Teens Tackle Cybersecurity and Internet Safety at UCSD Summit

SAN DIEGO — June 3, 2005 — Students from across San Diego County will gather today at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), for the first computing safety and cybersecurity summit focusing on teens. As schools across the country close for the summer, the U.S. Department of Justice estimates that 77 million children will be active on the Internet. The Youth Summit for Online Safety is an effort by UCSD, i-SAFE America, Microsoft Corp. and TakingITGlobal to provide teens with the skills they need to embrace cyberspace confidently and share those skills with others.

“The Internet presents an incredible opportunity for learning as long as young people are prepared with the tools they need to be cyberstreet-smart,” said UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox. “We are delighted to be a part of this collaborative effort that brings together industry leaders and academia to provide our community’s children with the skills they need to navigate the information superhighway safely.”

The Youth Summit for Online Safety is a daylong event featuring interactive sessions designed to give students a voice and a stage to help their peers. The program acknowledges and plays into the fact that teens use technology differently; unlike adults, who generally view computers as tools for business, most teens see technology as a social enabler. As a result, they approach interactions with fewer defenses, which makes them more vulnerable to viruses, hackers, spyware, phishing, child predators and other potential online threats.

Several recent surveys by i-SAFE America confirm suspicions about teens’ false sense of security on the Internet, as demonstrated by the following statistics:

  • 14 percent of teens surveyed had met someone face to face whom they had first met online (Source: 2004–2005 survey of approximately 36,000 U.S. and Department of Defense Education and Activity (DoDEA) students in grades 5–12).

  • 19 percent are willing to do so (2004–2005).

  • 15 percent received mean or threatening messages while on the Internet (2004–2005).

  • 31 percent visited an inappropriate place on the Internet (Source: 2003–2005 combined survey of approximately 55,000 U.S. and DoDEA students in grades 5–12).

  • 31 percent say they have chatted or exchanged instant messages with someone they have not met face to face; 51 percent trusted those with whom they chatted (2003–2005).

  • 53 percent said hurtful or angry things to another person online (Source: 2004 cyberbullying survey of 1,500 U.S. students in grades 4–8).

  • 38 percent illegally copied music from the Internet (2003–2005).

“The Internet feels like a safe and anonymous haven for teens. It is important that they realize its limitations and hazards,” said Susan Koehler, senior director of consumer safety at Microsoft. “It is an interesting paradox; while teens are vulnerable, they also are very savvy users of technology. With the right knowledge and awareness, they have the potential to be a huge part of the solution when it comes to making the Internet safer.”

Planners of the UCSD event hope that through ongoing programs teens will not only apply their new skills to modify their personal habits, but also become a major force in making the Internet a safer place for their peers and their parents. The summit includes a strong call to action for teens to not only use the Internet wisely, but also to be an ambassador of safety message to friends and family.

“We live in a global economy. The Internet enables anyone to visit the most remote parts of the world through the click of a mouse,” said Teri Schroeder, CEO of i-SAFE. “The purpose of this summit is to educate and empower teens on how to be safe and successful on their journey.”

About UCSD

Nestled along the Pacific Ocean on 1,200 acres of coastal woodland, UCSD is a powerful magnet for those seeking a fresh, next-generation approach to education and research. Since its founding four decades ago, UCSD — one of the ten campuses in the world-renowned University of California system — has rapidly achieved status as one of the top institutions in the nation for higher education and research. UCSD’s interdisciplinary ethos and tradition of innovation and risk-taking underlie its research strength and ability to recruit top scholars and students.

About TakingITGlobal

TakingITGlobal.org is a global online community, providing youth with inspiration to make a difference, a source of information on issues, opportunities to take action, and a bridge to get involved locally, nationally and globally. Membership is free of charge and allows you to interact with various aspects of the website, to contribute ideas, experiences, and actions.

About i-SAFE

The United States Congress has designated i-SAFE America Inc., a non-profit Internet safety foundation, to bring Internet safety education and awareness to the youth of this country. Founded in 1998, i-SAFE is a proactive prevention-oriented Internet safety awareness program. We provide age-appropriate K-12 curriculum to schools in all 50 states FREE of charge.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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