FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, May 14, 2009

 

COX’S NEW SURVEY ON CYBER-SAFETY FINDS MANY TEENS GOING ONLINE WIRELESSLY WITHOUT LIMITS OR CONTROLS

 

Children's Advocate John Walsh to Lead Teens in Discussion of Cyberbullying, Sexting and Other Cyber-Safety Risks at Cox’s Annual National Teen Summit on Internet Safety

 

ATLANTA – For the fifth consecutive year, Cox Communications, in partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) and America’s Most Wanted host and children's advocate John Walsh, will present the results of a new survey on the behavior of young people online. This year, the survey also looks at teen behavior using wireless devices.MEC).

Under the auspices of Cox’s Take Charge! program, the partners are helping parents understand the potential dangers of the Internet and learn ways they can help keep their kids safer online. The initiative includes both the survey about teen behavior and a frank discussion with a teen focus group at the Cox Communications’ Annual National Summit on Internet Safety.

WHAT: Cox Communications’ Annual National Teen Summit on Internet Safety

WHEN: Wednesday, June 24, 2009

    • Teen Summit at 9:00 a.m.
    • Virtual Media Conference at 10:45 a.m.

WHERE: National Cable & Telecommunications Association
25 Massachusetts Avenue, NW – Suite 100
Washington, DC 20001

Key results from the survey conducted by Harris Interactive among a representative sampling of U.S. teens between the ages of thirteen and eighteen years include:

  • Technology enabled: Ninety-one percent of teens have an email address and 60 percent have an instant messenger screen name. Seventy-three percent of teens have a cell phone and 59 percent have a digital camera.
  • Acceptance of Social Networking: Seventy-two percent of teens surveyed have online profiles on social networking sites where many have posted photos of themselves and their friends, along with personal information.
  • Conflicted over Safety: Most teens surveyed are aware and concerned about the risks of putting personal information out in the open. Fifty-nine percent say having personal information or photos on a public site is unsafe, and 26 percent say they know someone who has had something bad happen to them because of this. Still, 62 percent of teens post photos of themselves on blogs or social networking sites and greater than 40 percent name their school or the city in which they live.
  • Prevalent Cyberbullying: More than one-third of teens surveyed have been cyberbullied, perpetrated cyberbullying or know of friends who have experienced or perpetrated it, and 68 percent think it is a serious problem. About 4 in 5 teens (81 percent) think that bullying online is easier to get away with or to hide from their parents than bullying in person.
  • Engaging in Sexting: Nineteen percent of teens surveyed have engaged in sexting -- sending, receiving or forwarding sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude photos through text message or email. Sixty percent of teens who sent sexts say they send photos to their boyfriend/girlfriend, but 11 percent say they have sent sexts(1) to someone they don’t even know. Eighty-one percent of teen sexters are under 18.
  • Online wirelessly: Nineteen percent of teens surveyed go online via their cell phone and 19 percent say their parents are unaware. The vast majority of teens (80 percent) whose parent know they go online via their cell phone say they are not given any limits or controls -- far fewer than are given boundaries on their desktop PC or laptop.
"Teens are not only online, they are active in every nuance of cyberspace. Many have no controls over what they do online and of those who do, nearly 30% figure ways around the boundaries set by their parents," said John Walsh. "Those parents who have been vigilant over their kids’ use of the Internet via their computers, haven’t extended their watch to their kids’ use of the wireless devices, which are increasingly offering predators all the access they need to our precious and vulnerable young ones. Teens are prone to choosing risky behaviors even though they know better, so parents must continue to regularly talk with their children and monitor their activities." At the June 24th summit, Walsh will lead teen participants from Cox Communications’ markets across the country in a discussion of cyber-safety and ways parents, guardians and teen mentors can help children stay safer online. Results of the survey and information from teen discussion at the summit will be presented immediately following during the live virtual media conference (details to be announced via media alert immediately prior); Walsh and select teens will be available to answer questions. Teens participating in the Summit will also deliver the news directly to Capitol Hill in meetings with members of Congress on June 25th.

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.

About Cox's Take Charge Initiative:

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’s’ use of the TV, Internet and wireless devices -- 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 the NetSmartz® Workshop, NCMEC's Internet safety resource available at www.NetSmartz.org. Cox has donated more than $30 million worth of advertising time to NetSmartz and NCMEC to encourage safer online behavior among children. More information on Take Charge! is available at www.Cox.com/TakeCharge.

About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children:

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 688,500 reports of child sexual exploitation and its Child Victim Identification Program has reviewed and analyzed more than 22,829,500 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 the Survey

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Cox Communications between April 9 and 21, 2009 among 655 U.S. teens ages 13-18. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.

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Media Contacts:

David Grabert Director, Media Relations 404.269.7054
Jennifer Seymour Weber Shandwick Worldwide 404.266.7558
NCMEC Communications 703.837.6111