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Addressing Parents' Greatest Safety Concern: Bullying and Cyberbullying

by Employee on ‎11-02-2010 11:28 AM


kirk Rose 118x146.jpgTwo sets of parents in Oregon are facing third-degree assault, reckless endangering and strangulation charges for arranging, videotaping and posting on line a bloody brawl between their nine-year-old boys. The boys are in protective custody.


National outrage occurs when a Missouri mother creates a fictitious online character who posts disparaging and negative things about a teenager—driving the teen to commit suicide.  The mother’s justification:  she was trying to protect her own daughter’s reputation.


According to a national survey commissioned by, bullying and cyberbullying are the greatest fear parents have regarding their children's safety. About 30% of parents of children 12-17 years old fear bullying and cyberbullying over kidnapping, car accidents, suicide or any other incident. For parents, whose children are under 12 years old, about 27% indicate they are most afraid of bullying and cyberbullying.


Many people believe technology is to blame.


At Verizon, we have a different point of view. Good values are good values. And unfortunately, the anonymity of technology has allowed many to give over to behaviors and attitudes they otherwise would suppress in person but chose to set free in private.


That’s why we’re educating kids, teachers, parents and helping law enforcement when it comes to online safety.


Parental Controls Center

We’ve been working with Google, Common Sense Media, Connect Safely, OnGuard Online, GetNetWise and the Internet Education Foundation on a digital safety and security app for Android. Called “Net Safety”, when it is launched later this year, it will provide free, practical and current tips about digital privacy, safety and security. The tips themselves will fall into six categories: mobile, secure your devices and data, privacy, family safety, smart Android advice, and digital citizenship. You will simply download the app and select how often you want to receive the tip.  


Online safety is a key component of our Corporate Responsibility approach.  We actively promote Internet safety in our communities via town hall-style events.  Joining us in these events have been top state and civic leaders.


And, we offer numerous safeguards and security features:

  • Free content filters and other options to manage cell phone use
  • Free Parental Controls feature to manage content on FiOS TV
  • Free Parental Controls to block websites, block access to certain programs, schedule when access is available
  • Verizon was one of the first major ISPs to develop a security product (“Protect. Detect. Connect”) with firewall and anti-spam, anti-virus/spyware tools.


While  bullying is an age-old problem and the use of technology can magnify bad  behavior, we want people to be comfortable with the benefits of broadband so they can create the kind of digital experience that’s right for them and their families.

Making a Difference for Our Customers & Communities
The Responsibility Blog — Learn how Verizon is using communications technology to connect people to the larger resources of the community—education, health care, accessibility and safety—in ways that make lives better. Visit the Verizon Communications Corporate Responsibility Report. We hope you will share your views with us.

To view vital speeches given by our authors, visit our speeches page.

About the Authors

Rose Kirk

V.P. of Global Corporate Citizenship and President of the Verizon Foundation

Photo of Rose Kirk

Rose leads Verizon's global corporate responsibility initiatives and philanthropic strategy, which focuses on applying Verizon's technology to improve education, healthcare and energy management.

James Gowen

Chief Sustainability Officer/
V.P. of Services Operations

Photo of James Gowen

James oversees Verizon’s supply chain, vehicle fleet, investment recovery, purchasing and materials management and sustainability initiatives.

Jack McArtney

Director of Corporate and Community Responsibility

Photo of Rose Kirk

Jack promotes digital wellness and online safety. He works with parents, educators, service providers, application developers and industry leaders to foster responsible use of Verizon's mobile and broadband networks.

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Information on Verizon's efforts to reduce domestic violence and promote literacy and education.


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