Carnegie Library Teams With Pennsylvania Attorney General, Verizon to Promote Child-Safe Internet in Western Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH - The Internet exposes children to limitless learning opportunities but also exposes them to online dangers as well.  The work of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to make the Internet a safe place for children received a boost Friday (May 4) through a $25,000 Verizon Foundation grant to support child safety on the Internet.

The grant was awarded at a special forum, led by Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett and held at the library's main branch in Oakland, to promote a "Partnership for a Child-Safe Internet."  Forum panelists included the Honorable Jill E. Rangos, Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, Family Court; Iris Beckwith, vice president - program and partner relations with the Internet Keep Safe Coalition; David Frattare, special agent in the Child Predator Unit of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General; Cynthia Richey, director of the Mt. Lebanon Public Library; Esther L. Bush, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh; and Thomas M. Dailey, general counsel of Verizon Online.  The participants discussed the challenges of keeping children safe on the Internet and the issues facing families when it comes to online safety and security.

"We believe that a safe and open Internet offers parents and their children wonderful opportunities to explore and learn about the world," said Dr. Barbara K. Mistick, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh director.  "This grant will fund important educational initiatives that will give families guidelines they can follow to ensure children are using the Internet safely and responsibly."

The grant will support the library's ongoing efforts to protect children from - and educate families about - online dangers, including hosting presentations of the Pennsylvania attorney general's "Operation Safe Surf" program at each of the library's 19 branches.  Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh also will use the grant to purchase additional filtering software to better equip computers with parental controls.

"Verizon is delighted to partner with Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and with the attorney general's office to bring awareness to this important issue," said William B. Petersen, president of Verizon Pennsylvania.  "Keeping children safe while they use the Internet is a priority for Verizon."

Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett, who created his office's Child Predator Unit to identify and arrest Internet predators before they can harm children, said: "Verizon's grant raises the visibility of the issue of Internet safety and of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh as a primary resource that members of the community can turn to for training and information on the subject."

Today's forum is one of a number of related Verizon-sponsored events around the country focused on child Internet safety.

Verizon is engaged in Internet safety on multiple fronts.  The company provides customers with an industry-leading slate of online cyber-security tools and education programs to empower parents and children.  Verizon also works closely with law enforcement to assist with investigations involving crimes against children, and with partners such as iSAFE (http://www.isafe.org/verizon/), GetNetWise (http://getnetwise.org/), SeniorNet (http://www.seniornet.org/php/default.php) and the Internet Content Rating Association (http://icra.org/) to deliver tools and information to various segments of the community.  The company also is collaborating with MySpace to sponsor research about student use of social networking sites.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, is committed to improving literacy and K-12 education; fostering awareness and prevention of domestic violence; and promoting the use of technology in health-care delivery.  In 2006, the foundation awarded more than $69 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched charitable donations from Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $29 million in combined contributions. Under the foundation's Verizon Volunteer initiative, one of the nation's largest employee-volunteer programs, company employees and retirees have also contributed nearly 3 million hours of community service since Verizon's inception in 2000.

For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving 60.7 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon has a diverse workforce of more than 238,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $88 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.