Microsoft Announces Two New Internet Safety Web Sites For Children, Parents and Consumers

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 27, 2000 — As part of its long-standing Internet safety efforts and in light of ongoing privacy concerns among parents, Microsoft Corp. today launched two new Web sites designed to promote increased safety and privacy on the Internet: the Stay Safe Online Web site for children and parents, and the Safe Internet privacy and security fundamentals portal for consumers. Stay Safe Online is a fun, interactive safety education program led by Shaquille O’Neal and Tara Lipinski, and Safe Internet is a resource offering tools and answers that address commonly asked questions about protecting personal information online.

These online safety tools reflect a growing concern about online safety among parents, as detailed in a new study titled
“Web Savvy and Safety: How Kids and Parents Differ in What They Know, Whom They Trust.”
The study, sponsored by Microsoft, found that parents are very concerned that their children will visit inappropriate Web sites or make inappropriate contact online with a stranger. According to the study, parents are unsure of what tools and policies are available for them to help guide and regulate their children’s Internet experience. Although the study found that both parents and older children read a Web site’s privacy policies, not even one in five are sure if the site is abiding by its own policies. According to the study, over half of the parents and teens interviewed are very concerned about getting a computer virus online or having credit card information intercepted by a third party. Finally, the study showed that parents find it very difficult to keep up with their children’s knowledge and activity on the Internet, which leads to a desire to overcome their sense of helplessness.

“The Web is a phenomenal information resource for kids today, but parents and educators must equip children with the right skills and information to make smart choices,”
said John Litten, program manager for youth and learning at Microsoft.
“The Stay Safe Online and Safe Internet sites do just that, providing both parents and children not only with clear ground rules for using the Internet, but with helpful aids so that old and young alike can maneuver online with peace of mind.”

Stay Safe Online

Stay Safe Online leads kids through a 15-minute animated tutorial that teaches basic safe surfing skills. Available at , the program focuses on three strategies to help ensure that kids have a positive, safe online experience: education, adult supervision and technology. The tutorial is free of charge (connect-time charges may apply for some users depending on their Internet service).

The tutorial starts with a welcome by Olympic ice-skating gold medalist Tara Lipinski, who talks directly to young people about the need to be safe online. A cartoon version of National Basketball Association star Shaquille O’Neal then leads children through the program, teaching six important guidelines for online safety. At the end of the program, children are quizzed on their knowledge of these guidelines and receive a Stay Safe Online certificate after they have answered all the questions correctly.

“Most of the fans who visit my Web site are 11 to 15 years old,”
Lipinski said.
“I want to make sure that when kids are using the Internet, they know which sites are safe and which are not. Kids love computer games, and Stay Safe Online is a wonderful way to introduce them to the idea of online safety.”

The Stay Safe Online tutorial is a joint effort by Microsoft and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The tutorial has been tested in 15 rural and urban Boys & Girls Clubs technology centers across the country.

Stay Safe Online teaches kids six important principles for staying safe on the Internet:

  • Always be respectful of others.

  • Never give out personal information.

  • Always remember that you are responsible for your actions online.

  • Always follow the instructions of the computer room supervisor (or teacher or parent).

  • Never agree to meet in person with people you talk to online.

  • Never visit off-limits Web sites.

Safe Internet: Privacy and Security Fundamentals

Microsoft’s Safe Internet site, located at , offers helpful answers to consumers’ most commonly asked questions about protecting their information online. The site addresses common concerns such as the following:

  • “What do we need to know to protect our family’s privacy when browsing the Web?”

  • “Are DSL and cable modems secure connections to the Internet?”

  • “What are cookies?”

  • “How do I know that my online shopping transaction keeps my credit card information safe?”

The Safe Internet site offers a vast array of information on best practices for security and privacy, as well as information on Microsoft and third-party products designed to help users control and secure their information and customize their own online experience.

“In an era where information is a commodity, consumers deserve straightforward answers on how they can remain in control of their personal information online,”
said Richard Purcell, director of Corporate Privacy at Microsoft.
“Safe Internet is a one-stop resource of privacy and security tools for users, be they moms and dads, businesspersons or busy holiday shoppers.”

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software –
any time, any place and on any device.

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