The whole world has become increasingly wired, with Internet access seemingly available to everyone, including teenagers. While this has allowed teens to connect with valuable sources of information and keep in touch with peers from around the globe, there are considerable dangers present in the free flowing Internet superhighway.
According to research conducted by the Crimes Against Children Research Center for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), youth Internet users face online victimization that comes in various forms. Most notably, one in seven youths are sexually solicited online and one-third experience unwanted exposure to sexual materials.
To help teens better understand the risks associated with the Internet and to educate parents, guardians and teachers, Sprint has launched the 4NetSafety program in partnership with NCMEC and the National Education Association Health and Information Network. The initiative offers free resources designed to help teens understand the impact of online decisions and the potential dangers they face. The project also intends to help educators implement Internet safety education and keep parents informed of potential online risks. The oh-so-cool teen resources address issues through comic book-style characters who model safe online practices. The not-quite-as-cool adult resources include safety tips, suggested activities and discussion ideas that are designed to accompany the teen resources. The initiative also incorporates a free bi-monthly newsletter that provides information teaching pre-teens how to navigate safely.