First Spouses and Governors From Forty-Four States Launch Children's Internet Safety Campaign
|Monday, February 28, 2005||
Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774
New iKeepSafe Coalition Unveils Book, Web Site That Introduce Cyber-Guardian For the Internet Age -- Faux Paw the Techno CatTM
Studies Show One in Five Children Using the Internet Has Received an Online Sexual Solicitation
Washington, DC, -- February 28, 2005 – First spouses, governors and officials from 45 states today announced a national campaign to teach children the essentials of Internet safety. The campaign, called the Internet Keep Safe Coalition or iKeepSafe, is a state-supported educational program that will use children’s books, web materials, and public service announcements (PSAs) to emphasize simple and memorable tips for children to stay safe online. The Coalition was launched at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. by several First Ladies and Gentlemen and other child safety and law enforcement officials taking part in the group.
Jacalyn Leavitt, former Utah first lady, wife of Secretary of Health and Human Service Mike Leavitt, and founder of the Coalition said, “The Internet is a powerful tool that most children start using regularly at a very early age, and as with any tool, we must instruct them to use it safely. As the Internet becomes a more integral part of all of our lives, I hope that this coalition’s efforts will help show children how to protect themselves from online predators.”
Recent studies show that one in five children receives an online sexual solicitation each year and 29 percent of children freely give out personal information online if asked. The Coalition’s goal is to reduce these statistics by ensuring children understand and practice safe online behavior.
Marsali Hancock, president of the Internet Keep Safe Coalition, added, “This is an unprecedented coalition of people and organizations with a shared priority of protecting our children from Internet predators. This growing threat to children and families is entirely preventable if we can just teach our kids to safeguard themselves by learning three simple rules. McGruff the Crime Dog®, the icon for the National Crime Prevention Council, has welcomed Faux Paw the Techno CatSM as his partner in taking a BYTE out of Internet crime.”
Created with input from the FBI Internet Safety Taskforce, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, early childhood educators and childhood psychologists, the Coalition’s educational program is built around three basic tips: KEEP. DON’T MEET. TELL.SM That is, KEEP your personal information protected: never give anyone online your real name, address, phone number, the name of your school, or picture of yourself. DON’T MEET anyone in person you’ve found online. And, TELL a parent or trusted adult if you see or receive anything on the computer that makes you feel uncomfortable.
At today’s event, the Coalition unveiled their Internet safety icon, Faux Paw the Techno CatTM, and a comprehensive package of educational resources for children, parents and teachers, including:
Faux PawTM : A cyber-agent for the Internet age, Faux Paw the Techno Cat,TM will become to Internet safety what McGruff the Crime Dog® is to crime prevention. Created by Robotronics, Faux PawTM will initially appear in the pages of a new children's book and Web site, but will later come to life as a costumed character that will visit schools across the country to give kids Faux Paw the Techno CatSM online safety instruction.
Faux Paw the Techno CatSM : Adventure in the Internet: A new picture book and animated story, written by Jacalyn Leavitt, tells the story of the governor’s curious cat (Faux Paw) who gets into trouble when she agrees to meet a “friend” she’s found in a chat room. The book and animated story are available for viewing online; hard copies may be ordered through the Web site.
iKeepSafe.orgSM : This new Web site offers a virtual playground of material promoting Internet safety. Parents and children can watch the Faux PawTM animated story, read the book, play games and learn Internet safety tips through Faux Paw the Techno CatSM instruction. The Web site also offers resource materials for parents and educators, including child-friendly safety quizzes, worksheets and coloring book printouts.
The Coalition will work with participating first spouses and government officials to customize the program for each individual state. The books will be tailored to include a personal letter from the first spouse and to reflect each state’s capitol building and governor. As part of the state-level programs, the Coalition hopes to distribute the book to every 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade classroom in the country as well as promote the program through PSAs and other grassroots activities.
In addition to the first spouses and governors involved in the program, the Coalition includes a growing list of crime prevention organizations, law enforcement agencies and foundations, such as the National Center for Missing & Exploited children, the FBI Internet Crimes Taskforce, the American Medical Association, the US Department of Justice, Internet Crimes against Children Taskforce, and the National Crime Prevention Council (agency home for McGruff the Crime Dog®), as well as corporate sponsors such as AOL, Bearing Point, DELL, Seibel Systems, and Target.
The Coalition is managed by The Keeper of the Flame Foundation, a 501(c)3, non-profit organization, founded by Jacalyn Leavitt, to continue her efforts promoting public health and education. Visit www.iKeepSafe.org for additional information.