(Phoenix, Ariz. – April 23, 2009) – Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard has launched an Internet safety training program for educators and law enforcement officials across the state. The program will be implemented in 50 schools in Arizona to help students and parents better understand safe use of the Internet and other new communications technology.
Goddard was joined at the Phoenix launch today by representatives from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which represents the U.S. computer and video game industry, and Web Wise Kids, a national non-profit organization dedicated to promoting child Internet safety. A similar kickoff took place for Tucson educators on Monday. Educators and officials who received the training will take the program to school districts across the state and begin using it with students.
“The Internet is a great tool that enables our students to learn new ideas and explore the world. However, just like the ‘real world,’ the Internet has its dangers – especially for young people,” Goddard said. “Using exciting virtual games to teach students how to stay safe in the virtual world holds great promise. I am happy to partner with Web Wise Kids and the ESA to bring these games to 50 schools and communities across Arizona.”
The safety program includes a series of three customized video games – Missing, Mirror Image,and Air Dogs – that teach students how to be safe and responsible online. The games prepare parents and children to recognize and deal with online predators and other dangerous situations such as modeling scams and illegal downloading.
“The ESA is proud to provide the resources to launch this cutting edge initiative in Arizona,” said Sally Jefferson, vice president of the ESA. “Working together, we believe this program will help educators teach Arizona’s youth how to stay safe online. We applaud Attorney General Goddard’s leadership on this issue and appreciate the opportunity to help protect Arizona’s children.”
Missing is a detective style game that challenges students to find a boy who spent hours in chat rooms and then disappeared. Mirror Image addresses issues like modeling scams, online romances, cyber stalking, chat rooms and Trojan horses. Air Dogs addresses the issues of cyber crimes, piracy, illegal downloading, intellectual property rights and other challenges facing students today.
“We are excited to be part of this important initiative that will help to educate and empower students with the knowledge and programs to safely navigate the Internet,” said Monique Nelson, COO of Web Wise Kids. “Our goal is to create a safer, friendlier online experience for millions of young people, and Attorney General Goddard is taking us one step closer to accomplishing that shared goal for Arizona.”
This program is the latest addition to Goddard’s ongoing Internet safety education initiative to help students, parents and educators learn practical skills to keep Arizona young people safe online. In 2005, he launched the Attorney General’s Internet Safety Schools Tour. Since then, he and his staff have spoken with thousands of middle school students and parents in dozens of schools across Arizona.
In 2001, the ESA began working with Web Wise Kids to promote child Internet safety. Their collaboration resulted in the development of video games that teach students how to maintain a high standard of personal safety and responsibility online. The ESA is working with parents, school administrators, and elected officials to make these games available in schools across the country.