Verizon Partners for a Child-Safe Internet

DURHAM, N.H. - In its continuing effort to make the Internet a safe place for children, Verizon announced today that it has awarded a $150,000 grant to support the work of the Crimes against Children Research Center, located at the University of New Hampshire (UNH).

The announcement was made today at a special town meeting on the UNH campus to promote a "Partnership for a Child-Safe Internet."  Among the participants were New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch and Attorney General Kelly Ayotte.

The grant will support the research center's ongoing efforts to better understand the evolving security issues of the Internet and how best to protect children from, and educate families about, online dangers.

The center was founded in 1998 to develop high-quality, objective research concerning the incidence and impact of violence against children.  According to a recent survey conducted by the center, one of every seven Internet users between the ages of 10 and 17 received an unwanted sexual solicitation over the course of a year - and nearly one of every three users in this age group was exposed to unwanted pornography during the year as well.

"Verizon is delighted to partner with the University of New Hampshire to bring awareness to this important issue," said Tom Dailey, general counsel for Verizon Online.  "Keeping children safe while they use the Internet is a priority for Verizon."

David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes against Children Research Center and a sociology professor at UNH, said: "This award will allow us to enhance our research on youth Internet safety, enabling us to amass more information and disseminate our findings to a wider audience.  Verizon's grant will also increase the visibility of UNH as a primary resource for training and information on the subject of Internet safety."

The ongoing research will allow the center to stay on top of what's going on with teens and the Internet to inform parenting, teaching, public policy and law enforcement efforts.

Today's town meeting is the first in a series of forums that Verizon will sponsor in locations around the country.  In addition to Gov. Lynch and Attorney General Ayotte, other speakers included Finkelhor and Dailey as well as Dennis Shaw, chief operating officer of iSAFE Inc.; New Hampshire Commissioner of Education Lyonel Tracey; UNH Interim President J. Bonnie Newman; Portsmouth, N.H. Chief of Police Michael Magnant; and Alyssa Shooshan, project director for Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH).  Also participating will be Internet security experts, law enforcement officials and teachers who will examine how best to safeguard children from online predators.

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 (http://jade.gte.com/msa/help_safety.asp).  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 is also collaborating with MySpace to sponsor research about student use of social networking sites.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), a New York-based Dow 30 company, 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 nearly 57 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which operates one of the most expansive wholly-owned global IP networks, and Verizon Telecom, which is deploying the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network to deliver the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services to customers.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.