June Set Aside As Internet Safety Month - InformationWeek

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6/8/2007
06:09 PM
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June Set Aside As Internet Safety Month

The Senate asks consumers and companies to work together and protect themselves from the dangers of the Internet.

In case anyone thought federal lawmakers are behind the times with technology, a newly passed resolution should reassure all that the people crafting this nation's policy know a little something about the pipes that move today's world and information: They're dangerous.

The U.S. Senate unanimously supported a resolution designating June 2007 as National Internet Safety Month. While it provides no additional federal funding or support, the non-binding resolution is a call out to U.S. consumers to learn about the dangers of the Internet, as well as the importance of being safe and responsible online.

The U.S. Department of Justice's definition of Internet crimes includes cyberstalking, cyberbullying, child pornography, Internet fraud, and identity theft.

The resolution stated that there are more than a billion Internet users around the world and 35 million of them are American school-aged Net users. Most computer users between 5th and 12th grade spend at least one hour online a week and 41% don't tell their parents what they do online.

One in four students actually hide their online activities, according to the Senate's statistics and one out of three knows how to get around filtering software. Sixty-one percent of students say they use the Internet in unsafe or inappropriate ways and one out of five has met someone online, and then followed that up with a real-world encounter.

The Senate resolution states that 47% of parents think their ability to monitor and protect their children from inappropriate material on the Internet is limited. Sixty-one percent said they would like to be more involved with Internet safety. Now, the Senate is calling on them, law enforcement authorities and private companies to get more involved: by raising awareness, providing information and training and recognizing those who have already worked to make the Internet a safer place for all.

Other federal legislative efforts to actually do something to keep inappropriate and objectionable content away from the mouse-clicks of minors failed.

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