Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg Announces Plan to Protect Children by Providing Free Online Parental Controls to Consumer Broadband Customers

NEW YORK - Stating that "parents will not feel comfortable with their children's embrace of technology unless they know their children are safe," Verizon Communications Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ivan Seidenberg announced plans Tuesday (June 3) to provide free online parental controls to Verizon consumer broadband customers.

Seidenberg made the announcement at WiredSafety's Stop Cyberbullying Conference at the Schimmel Theater at Pace University.  The two-day event is designed to raise awareness of cyberbullying and to encourage parents, children, educators and others to get involved in combating the problem.  

Among the parental tools that Verizon will soon make available are:

  • A content blocker that will allow parents to prevent children from viewing selected topics on the Internet.

  • Application filters that will allow parents to limit access to applications they do not want their children to use.

  • The ability for parents to designate specific time periods when the Internet or certain functions cannot be used.

Seidenberg, who at the conference received WiredSafety's Internet Superhero Award for Verizon's long-standing commitment to Internet safety, said, "Broadband technology presents a tremendous opportunity.  But we know that people will only fully utilize broadband networks if they trust that their personal information will remain private, and that parents will not feel comfortable with their children's embrace of technology unless they know their children are safe.

"Verizon has tried to stay ahead of the curve on both fronts, and that's why we've decided to make even more tools available to our customers for free," Seidenberg said.

Parry Aftab, founder of WiredSafety.org, said, "Verizon has a long history of getting behind the issues. Not just the issues that are good for the bottom line, but issues that are good for consumers generally. Leading the pack, Verizon takes the hard position and takes it first." 

The Stop Cyberbullying Conference,  hosted by WiredSafety, Pace University and Westchester County,  included panel discussions with child safety officers, government officials, victims of cyberbullying, and Tina Meier, the mother of Megan Meier, a 13-year-old Missouri girl who committed suicide after being bullied online.

Tina Meier spoke at the conference to help raise awareness of cyberbullying and generate support for The Megan Pledge, an online effort to rally 1 million young people to pledge to stop cyberbullying.

The pledge, named in honor of Megan Meier, was created by the New Rochelle chapter of Teenangels (Teenangels.org), a group of 13-to-18-year-old volunteers who have been trained by law enforcement officers and safety experts in all aspects of online safety, privacy and security.

Since the campaign was launched in late May, more than 235,000 teens have signed the online pledge - at myYearbook.com/meganpledge.

Previous winners of the Internet Superhero Award are John Carr, a United Kingdom cybersafety pioneer; Paul Gillespie, a Toronto police officer who worked to develop technology to fight child pornography; and U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, for his leadership on the issue.

A webcast of the conference is available online at

Verizon has a long-standing commitment to Internet Safety. Serving millions of broadband connections (including 8.5 million wireline connections) across the country, Verizon is committed to being a trusted provider - protecting children online, protecting intellectual property rights, and making sure personal information remains private and secure.

Verizon is engaged in Internet safety on multiple fronts:  providing customers with an industry-leading slate of online cyber-security tools and education programs to empower educators, parents and children.  Verizon also works closely with law enforcement to assist with investigations involving crimes against children, and with partners such as WiredSafety.org to deliver tools and information to various segments of the community.  Verizon has also long been a supporter of efforts to encourage content providers to voluntarily label their Web sites; raise parental awareness of the benefits of labeling; and educate decision makers about the desirability of self-regulation of online content.

WiredSafety was founded in 1995 and is run entirely by thousands of unpaid volunteers. It is the world's oldest and largest cybersafety group and run by Parry Aftab, a privacy and security lawyer and expert in the field. It provides education, awareness, information and one-to-one help for consumers and guides the Internet industry on best practices.

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.