June has been designated National Internet Safety Month through a bipartisan resolution designed to bring greater attention to the need for comprehensive Internet safety education.
The nonprofit organization i-SAFE is calling on all Internet users to display a blue wire ribbon at home, at work, and online to raise awareness about Internet dangers. The iconic blue ribbon is the centerpiece of a variety of simple, yet effective ways Americans can get involved this June.
"We need to be doing all we can to help parents, educators, and those in law enforcement to formulate effective Internet safety strategies which will keep our children safe from victimization," said U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, who co-sponsored the bill, along with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and 16 other senators. "With summer vacation in full swing, and more and more children going online, now is the time for us to bring greater attention to the need for Internet safety."
The latest data from i-SAFE's National Assessment Center (NAC) online surveys of 5th through 8th graders indicate nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of students use the Internet to meet new people. Of those students 12 percent say they have shared their first name with their new friend; 3 percent have revealed their last name, 13 percent shared their gender, 7 percent told their new friend their age, 2 percent shared their telephone number, and 1 percent revealed their home address. In addition, 11 percent of students said that they have met someone from the Internet in person.
"Take action and show your commitment to protecting children from online dangers, such as predators, bullies, identity thieves, scammers and hackers," says i-SAFE CEO and Program Director Teri Shroeder. "It's important that we take a month that's dedicated to the collaborative efforts of public-private partnerships... Because of the viral nature of this campaign, I expect we'll be seeing Internet Safety Month ribbons displayed everywhere, online and throughout neighborhoods across America."
Students are encouraged to post it to their social-networking site's personal page. Parents can print it for display at home and at their office. On i-SAFE's Web site parents, students and concerned citizens can access other resources designed to help them take action and spread Internet safety awareness at home, at work, and in their community, including:
"There are real threats online. There's a lot of opportunities as well," said Shroeder. "With those opportunities comes responsibility."