AG's Internet Safety Program Wins National AwardContact: Rusty Hills, Media Contact 517-373-8060 Agency: Attorney General
May 13, 2008
ROYAL OAK − Attorney General Mike Cox's Michigan Cyber Safety Initiative (Michigan CSI), the nation's most comprehensive Internet safety education program for school children, today received the Internet Keep Safe Award from iKeepSafe, a national Internet safety organization based in Washington, D.C.
In a report card on the program's first year, Cox also announced that more than 200,000 kindergarten through eighth grade students from almost 200 districts located in 63 of Michigan's 83 counties, including tens of thousands from public and private schools in metro Detroit, have benefited from presentations. The AG's office also delivered more than 100 community presentations statewide, including presentations at Michigan State University and Ford Motor Company.
"To protect our children, we need an offensive and defensive strategy," Cox noted. "On offense, my Criminal Division has arrested almost 200 Internet Predators, including more than two dozen in a recent joint Internet predator sting with Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans and Van Buren Township. But no matter how aggressive we are, the State of Michigan can never arrest its way out of this problem."
"That's where Michigan CSI comes in. It enables us to play strong defense, by providing practical tips and tools for children, teachers and parents on how to stay safe online," Cox said. "Our children are part of the cyber-generation. They grow up faster, and are exposed to threats our generation never even imagined. So we need new tools to fight these new threats − and no tool is more powerful than education."
"As the Internet continues to involve and become more integrated in our lives, it is important that we empower youth to be cautious and make intelligent decisions online," said Marsali Hancock, President of iKeepSafe. "We are proud to partner with Attorney General Mike Cox and honor his dedication to delivering the message of Internet safety to parents and children to help them navigate the Internet safely."
The community seminar has been made available through the "On Demand" feature of Comcast, as well as online at www.michigan.gov/csi.
"Comcast is committed to keeping kids safe in a wired world, and we are proud to be a partner in Michigan Attorney General Cox's Cyber Safety Initiative as well as a national partner with iKeepSafe", said Mike Brady, Vice President of Government Affairs for Comcast's Midwest Division. "The programming we televised on Comcast's Channel One On Demand has helped to extend this program beyond the classroom by educating parents and teachers about the risks our kids face online and how to best protect them from the dangers that exist on the Internet."
Today's announcement took place at Royal Oak Middle School, the very same site at which the Michigan CSI program was launched in September of 2007. According to Royal Oak School Superintendent Dr. Thomas Moline: "The School District of The City of Royal Oak was honored in the fall of 2007 to be the starting point for Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox's Cyber Safety Initiative. Our students, their siblings and parents are now far more aware of the risky detours and dangers that one can encounter while traveling the digital information super-highway."
Demand for the Michigan CSI program remains strong. As of May 1st, more than 42 school districts have registered for CSI presentations next year, representing 57,978 students.
Material from the Michigan CSI presentations can be accessed on the Attorney General's website, www.michigan.gov/ag, under the Michigan CSI heading. The Michigan CSI home page provides a wealth of material, including a summary explanation of the program, handouts from the presentations, and an online registration form.
The online tutorials give detailed audio and visual instructions on how to search for and access a child's MySpace or Facebook account, view Internet history logs to determine where a child has been online, and turn on Google and Yahoo! safe surfing filters.
"The cost of CSI to our department so far this year has been just 51 cents per student. But the cost of saving just one student from meeting an Internet Predator − that truly is priceless," Cox said.
Parents and community members can also report suspicious or dangerous contact on the Internet by accessing the Attorney General's website, clicking on the Michigan CSI homepage, then clicking on the button marked, "Report Internet Abuses Against A Child."
Comcast Corporation ( http://www.comcast.com ) is the nation's leading provider of cable, entertainment and communications products and services. With 24.2 million cable customers, 12.9 million high-speed Internet customers, and 4.1 million voice customers, Comcast is principally involved in the development, management and operation of broadband cable systems and in the delivery of programming content.
The Internet Keep Safe Coalition ( www.iKeepSafe.org ) is a broad partnership of governors, first spouses or attorneys general from all 50 states, the FBI, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, the NEA, National PTA and corporate sponsors, dedicated to keeping children safe online. The Coalition provides parent tutorials and educational resources, including the Faux Paw, the Techno Cat Internet safety series of books, and animated films for children. Coalition materials are distributed throughout the United States with pilot programs launching this year in China, India and Australia.
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Michigan CSI Report Card