There She Is... Miss America, For Online Child Safety - InformationWeek

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6/20/2007
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There She Is... Miss America, For Online Child Safety

Lauren Nelson lends her glamour and recognition to help promote Symantec's 'Connected and Protected Child Safety Initiative.'

Symantec has recruited Miss America in a campaign to advocate Internet safety.

Citing the U.S. Senate resolution making June Internet Safety Month, Symantec announced a partnership Wednesday with Lauren Nelson for its "Connected and Protected Child Safety Initiative."

Nelson, this year's pageant winner, has chosen the protection of children online as her cause. She plans to travel the United States with Symantec Internet safety advocate Marian Merritt to raise awareness among children, parents, and educators.

She will also award an Internet Keep Safe Coalition award to Senator Larry Craig, an Idaho Republican, and Congressman John Dingell, a Michigan Democrat, for their efforts to pass child Internet safety legislation.

Nelson said personal experience with the threat of online predators drove her to take up the cause.

"When I was 13, I experienced the potential dangers of unsafe Internet use," she said in a prepared statement. "Some friends and I made the mistake of giving our names, ages, and locations to someone online, who we later discovered was a sexual predator. As a result, we received inappropriate photographs from this person, and although the situation was defused without further incident, not all kids are as lucky."

A recent Symantec poll by Harris Interactive found that 88% of parents are concerned about keeping their children safe online. About 76% are concerned about their children receiving inappropriate content or solicitations, according to the survey, which polled 2,246 adults from June 11 through June 13 and weighted results according to region, age, gender, education, household income, and race or ethnicity.

Symantec offers advice and resources to help families and educators keep their tech-savvy children safe. The Norton Family Resource Center offers tips on a broad range of Internet security topics and a Family Online Safety Guide, a free workbook with age-appropriate tips. The company has also backed a national television campaign to promote Internet safety. The campaign will launch this fall.

Symantec is an official sponsor of the Internet Keep Safe Coalition, a non-profit group of governors and their spouses who help parents and educators teach children how to be safe on the Web. iKeepSafe offers free online tutorials for businesses, educators, and community groups.

This summer, Symantec and iKeepSafe will tour with Norton's Connected and Protected tour, which features a mobile Internet safety classroom with 21 computers and staff. The tour also includes town hall meetings with elected officials, as well as stops at schools, camps, and community centers.

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