Brook Schaub, International trainer for online safety and computer crimes for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, announces a new online classroom designed to help parents protect their children.
One in seven youth online is sexually solicited, and one in three youth will encounter unwanted exposure to sexually explicit material online, according to a recent study conducted by the University of New Hampshire.
To combat unwanted contact over the Internet, Qwest is joining the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to establish an "online classroom."
The Online Classroom provides educational guidelines and learning resources for parents and guardians to help reduce the incidence of online victimization.
"The Washington Attorney General's office has worked hard to strengthen laws to keep sex predators out of our neighborhoods and communities, but the Internet can be a tougher place to police, so families need to help," said Rob McKenna, Washington Attorney General.
"As a father of four, I'm pleased to support Qwest in this important program and encourage Washington families to join us and learn to be safer on the Internet."
The Washington Online Safety Coalition, created by Qwest to raise awareness in Washington, is calling for 10,000 parents and guardians to become informed about online safety issues within one year. They can receive prevention tips through the Qwest Connected Family Online Classroom.
"As a leader in online safety education, Qwest believes proactive education is the key to safer use of the Internet as more children go online to communicate and learn, especially during the school year," said Paula Kruger, executive vice president, Qwest mass markets group.
"To encourage education, Qwest and coalition members are asking parents and guardians to visit the online classroom to complete the Parent Safety-Net Test and become certified," she said.
The Qwest Connected Family Online Classroom was co-developed by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and is available on the Internet at www.incredibleinternet.com/onlinesafety. The following tools are available in English and Spanish:
• Online certification: Become online safety certified by reviewing expert tips, articles, videos and downloadable safety kits;
• The Connected Family Kit — to help families get the most out of technology while using it safely and effectively;
• The Parent Safety Net Test — an interactive quiz that provides parents and guardians with instant feedback on how to help keep children safer when using the Internet.
For families who participate in the online safety certification activity, Qwest will donate up to $20,000 to Washington schools. A $1,000 grant will go to each of the 20 Washington schools that have the highest percentage of parents and guardians certified by next March 31.
"Education is the first step that parents and guardians should take to help make their children safer online," said Brook Schaub, international trainer, online safety and computer crimes, for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
"We are proud to partner with Qwest to provide tools like the Qwest Connected Family Online Classroom that can help parents prepare their families for the possible dangers they may encounter online."
Since 2003, Qwest has partnered with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to raise awareness among families about online safety issues.
Qwest is expanding its online safety program nationally and throughout its 14-state western region.
Members of the safety coalition are:
• Paula Kruger, Qwest executive vice president, mass markets group, leader of the Qwest Online Safety Program;
• Kirk Nelson, Qwest Washington state president;
• Rob McKenna, Washington attorney general;
• Brook Schaub, international expert and trainer, online safety and computer crimes, for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children;
• Mary Daybell, office of the Washington superintendent of public instruction, deputy superintendent and chief information officer;
• Chief John R. Batiste, Washington State Patrol;
• Mike Flood, Seattle Seahawks, vice president, community relations;
• Deb Morgan, Washington Parent Teacher Association vice president;
• Ed Striedinger, Washington Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force;
• Mark Green, Seattle Public Schools, chief operating officer; and
• Irene Stewart, Seattle School Board, director.
Chief John R. Batiste, of the Washington State Patrol, shares ideas about online safety. Batiste is one of the coalition members involved with the Qwest Connected Family Online Classroom.