Program helps Pennsylvanians of all ages deal with issues such as cyberbullying, identity theft, and smartphone security
Digital You is a new, comprehensive AT&T program that offers tools, tips, apps, guidance and other resources for people of all ages and levels of online experience to learn more about how to have a safe and secure online experience. Through Digital You, AT&T has collaborated with prominent national organizations such as Common Sense, The OASIS Institute and AARP to increase digital literacy, and with local organizations across the country, to assemble and promote expert online safety information in a number of formats.
In Pennsylvania, the program parallels a new state law championed by state Rep. Ron Marsico and aimed at putting a stop to cyber bullying of children.
“The Internet has improved how many of us study, work and play. Digital You was designed to further enhance that time online, with information that can help Pennsylvanians be safe, secure and savvy during virtual interactions,” said J. Michael Schweder, president of AT&T Mid Atlantic. “We want to provide information to boost newcomers’ digital literacy skills and empower them to become safer and more secure digital citizens. And, we believe it is important to collaborate with leaders like Rep. Marsico to prevent cyber bullying in communities across our Commonwealth.”
Among the resources included in the Digital You portfolio is Digital Compass™, a free interactive game developed by Common Sense to help teach 6th through 9th graders about the real-world impact of their online choices.
“Smartphones, apps and the Internet make life convenient in so many ways,” said Rep. Marsico. “But, we know that cyber bullying causes serious emotional distress to children of all ages. While cyber space appears to have emboldened bullies and made the problem much more pervasive, our new state law, combined with programs like Digital You, will enable us to take our fight against it up a notch.”
According to Marsico, House Bill 229, which Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law this summer, makes cyber harassment of a child a punishable offense. Cyber harassment may include the use of electronic communications to repeatedly make statements or offer opinions about a child’s sexuality or sexual activity or make statements about a child’s physical characteristics or mental health that are intended to and would cause serious emotional distress to a child.
Marsico added the legislation was supported by The National Character Education Foundation, the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, the Pennsylvania Juvenile Judges Commission, the Juvenile Law Center, the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, Pennsylvania Office of the Victim Advocate, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and the Pennsylvania State Police.
“The digital world presents enormous potential for our kids,” said Amy Guggenheim Shenkan, President and Chief Operating Officer of Common Sense. “The key to unlocking the promise is preparing kids to think critically and behave responsibly, respectfully, and safely. These tangible skills of digital literacy and citizenship are essential for success in life and learning in the 21st century.”
In addition to the emphasis on issues such as cyber bullying, AT&T’s Schweder said Digital You helps teach users of all ages the basics of using a smartphone or tablet, keeping online information private and secure, and activating accessibility features to support users with disabilities through training resources and tips sheets.
Thought leaders from organizations including National Consumers League, National Cyber Security Alliance, National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women, League of United Latin American Citizens, Family Online Safety Institute, The Wireless Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies, iKeepSafe, Call For Action and LGBT Technology Partnership & Institute have provided feedback, information and guidance to AT&T in the development of Digital You materials.
For more information on the resources available, check out digitalyou.att.com.
About Philanthropy and Social Innovation at AT&T
AT&T Inc. is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. In 2014, nearly $127 million was contributed or directed through corporate-, employee-, social investment- and AT&T Foundation-giving programs. AT&T Aspire is AT&T’s signature education initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism, and mentoring.