Verizon Engages Law Enforcement, Advocacy Groups in Discussions of Online Safety, Digital Citizenship

Furthering its commitment to online safety, Verizon is a major sponsor of the 2009 Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) 2009 conference, Building a Culture of Responsibility from Online Safety to Digital Citizenship,  which opens here Wednesday (Nov. 4).

The two-day conference brings together members of the law enforcement, media and academic communities, and Internet service providers, government agencies, nonprofits and advocacy groups to discuss and share best practices for online safety.

Also at the conference, English psychologist, writer and media personality Tanya Byron will receive a FOSI Award for Achievement in Child Online Safety. Byron, who was nominated by Verizon for the award, is being recognized for her study of the risks to children from exposure to potentially harmful or inappropriate material on the Internet and in video games. Her study, "Byron Review: Safer Children in a Digital World," was commissioned by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown

"Verizon's advanced broadband networks connect people across the globe to the Internet for business, education and entertainment," said Michael McKeehan, Verizon's executive director of Internet and technology policy. "We understand the need to create a safe online environment, and we've long been committed to giving consumers the tools they need to manage their own communications online. Verizon is proud to once again support FOSI in bringing together the online community to create a safer Internet experience for everyone. Dr. Byron's work has had a global impact, and we congratulate her."

McKeehan will moderate a panel entitled A Review of Law Enforcement Trends and Prevention Initiatives on Nov. 4 at the conference.  Panelists include Robert McKenna and Patrick Lynch, attorneys general of Washington and Rhode Island, respectively; Sgt. Jim Smith, of CT Internet Crimes Against Children; Ann Harkins of the National Crime Prevention Council; and Parry Aftab of WiredSafety.

On Thursday (Nov. 5), Jack McArtney, associate director of advertising and content standards for Verizon, will serve on a panel entitled Kids on the Go - Challenges Confronting Mobility.

"Through the use of online safety tools, such as Verizon's Parental Control Resource Center (www.verizon.net/parentalcontrol), parents can take simple, common-sense steps to manage and create their child's online experience so that it occurs in a safer and more secure environment, giving them added peace of mind," McArtney said.

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.  The company also works closely with law enforcement to assist with investigations involving crimes against children, and with partners to deliver tools and information to various segments of the community.  Verizon has 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.

In 13 states across the country, Verizon has engaged leaders, teachers, parents and kids in online safety forums including most recently in Alabama, New Jersey, New York and Florida. The company has expanded its line-up of parental control tools available for free to Verizon Online and Verizon Wireless customers on the Verizon Parental Controls Center, www.verizon.net/parentalcontrol.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 89 million customers nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 230,000 and last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $97 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.