The U.S. Senate has designated the month of June as National Internet Safety Month to “provide the citizens of the United States with an opportunity to learn more about the dangers of the Internet and the importance of being safe and responsible online.”
Senate resolution S. RES 567 asks the assistance of national and community organizations to “provide information and training that develops critical thinking and decision-making skills that are needed for Internet safety.” Answering this call, Symantec, makers of Norton security software, urges parents to connect with their families during National Internet Safety Month.
Symantec’s own research underscores the importance of such parental involvement. One in five kids worldwide admit to conducting activities online that they know their parents wouldn’t condone. Additionally, in the U.S., parents believe that 6 percent of their children have been approached online by a stranger; in fact, 16 percent of children in the U.S. report such contact. This sobering data comes from Symantec’s recent Norton Online Living Report, a comprehensive report on the digital lifestyle habits of adults and children in the U.S. and worldwide. (The full report can be accessed at www.norton.com/onlineliving.)
Therefore, this month and throughout the summer, Symantec will expand on its free outreach efforts to educate consumers about Internet security topics including cyberbullying, cyber predation, online financial scams and hack attacks.
Symantec has released a family-focused Web site (www.norton.com/familyresources) that offers tips, resources and information on a broad array of Internet security topics. Internet safety advocate Marian Merritt, a nationally-recognized expert, will field questions from online visitors.
In addition, Merritt is challenging parents to engage their kids and teens in a conversation on Internet safety she calls “The Talk.” This chat is not the one about’ the birds and the bees’ previous generations might have received, but a much more generationally- relevant discussion about the Internet and how to use it safely and responsibly.
To aid parents in starting this conversation, Merritt offers “The Talk,” a series of tips providing detailed instructions on how to approach and discuss the topic of safe and responsible Internet use. “The Talk” can be downloaded for free at the Norton Family Resources Web site.
“Nearly 35 million children in the U.S. in grades K through 12 have access to the Internet. While many products and technologies provide families with a level of protection from online threats, I believe that one of the greatest ways you can protect your children is through one-on-one communication,” added Merritt. “’The Talk’ is a great tool that empowers parents to start this important conversation.”