NEW YORK -- During the dog days of summer when it's too hot to play outside, kids with a high-speed Internet connection can study bugs, ride on a Mars rover, visit national parks and become a super sleuth in the comfort of their home.
"Parents tell us that interactive Web sites with video and audio enhancements keep their kids engaged in fun and educational online activities," said John Wimsatt, vice president-marketing for Verizon Advanced Services.
"A super-fast DSL (digital subscriber line) Internet connection shortens download times and is the best way to watch webcasts, listen to music and participate in interactive games. Kids are less likely to get restless when sites come up quickly and DSL provides the high quality connection necessary to watch a site come 'alive' with action, color and adventure," Wimsatt said.
It's been reported that roughly 24 million Americans or 21 percent of all Internet users have high-speed home connections. Many of these broadband subscribers include families and kids. A May 2001 "wired kids" study concluded that 43 percent of youth have broadband access and that 89 percent of those kids regularly use broadband at home.
The American Library Association, one of Verizon Reads' national literacy partners, has compiled a list of more than 700 "Amazing, Spectacular, Mysterious, Wonderful Web Sites for Kids and the Adults Who Care About Them." The sites for kids of all ages can all be viewed on ALA's Web site at - www.ala.org/parentspage/greatsites. Some sites that are best enjoyed over a high-speed connection because of the abundance of feature-rich graphics and audio or video include:
- www.disney.go.com/DisneyBooks -- a graphic-rich site with new and classic Disney books that youngsters can either listen to or read. In addition to books, games and contests, the site also has a section of interactive novelty and picture books celebrating the black cultural experience, including lessons in Swahili.
- www.exploratorium.edu - an online version of a hands-on museum in San Francisco that permits kids to learn the science behind a home run. Webcasts include expert skateboarders demonstrating the physics of ollie, nolie and kickflip maneuvers plus a sneak peak at upcoming NASA tests of its FIDO robotic rovers for the 2004 Mars landing.
- www.enature.com - the National Wildlife Federation's site that offers bird watching, nature sounds and online trips to National Parks and wildlife refuges.
- www.jason.org - the Web site of the JASON Foundation, established by Dr. Robert D. Ballard following his discovery of the Titanic wreck. Satellite and Internet technologies bring kids around the world into real-time contact with scientists and researchers on exciting expeditions. Currently, the site takes visitors on an exciting journey to explore the Channel Islands region off the California coast.
- www.sodaplay.com/constructor/index.htm -- a Web site that lets visitors build a model out of digital soda straws and then use basic engineering skills to animate it.
Another fun site for kids is called Enlighten Me: Read, Learn and Explore, www.superpages.com/enlightenme, an online literacy and education site launched by Verizon SuperPages. The heart of Enlighten Me is SuperThinkers, a site designed to engage kids while making learning transparent. Children have access to the original and interactive Peetnik Mysteries, which promote skills such as logic, problem solving, critical thinking, cooperative learning, imagination and creativity.
Consumers who sign up for Verizon Online's high-speed DSL service before Sept. 30 pay just $29.95 a month for the first three months. The first month is free if customers sign up online. The service is $49.95 after the first three months. There are no hidden equipment charges, annual commitments or service-termination fees. The service comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
In New York and Massachusetts, Verizon offers a choice of bundled services that includes DSL. Information on buying packages of Verizon services is available at www.verizon.com. Verizon is a leading DSL provider with more than 1.5 million customers in 31 states and the District of Columbia. Verizon Online provides DSL, dial-up and other Internet access services to consumers and small to mid-sized businesses.
The American Library Association (ALA) is the voice of America's libraries. ALA links libraries together to share information.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 135.1 million access line equivalents and 30.3 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and approximately 241,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.