FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 24, 2009

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COX COMMUNICATIONS’ NATIONAL TEEN SUMMIT ON INTERNET AND WIRELESS SAFETY ADDRESSES CYBERBULLYING, SEXTING AND OTHER SAFETY ISSUES

 

John Walsh and Teens Discuss Survey Results, Trends and Parental Strategy for Internet Safety at Fourth Annual Summit

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, teens from across the country gathered at the America’s Most Wanted host and children’s advocate John Walsh led the discussion with teens and, for the fourth consecutive year; the summit was held in partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC).

Walsh emphasized to teens and parents that they must be aggressive to protect themselves and loved ones online.

"Cox's survey results and the conversations with teens today at the National Teen Summit on Internet and Wireless safety both point to the same essential message -- education is key," said John Walsh. "Parents need to be very vigilant in talking with their kids about online and wireless safety, use parental controls and keep an open dialogue."

Results of a new survey conducted by Cox in conjunction with NCMEC were presented during the summit and shared via virtual media conference on BlogTalkRadio. Click Here to listen to the virtual media conference featuring John Walsh, teens and questions from callers.

Of the teens surveyed, seventy-two percent have a social networking profile, seventy-three percent have a cell phone and ninety-one percent use email. As total online and wireless activity increases, teens are exposed to additional potential risks.

"I'm excited to take Cox's cyber safety messages to Capitol Hill and back to my community," said Eric, age 18, from New Orleans. "First-hand, I've seen kids make simple mistakes that can have big consequences for their reputation and safety."

According to the survey, one in four teens know someone who has had something bad happen to them because of information posted electronically. Nearly one in five teens have bullied someone via social media, email or text message, and one in ten have been cyberbullied by someone else.

Despite widespread reports of personal photos being maliciously and widely distributed online, three in five teens have posted photos of themselves; one in five have engaged in sexting -- sending, receiving or forwarding suggestive text messaging with nude or nearly-nude photos.

Although some parents admitted to sometimes feeling guilty for being overly intrusive and protective about their teen’s wireless use, the survey results indicate that 44 percent of teens are not given any limits or controls when they go online via their cell phones.

Walsh offered the following tips for parents and guardians to protect teens online:

  • Always use parental controls like those available with Cox High Speed Internet
  • Maintain an ongoing dialogue about what your teen is doing online, who they are talking to and how they are accessing the Internet
  • Do your own research about social networking environments and Web sites your children visit
Today and tomorrow, the teens who participated in the summit will head to Capitol Hill where they will meet with senators and representatives from their respective states in an effort to bring awareness to the issue of Internet safety. The National Teen Summit of Internet and Wireless Safety is an extension of Cox Communications' ongoing Take Charge! initiative, which helps parents, guardians and kids make smarter media decisions. Click Here for surveys on teen Internet safety from the last four years, online safety tools and tips, and links to NCMEC and other resources.

Cox's Take Charge program was launched in 2004 to educate parents and guardians about the importance of Internet safety and to help families get the most out of mass media in the home. It provides scores of resources to help parents and guardians manage what their children see, and don't see, on TV and the Internet—from instructions on setting parental controls, to a guide to the lingo teens use online, to tips for more constructive conversations between parents and kids. Teaching young children and teens how to stay safer online is a major element of the Take Charge program. Thanks in part to Cox's partnership with NetSmartz.com, an educational program from NCMEC, Cox has donated more than $30 million worth of advertising time to NetSmartz and NCMEC to encourage safer online behavior among children.

About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC)
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Since it was established by Congress in 1984, the organization has operated the toll-free 24-hour national missing children’s hotline which has handled more than 2,377,000 calls. It has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 138,500 children. The organization’s CyberTipline has handled more than 699,500 reports of child sexual exploitation and its Child Victim Identification Program has reviewed and analyzed more than 23,796,800 child pornography images and videos. The organization works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice’s office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. To learn more about NCMEC, call its toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST or visit its web site at www.missingkids.com

About Cox Communications
Cox Communications is a multi-service broadband communications and entertainment company with 6.2 million total residential and commercial customers. The third-largest cable television company in the United States, Cox offers an array of advanced digital video, high-speed Internet and telephony services over its own nationwide IP network. Cox Business is a full-service, facilities-based provider of communications solutions for commercial customers, providing high-speed Internet, voice and long distance services, as well as data and video transport services for small to large-sized businesses. Cox Media offers national and local cable advertising in traditional spot and new media formats, along with promotional opportunities and production services. Cox Communications wholly owns and operates the Travel Channel. More information about the services of Cox Communications, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, is available at www.cox.com, www.coxbusiness.com, and www.coxmedia.com.

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Media Contacts:

David Grabert Director, Media Relations 404.269.7054 (w)
678.592.2258 (c)
Jennifer Seymour Weber Shandwick Worldwide 404.266.7558 (w)
770-826-5601 (c)

 

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