WASHINGTON - The Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) and several member companies will celebrate Safer Internet Day (SID) today by helping promote online safety for young people through various initiatives in several countries throughout the world. This year's theme "Think B4 U Post" aims to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially amongst children and young people across the world.
FOSI members released the following statements on the importance of Safer Internet Day:
"As an international organization, FOSI is happy to see Safer Internet Day activities growing in popularity around the world," said Stephen Balkam, CEO of FOSI. "Increased attention on such a day shows the importance around Internet safety issues and shows how relevant they have become in our society. We commend our member companies for planning events and raising awareness across the globe."
Jill Nissen, vice president and Chief Policy Officer at Ning, a technology platform for creating social networks around interests and passions, echoed Balkam's sentiment.
"Safer Internet Day allows us to continue our commitment to educate people about staying safe online and to promote digital citizenship on the part of our members: civil, ethical and mindful participation in their social networks on Ning.
Especially on social platforms like ours, where millions of people are communicating every day, it's extra important that members are aware of the various privacy and safety features available to them. From the beginning, Ning made the decision to build and implement comprehensive safety and privacy features into the Ning Platform and to give our members the tools to control their privacy and safety at every level. Ning empowers its members to make their own communities safe and has a comprehensive set of Safety Tips and Resources located at: http://about.ning.com/safety.php."
"AT&T proudly supports Safer Internet Day," said Brent Olson, Assistant Vice President of Public Policy at AT&T. "In a world where people, both young and old, have become so dependent on technology, the necessity to educate parents and their children on the importance of responsible online behavior is vital. AT&T offers parental control tools, guidelines and resources for families of all ages to promote safe Internet use."
Catherine Teitelbaum, Yahoo!'s director of child safety and product policy, was especially in support of this year's "Think B4 U Post" theme. "Yahoo! goes to great lengths to empower people to create a safer Internet experience. We have put particular focus on educating our users about positive digital reputation management and we work to remind our users of the importance of thinking carefully before posting content on the internet. We are glad to see that this year's Safer Internet Day theme will emphasize this important issue."
Many FOSI members, including Symantec, Facebook and MySpace will partake in Safer Internet Day activities.
FOSI Board Member Marian Merritt of Symantec, a computer software company that provides Internet security and is known for its famous "Norton anti-virus software," will be hosting a media panel in London highlighting the U.K. Council for Child's Internet Safety's campaign encouraging children to "Click Clever, Click Safe" online. Additionally, Symantec will launch the free OnlineFamily.Norton family-safety service in the U.K.
Popular social networking sites and Internet destinations, MySpace, Facebook and Yahoo! will promote Safer Internet Day to their respective communities through their blogs "MySpace Today," the "Facebook Blog," and "Yodel Anecdotal." MySpace will highlight the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) "Click Clever, Click Safe" campaign and the surrounding messaging of "Zip it, Block it, Flag it". The Government link will also link to the "Think B4 U Post" campaign.
Additionally, both social networking leaders, MySpace and Facebook, will be participating in a round table discussion on Safer Internet Day in Strasbourg, France, where the Commission will also be presenting their results and assessment of the "Safer Social Networking Principles for the EU," which were signed in February 2009 by 20 major social networks including MySpace and Facebook.
Safer Internet Day is organised by Insafe, the European Safer Internet awareness-raising network co-funded by the European Commission, and is celebrated in over 60 countries throughout the world. Today will mark the 7th annual celebration of Safer Internet Day.
The Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) works to make the online world safer for kids and their families by identifying and promoting best practices, tools and methods that also respect free speech. FOSI's members include: AOL, AT&T, Blue Coat Systems, BT Retail, Comcast, Facebook, France Telecom, Google, GSM Association, Kingston Communications, Loopt, Microsoft, MySpace, NCTA, Ning, Nominum, Optenet, RuleSpace, Sprint, StreamShield, Symantec, Telefónica, TELMEX, The Wireless Foundation, Verizon, Yahoo. FOSI hosts an annual international conference to bring together Internet safety advocates from a variety of sectors, including global corporations, government, non-profits, academia and the media, to discuss the current pulse of online safety and emerging solutions that will enhance it. For more information, please visit www.fosi.org.