Free Online Educational Resource, NetSmartz ®, Made Available to Scout Leaders
ALEXANDRIA, VA—June 1, 2011—The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) today announced it is making available its Internet safety program, NetSmartz®, to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to teach Scouts and their families how to make responsible decisions both online and in real life. The BSA is asking all Scout leaders to incorporate theNetSmartz materials into their programs and to distribute information directly to parents.
While the Internet provides vast educational and informational resources, it has also given predators a new opportunity to prey on children—even in their own homes. Talking to children so they understand the dangers is vital to their safety. Prevention is key. NCMEC offers a free Internet safety program called NetSmartz at www.netsmartz.org It uses interactive resources such as animated characters, games, and videos to empower children of all ages to make responsible decisions both online and in real life.
“Today children have more access to the Internet than ever before in history,” said Ernie Allen, president and CEO of NCMEC. “The majority of all households today have at least one computer, and we know that most teens access the Internet from multiple locations. Kids already know that the Internet is a wonderful resource. They also need to understand the potential risks and the simple things that they can do that will help them stay safe. We applaud the BSA for making this resource available to members and its focus on adapting to the evolving dangers facing children today.”
With a click of the mouse, parents can also get answers to their questions at www.netsmartz411.org about the Internet, computers, and emerging technology. Among the most frequently asked: What is a mash-up? How do I find my child’s MySpace URL? What do online abbreviations mean? Not only can they review answers already provided, but they can call 1-888-NETS411 and talk to an expert.
“Continuing to educate Scouts and their parents about Internet safety is an important component of Scouting’s long-standing commitment to the continuous enhancement of our youth protection program,” said Bob Mazzuca, Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America. “Today’s youth are spending more time than ever online—gaming and communicating with social networks. We believe NetSmartz is an important program to make available to Scouts and their parents to help them use the Internet in a safe, responsible manner.
The NetSmartz Workshop is a free online educational resource. It is a program that is widely used and enjoyed by children and teens, parents, educators, and law enforcement. Using age-appropriate activities, NetSmartz provides children with the information they need to make smarter and safer online choices. The animated spokesperson, Clicky, has been enormously popular in teaching Internet safety to youth participants. The program uses videos, games, and activity cards to educate children on how to recognize potential Internet risks and to empower children to help prevent them from being exploited.NetSmartz has been implemented in schools and school districts in all 50 U.S. states.
About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Since it was established by Congress in 1984, the organization has operated the toll-free 24-hour national missing children’s hotline, which has handled more than 3.3 million calls. It has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 163,330 children. The organization’s CyberTipline has handled more than one million reports of child sexual exploitation, and its Child Victim Identification Program has reviewed and analyzed more than 49.6 million pornography images and videos. The organization works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice’s office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. To learn more about NCMEC, call its toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST or visit its website at www.missingkids.com.
About the Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts of America prepares young people for life by providing the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. The Scouting organization is composed of 2.7 million youth members between the ages of 7 and 21 and more than a million volunteers in nearly 300 local councils throughout the United States and its territories. For more information, please visit www.scouting.org.