Maryland Attorney General, Enterprise Community Partners and Verizon Team Up to Protect Children on the World Wide Web

BALTIMORE - In an effort to keep children safe on the Internet and raise awareness of how to avoid the dangers that lurk online, Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler joined forces with Enterprise Community Partners and Verizon Tuesday (May 20) in an interactive discussion.

Terry Owens, anchor, reporter and talk show host for WMAR-TV 2 (ABC), moderated the event at George G. Kelson Elementary School in Baltimore. 

"The Internet is a wonderful educational tool for our youth and a fun, easy way for them to interact with people their own age," said William R. Roberts, Verizon's regional president for Maryland and Washington, D.C.  "But it's important for parents and educators to teach our children about the Internet the same way we teach them about other things that require responsibility and care, like driving a car. 

"Providing a safe online environment for children is a priority for Verizon," Roberts added.  "We are proud to join the attorney general's office and Enterprise Community Partners to bring this valuable information to the community."

Speakers at the forum were Attorney General Gansler; Roberts; Robin Raskin (The Internet Mom); and Michael McKeehan, Verizon's executive director of Internet and technology policy.  Other special guests included Kelly Cartales, senior vice president of the Baltimore/Mid-Atlantic region of Enterprise Community Partners, and Michael Pitroff, chief information technology officer of the Baltimore City Public School System.

Participants discussed the challenges of keeping children safe on the Internet and the issues facing families in dealing with online safety and security.

"The Internet is a great educational and entertainment resource for adults and children," said Gansler.  "But with this resource comes risks.  Children easily can become targets of exploitation when using the Internet.  I am pleased that Verizon, one of the industry leaders in providing Internet service, has made it a priority to make sure that parents and kids know the potential dangers that lurk on the Internet and is willing to educate parents and kids about ways they can be safer while online."

At the conclusion of the forum, Verizon presented Enterprise Community Partners with a $5,000 check to help fund five additional child-safe Internet forums in Maryland.

"A strong component of Enterprise's education initiative in Baltimore is to provide a safe place for children whether at home or at school," said Cartales.  "We are extremely happy to work with the attorney general and Verizon to bring Internet awareness to the communities and schools where we work."

Verizon is engaged in Internet safety on multiple fronts.  The company provides customers with an industry-leading slate of online cyber-security tools and educational programs that 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/) to deliver tools and information to various segments of the community.

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 more than 67 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 employed a diverse workforce of approximately 232,000 as of the end of the first quarter 2008 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.