SOURCE: i-SAFE America

July 07, 2005 06:00 ET

Online and Off to a Cyber-Safe Summer?

Internet Safety Month Ends, Online Awareness Begins

CARLSBAD, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- July 7, 2005 -- As summer ensues and Internet Safety Month ceases, i-SAFE America, a leading non-profit Internet safety foundation, reminds every Internet user that online dangers can heat up during the summer.

"Summer break means more free time for students," said Teri Schroeder, founder and CEO of i-SAFE. "More and more students spend their spare time on the Internet and that can be dangerous if they are unsupervised and uneducated."

i-SAFE provides age-appropriate K-12 curriculum on Internet safety to schools in all 50 states during the school year. During the summer, i-SAFE focuses on updating curriculum to keep up with the ever-changing World Wide Web and helping students stay safe while away from the classroom.

A recent i-SAFE survey reveals that 33% of students say e-mail, chat rooms and instant messaging are the main ways they stay in touch with friends. Combined with the growing popularity of online communities and the trend for underage students to create revealing profiles and blogs, the result can be trouble.

"Sites like MySpace.com and Xanga.com encourage students to use the Internet as a social tool, where many will have positive experiences," Schroeder said. "But we know of too many instances where students have posted extensive personal information, just short of drawing a map to their house, when all it really takes is a few identifiers for the wrong person to find them."

While the companies that host these online communities generally post age limits, underage students easily gain access, as is the case with some of the students that have been in touch with i-SAFE. Schroeder said these companies must do a better job of segregating adult members from minors.

"A simple search on either of these sites can turn up the full names of users and their friends as well as the schools they attend," Schroeder said. "For predators, this is a great resource. For those who care about youths, it's a nightmare."

Schroeder also recommends these sites post Internet safety tips for students and parents on their front page, adding that any company that fails to do so is putting children and teens at risk of abduction or worse.

"It all comes back to youth safety," Schroeder said. "We are not at odds with companies that offer online social venues for kids. On the contrary, we extend an offer to work with them to make their sites safer, and we'll work with them on solutions to keep adults away from minors."

About i-SAFE America

Founded in 1998 and active in all 50 states, i-SAFE America Inc. is the leader in Internet safety education. i-SAFE is a non-profit foundation whose mission is to educate and empower youth to make their Internet experiences safe and responsible. The goal is to educate students on how to avoid dangerous, inappropriate, or unlawful online behavior. i-SAFE accomplishes this through dynamic K-12 curriculum and community outreach programs to parents, law enforcement, and community leaders. It is the only Internet safety foundation to combine these elements. www.isafe.org

i-SAFE America Inc. is designated a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charitable organization by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. i-SAFE America Inc. is funded by the U.S. Congress through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, Department of Justice.

Contact Information

  • i-SAFE Media Contact:
    Brook Larios
    Public Relations Manager
    Phone: (760) 603-7911 Ext. 31
    Email: Email Contact