Trend Micro Incorporated has launched a new, worldwide corporate-citizenship initiative to raise awareness among parents, youth, educators and caregivers about the Internet safety and security issues a new generation of "cyber kids" faces today.

For 21st century youth, the Internet is an integral part of life. Social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace have gained massive appeal -- nearly 60 percent of 12-17 years olds claim to have profiles on these sites and about 14 percent of them have received unwanted online solicitations. While online predators generally receive a lot of media attention, the more likely risks young people face include online harassment or "cyberbullying" (experienced by 32 percent of online teens) and the posting of inappropriate user-generated material. As a two-way medium, the potential risks young people face on the Internet extend beyond what reaches them (whether they be people or digital threats such as viruses, worms or spyware), and includes the types of personal information they may be sharing online. A combination of awareness, common sense, critical thinking and sometimes technology can help young people avoid or reduce these risks.

In response to these issues, Trend Micro hopes to further its vision of making the world safe for the exchange of digital information through partnerships, volunteerism and grants.

Partnerships

Most recently, Trend Micro has partnered with Childnet International and ConnectSafely.org. Based in London, Childnet's aim is to promote and highlight quality Internet content for children and to work with others to help protect children online around the world. It also works with law officials to develop policies that have a positive impact on Internet safety. ConnectSafely.org, based in the U.S., is a forum and information source for youth safety on the social Web, both fixed and mobile. The forum's goals include informing parents, educators, and others about Internet and mobile social networking with news, tips, videos and other resources. It also enables teens and parents to have a voice in the public discussion about online safety.

"Keeping kids safe online is an ongoing conversation," said Larry Magid, co-director of ConnectSafely.org and technology journalist. "It's everyone's responsibility -- parents, law enforcement, industry and kids themselves."

"We are pleased that Trend Micro, a pioneer in security technology, is partnering with us to further our vision of empowering parents and teens to help make the Internet a safer and better place," said ConnectSafely.org co-director Anne Collier.

"Trend Micro's focus on the technical side of Internet security complements our own social values and principles of working towards making the Internet a safe and wonderful place for children," said Stephen Carrick-Davies, CEO of Childnet International. "We do not use 'scare' tactics; rather, the goal of this collaboration is to provide balanced and practical advice to empower and support parents and those who care about Internet safety for children."

Volunteerism

The Internet Safety for Kids and Families volunteer program is designed to enable Trend Micro employees to get involved in their local communities through direct advocacy or by supporting partners or other organizations and initiatives that promote Internet safety and security for young people worldwide.

Grants and donations

Based on very specific eligibility criteria, Trend Micro will provide grants and/or product and service donations to organizations or initiatives focused on Internet safety for kids and families.

"For 20 years, Trend Micro has focused on delivering the best security products and services to its customers," said Lynette Owens, director of community outreach for Trend Micro. "Now, we are taking this a step further by also providing practical information to parents, kids and teachers that can keep the Internet a fun and safe place for young people. By supporting and collaborating with Childnet International and Connectsafely.org, we hope to model their dedication and continue the good work they have done. We are grateful for their partnership."