Jun. 1, 2011 (Business Wire) — AVG Technologies, Inc. today announced it will make its leading Family Safety software available for free in exchange for a 99 cent donation to the American Red Cross family relief efforts in Joplin, Mo. The move comes in response to research the company conducted and has released over the course of the year on early childhood technology usage trends, “Digital Diaries,” and is complemented with the release of a first-of-its-kind e-book and mobile application for teaching very young children the basics of online safety, Little Bird’s Internet Security Adventure. AVG CEO JR Smith is making appearances across the country today urging parents to consider introducing their child to Little Bird to help them learn about online safety.
“The data in the latest wave of our research is compelling. We must start talking to our children about online safety before we hand them an Internet-enabled device,” said Smith. “Unintentionally, we’re all likely to have handed our child a cell phone or Internet-enabled device with the only hint of concern being for the device itself. So, we need to approach our children’s first exposures to technology like we do with any other activity having associated risks, and instill a culture of safety and awareness. We wouldn’t teach our children to ride a bike without a helmet or ride in a car without a seat belt. Likewise, parents need to appropriate tools for teaching young children about the risks of the Internet and to put them on a path that will promote a lifetime of good practices.”
Roughly half of today’s children (ages 6-9) are regularly talking to their friends online and using social networks, yet 58 percent of their parents admit they are not well-informed about their children’s online social networks. The “Digital Playground,” the third stage of AVG’s year-long “Digital Diaries” research program, further reveals the increasingly digitally-literate group of 6- to 9-year-olds and their parents in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand to find that:
Smith believes that there is an added benefit to focusing on young children. By instilling the right behaviors at the start, he believes the next generation of young users could be instrumental in battling Internet crime. “When we instituted car seat and seat belt laws, we may have ‘regulated’ adults, but in the process, we created a generation of kids that grew up with the mindset that seatbelts were simply a routine part of riding in a car. I think we can do the same thing with Internet safety and very quickly drive a cultural shift that ultimately will begin to close the doors on Internet crime.”
Little Bird’s Internet Security Adventure, a new digital book written by the company’s Policy Officer, Siobhan MacDermott, will help teach preschool children about the many dangers lurking online so that as their online engagement evolves, they are prepared with guidance to handle the situations they may encounter. Throughout Little Bird’s journey home to talk to her grandmother on the computer, she meets young zoo friends who have questions or concerns about online behavior. From dealing with an online bully, computer viruses, “yucky pictures” and requests from strangers for personal information, Little Bird has a simple solution that teaches children to stay on guard and always keep their parents informed.
The new book will be available soon online in Kindle, iPad and desktop versions at www.avg.com/avg-family-safety, just in time to educate and protect children spending more and more time online this summer. The company also has pledged book donations to regional Head Start organizations and other early childhood educators as part of a worldwide multilingual initiative.
In addition to educating and supervising young children, all parents can add an extra layer of protection with AVG Family Safety, a premier download now available with a 99 cent donation to the American Red Cross family relief efforts in Joplin, Mo. AVG Family Safety allows parents to set up age appropriate controls for each of their children. From simple time online enforcement tools, to more sophisticated technology enabling parents to see who their child is talking to across social networks such as Facebook, MySpace and Bebo, AVG Family Safety is designed to be a resource that is customizable to a specific family’s needs. The program filters unwanted communication from online predators and cyber-bullying on more than 80 different social networks.
About AVG “Digital Diaries” Campaign
The first stage of AVG’s Digital Diaries campaign, “Digital Birth,” covered children from birth to age 2. The study, released in October 2010, found that on average infants acquire a digital identity by the age of 6-months-old. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of children have even had their pre-birth scans uploaded to the Internet by their parent – having a digital footprint even before birth. The second stage, “Digital Skills,” was released in January 2011 to show that for 2- to 5-year-olds ‘tech’ skills are increasingly replacing ‘life’ skills. In fact, many toddlers could use a mouse and play a computer game, but could not ride a bike, swim or tie their shoelaces.
For more information about AVG Family Safety and Little Bird’s Internet Security Adventure
AVG is a global security software maker protecting more than 110 million consumers and small businesses in 170 countries from the ever-growing incidence of Web threats, viruses, spam, cyber-scams and hackers on the Internet. AVG has nearly two decades of experience in combating cyber crime and one of the most advanced laboratories for detecting, pre-empting and combating Web-borne threats from around the world. Its free, downloadable software allows novice users to have basic anti-virus protection and then easily upgrade to greater levels of safety and defense when they are ready. AVG has nearly 6,000 resellers, partners and distributors globally including Amazon.com, CNET, Ingram Micro, Play.com, Wal-Mart, and Yahoo!
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