FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 19, 2010
Kirsten Voinis, (512) 922-7141, or firstname.lastname@example.org
TEXAS CABLE COMPANIES OFFER TOOLS, TIPS TO HELP PROTECT KIDS
WHEN ONLINE OR WATCHING TELEVISION
TCA works with Attorney General Abbott on online safety initiatives
As children go back to school, Texas cable operators are helping parents, educators and others take proactive steps to help shield children from viewing objectionable content while surfing the Internet or watching television. In addition, a new national report issued by a cable industry partner offers information on how to help protect children from the growing problem of cyberbullying.
“We honor the decision of parents to protect their children from content they may deem as objectionable and we take measures every day to provide our customers with the tools to keep their families safe,” said Texas Cable Association Chairman John Owen, vice president of business class for Time Warner Cable Texas.
The Texas Cable Association has partnered with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on his initiatives to combat the efforts of cyberpredators who use the Internet to target their child victims. One in seven children will be solicited for sex online in the next year, according to a study cited by the Texas Attorney General’s Office.
“Technology-savvy child predators are using the Internet to prey upon young children,” Attorney General Abbott said. “Parents, educators and students must arm themselves with the tools and information they need to thwart these dangerous Internet predators. This isn’t merely a back-to-school reminder, but something all Texans must all remember every day of the year.”
A timely white paper by Cable in the Classroom partner Common Sense Media outlines the growing problem of cyberbulling – bullying that can take place via the Internet or other technology. A McAfee/Harris Interactive survey found that 29 percent of 10- to 17-year-olds said they’ve been cyberbullied, and 52 percent said they know someone who has experienced cyberbullying.
The report, “Cyberbullying – Damage in a Digital Age,” offers prevention tips for parents, educators, policymakers and others and can be found at www.ncta.com.
Texas cable operators are actively promoting online safety in their communities:
Since 2007 Suddenlink Communications has worked with Amarillo ISD and Student Crime Stoppers on “Amarillo CSI: Connect Safely on the Internet” Program that addresses cyber-bullying, online harassment, sexting and home security software. Program materials can be found at www.suddenlink.com/netsafety.
In Tyler, Suddenlink built the Suddenlink Cyber Café in the Discovery Science Center to teach Internet safety skills to kids and parents. The Tyler system also is involved in the Raising Awareness for Internet Safety and Education (RAISE) program and offers Internet safety trainings at events throughout the community. The next event is set for early October at the Girl Power Summit.
Charter Communications presents Internet safety programs in the Fort Worth area, including an annual presentation to the Fort Worth Council of PTAs, next set for Sept. 25.
Comcast offers the Comcast Security Channel, www.comcast.net/security, to customers as an online resource about parental controls to help protect children from cyber bullying, harassment and online predators. Visitors to the site are encouraged to take the Cyber Summer Safety Challenge, developed to get parents, teens and kids to start a dialogue about Internet safety.
In the home, the cable industry has developed easy-to-use technologies and parental control resources, including media literacy education and advanced TV channel and Web site blocking tools.
Cable operators have invested more than $500 million dollars in public service announcements to educate consumers about cable’s parental controls, the V-chip and the TV ratings system. Technology built into set-top boxes that the majority of cable customers already have, plus an enhanced TV ratings system, enable parents to take charge of what their children watch on television. More information about available tools and resources can be found at www.controlyourtv.org, or from your cable operator.
The cable industry continues to promote its “Cable Puts You in Control: PointSmart.Click Safe” initiative to educate parents and consumers about online safety and the appropriate use of the Internet by children. More on this comprehensive program can be found at www.PointSmartClickSafe.org.