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ICRA to Launch Campaign for A Safer Internet Community

Verizon Grant Kicks Off Planning of Ambitious Two-Year Educational Program

16th December 2002

WASHINGTON, DC - The Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA) today said it intends to launch a massive two-year educational program to encourage parents to become more involved in what their children are doing on the Internet.

Dubbed "Campaign for A Safer Internet Community," ICRA officials said the campaign is based on the idea that all parents must take ultimate responsibility to protect their children's online experiences, share their values and set and enforce expectations and rules for Internet use among family members.

Planning for the campaign is underway following a $75,000 grant from Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications. ICRA officials said they hoped to have the program up and running by this summer.

Mary Lou Kenny, ICRA' s director of North America, said that ICRA feels parents of the 21st century are in a unique situation when it comes to managing children's use of their home computers, because the Internet is one of the few tools that children understand and use more readily than their parents. Kenny said, "To ensure a rewarding, yet safer Internet experience, parents must understand the risks and reward of Internet use, and work with their children to establish their own ground rules for access."

The ASPIRA Association, Childnet International, The National 4-H Council, The National Urban League, and TECH CORPS are partnering in the ambitious campaign to help families make use of the Internet to its fullest potential - but to do so safely.

The goal of the campaign is to educate parents about strategies, best practices and options for safe Internet use, and provide practical tools to execute these strategies in their homes. The campaign builds on many of the recommendations included in a seminal National Research Council report including "responsible adult involvement and supervision," along with the Bush Administration call for parents to take responsibility for the online safety of their children.

Kenny said, "The support we are receiving from Verizon enables us to begin this very important and timely campaign. For millions of young people today, the Internet is an exciting vehicle that can transport them to new worlds and greatly expand their knowledge and love of learning. However, as with any new medium that transforms American culture, the Internet also demands the attention of parents to promote its effective use."

"This campaign is a wonderful initiative for a public-private partnership and we are hopeful that the Verizon grant will act as a catalyst in encouraging other foundations and the government to add their financial support to this campaign," she said.

Fred Cooke, vice president of government relations for Verizon Online Services, said, "Parental participation in their children's Internet experience is vitally important, especially in our free society. Verizon is delighted to help ICRA kick off this educational effort to help make the Internet a safer place for our children."

ICRA is an international nonprofit organization of Internet industry leaders committed to making the Internet safer for children while respecting the rights of content providers. Its long-held belief is that the best approach to protecting children online is through user empowerment. The Campaign For a Safer Internet Community is designed to create a prototype for community dialogue that can be duplicated across the country as parents and children work together to develop effective strategies and best practices for creating a safer Internet experience.

Verizon Foundation is committed to helping people and communities make progress every day. The foundation supports a variety of programs that focus on improving basic and computer literacy, bridging the digital divide, enriching communities through technology and creating a skilled work force. The foundation promotes partnerships in technology with organizations serving the needs of diverse communities, people with disabilities, and the economically and socially disadvantaged. The foundation also supports Verizon Volunteers, an incentive program that encourages Verizon employees to volunteer in their communities and provides matching gifts to nonprofit organizations. For more information on the foundation, visit

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