Sue Scheff: Girl Scouts of the USA and Microsoft Windows Launch Online Safety Campaign

girlscoutsSource: Press Release Today by Girl Scouts of the USA

NEW YORK, NY — 05/20/09 — Are you looking for new and innovative ideas that can help you get up to speed with online issues teens face every day? Maybe your teenager is looking for ways to get more involved with issues that pressure them online daily. If you answered “yes” you are certainly not alone. Girl Scouts of the USA and Microsoft Windows joined forces to create LMK (text speak for “let me know”) — an online safety resource where girls are the technology experts on subjects that are often best discussed at a teen-to-teen level, like cyberbullying, predators and social networking. This girl-led campaign allows girls to share their online concerns with peer “tech-perts” about the issues that affect them while raising awareness about how to keep girls (ages 13-17) safe while surfing the Web. In addition, parents have access to a site specifically geared to their needs, equipping them with the tools necessary to understand and act on the rapidly changing world of online safety.

 For most teen girls today, being online is part of a daily routine. Shannon, a member of the LMK editorial team, notes: “Now we have a chance to teach our parents a thing or two about the real issues we face every day.”

The campaign includes an interactive Web site for girls, as well as an e-newsletter and Web site for adults. Each month, the all-girl editorial board explores a different internet safety topic online and then shares what they learned in the e-newsletter which is distributed to adults the following month. The e-newsletter and parent site are designed to provide timely guidance and also serve as a tool to help families have open and honest conversations about the dangers that lurk in cyberspace. In addition, the girls’ Web site features forums, articles, quizzes, polls and a Question & Answer column from internet safety expert Parry Aftab. The program is open to everyone, Girl Scouts and non-Girl Scouts alike, as well as any adult who wants to learn about internet safety.

 

 

While the full scope of online threats, such as cyberbullying, are difficult to measure, we do know that nearly one in six U.S. children grades six to 10 is a victim of online bullying each year, according to the National Council of Juvenile Court Judges. Bullying is not “just a phase,” nor is it behavior in which “kids will be kids.” The repercussions of cyberbullying can be so grave that 14 U.S. states have passed or are proposing laws to make it a crime.

With detailed advice and information about online safety issues written by teen girls, this partnership between the Girl Scouts of the USA and Microsoft Windows provides resources for both teens and parents.

For more information, please visit the Web site for girls at: http://lmk.girlscouts.org

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