Be Safe: June Ratchets Up Internet Safety Efforts

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It’s apt that Internet Safety Month falls in June, the same time that a rash of misguided Facebook status updates are appearing, warning people and companies that they don’t have permission to use any profile information, etc. Facebook users’ misguided attempts at controlling their online identities show how important the issue is to users, even though the status updates are legally invalid. Prepare yourself for an onslaught of messaging on Internet safety in the coming weeks from lawmakers and ISPs. A lot of it will focus on protecting children, but given the outbreak of that Facebook chain letter, education on privacy controls and privacy expectations for adults also would be a good idea. After all, parents are the ones trying to help guide teens and tweens through cyberspace. Cox has focused on Internet safety in June and the 11 other months for years with the help of child advocate John Walsh. On Wed, it released a survey of kids 10-13 that it partnered on with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Parents are doing a good job of monitoring children’s online behavior, but there is room for improvement, particularly when it comes to mobile and other connected devices, the survey said. Nearly all tweens surveyed (95%) use mobile devices to go online. 68% of parents surveyed said they monitored their child’s Internet behavior on mobile devices, the survey showed that just 17% use basic parental control features. While 82% of parents considered themselves very knowledgeable about what their tweens do online, you have to wonder what goes on that they don’t know about. 44% of kids surveyed admitted to looking at or watching something that their parents wouldn’t approve of (only 28% of parents were aware of this), and 34% admitted that they’ve lied to parents about what they’ve done online (only 18% of parents were aware of this). Keep on the lookout for other ISPs to safety awareness campaigns. Cox will be hosting a series of events, including a satellite media tour and Tweet Up with Walsh on June 28, in which he’ll answer questions from bloggers. Cox also will produce a series of PSAs taking parents to its cox.com/takecharge site.

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