Leaders Join Hands for Online Safety of Youth

In an effort to educate teens about how to be smart about what they post and share online, the Ad Council has embarked upon a new collaborative initiative, the Internet Safety Coalition.

It is developed to provide research-based messages to teens and their parents.

The collaboration will utilize the collective strengths of corporate marketers, the media, non-profit organizations and foundations to promote safe online and digital practices.

Coalition members include AOL, AT&T, Comcast, Google, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, IBM, Microsoft, MTV Networks, MySpace, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, The New York Times Company, Time Warner, Inc., Verizon Wireless, The Wireless Foundation and Yahoo! Inc., as well as other leading cybersafety organizations.

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“We know that targeted and consistent communications programs have the power to change attitudes and behaviors regarding a multitude of social issues,” said Peggy Conlon, president & CEO of The Advertising Council.

“By providing a range of organizations with research-based messages, this effort will encourage teens to be smart about what they post, which will ultimately help keep our children safer.”

Based on quantitative research and feedback from teens, the Ad Council and the Internet Safety Coalition members worked with Merkley + Partners to develop a program entitled “Beware What You Share,” which communicates to teens that posting information online isn’t private, and if they wouldn’t broadcast it in real life, then it’s not smart to share it online or digitally, where it can be passed on and will remain forever.

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Creative materials, developed by GrapeVine Productions, have been tested with teens and feature the tagline, “If you wouldn’t wear it, don’t share it.” Materials include online videos, Web banners, logo visuals, brochure templates and social media messaging.

Members will incorporate these messages into their marketing and communications efforts, such as online content and campaigns, advertising, social media channels, consumer promotions, grassroots programs, collateral materials and at conferences.

Several members have stepped up and made early commitments to integrate the creative materials into their communications platforms, informed The Advertising Council Wednesday, Nov. 3.

The Internet Safety Coalition is funded by AT&T, Google, Interactive Advertising Bureau, Microsoft and The Wireless Foundation.

The Coalition’s effectiveness will be measured by a tracking study and online audit conducted by the Ad Council. For more information about the coalition, you can visit www.internetsafetypartners.org.

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