Protecting Children Online
May 28, 2008 12:01 AM
AT&T, the nation's leading broadband provider, has a long-standing commitment to protecting children online and safeguarding their Internet experience.
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. It also offers a full library of supportive Internet safety and security tips, and interactive safety games, all available at www.att.com/safety.
The AT&T Hometown Tour has visited more than 100 communities nationwide and has worked with more than 20,000 students from Connecticut to California on Internet safety lessons, programs, and workshops geared toward elementary- and middle-school-aged students. The Internet safety programs engage students in important discussions about safety tips relative to their everyday online activity. Students participate in fun hands-on activities that focus on key Internet safety skills, such as protecting computers against viruses, hackers and spam, as well as reviewing age-appropriate, good-computing habits, such as proper downloading and research-referencing. The game also emphasizes keyboard skills, potential dangers associated with social networking, and lessons on stranger-danger.
AT&T also works with organizations that promote online safety, including Enough is Enough and IKeepSafe Internet Safety Coaltion. Each organization strives to educate parents and children on how to be safe on the Internet. In the fall, AT&T and IKeepSafe will launch an online safety educational program with DARE officers at schools in various parts of the country, targeting children grades 1-5 as well as parents, teachers and local community organizations.
Educate and Empower
Earlier this year, AT&T introduced a comprehensive Web site of all the parental controls offered by AT&T and designed to educate and empower parents. AT&T Smart Limits™ brings together information for parental-control features for the full suite of AT&T services - wireless, wireline, high speed Internet access and video - into one online portal. The site (www.att.com/smartlimits) provides information and directions on how to use parental controls for wireless, Internet, video and home phone services from AT&T.
With features ranging from content controls to channel and phone-number blockers, parental control for these AT&T services help establish sensible boundaries around the technology children use on a daily basis. Most recently, AT&T launched its industry leading Smart Limits for Wireless controls that provide parents with a unique ability to customize and manage their children's use of their wireless services remotely through an easy-to-use online portal.
As the Internet is impacted by a wide variety of stakeholders, industry initiatives are a critical component of AT&T's efforts, as they provide additional opportunities for raising awareness of how to create a safer online environment for children.
AT&T also holds a leadership role with the Family Online Safety Institute (www.fosi.org), which is dedicated to promoting best practices, tools and methods in the field of online safety.
Through FOSI, AT&T collaborates with fellow leaders in technology, public policy and government on online safety issues.
AT&T also is a founding partner in 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). The series of PSAs, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Center of Missing & Endangered Children and the Ad Council, is 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.
Internet Safety Tips
As outlined in the AT&T Internet safety tips, which are available at www.att.com/safety, the first step to creating a safer online environment for today's children is to reinforce that the Internet is a public place accessed by millions of people around the world. AT&T encourages parents to help children understand that using the Internet in the privacy of their home does not guarantee a protected and stranger-free environment. Other tips include:
Teach children to be as cautious of strangers online as they would be of strangers in their neighborhood, the school yard, or city park. As chat rooms and forums provide online anonymity and secret identities to all users, some Internet users may be pretending to be someone they are not.
Parental controls, like those provided by AT&T Yahoo!® High Speed Internet, allow customized security settings for kids, young teens, and mature teens. With parental controls, adults can monitor and permit (or reject) Web-browsing, e-mail, instant messaging and access to chat rooms.
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 National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in its mission as a resource center for child protection.