organization will also distribute an online safety 101 kit for parents later this year, with tips and instruction from a variety of organizations and companies, including AT&T.
To help consumers have a safer online experience, AT&T offers a full library of supportive Internet safety and security tips and interactive safety games for kids, all available at http://www.att.com/safety. In addition, consumers can go to http://OnGuardOnline.gov to review practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help them be on guard against Internet fraud, secure their computer and protect their personal information.