A new public awareness campaign launched today in Rochester, aiming to teach area youth about safe and smart cell phone use. The campaign is a partnership between INOBTR (“I Know Better”), a non-profit organization focused on educating kids through public awareness to keep them safe, and the Internet Keep Safe Coalition (iKeepSafe), a non-profit international alliance focused on teaching youth about using new media devices and platforms in safe and healthy ways. The Internet Keep Safe Coalition also partnered with the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), which is home to leading researchers in the area of child internet and cell phone use, the Center for Media and Child Health at Children’s Hospital at Boston, and Woogi World, a virtual school for K-6 students. Funding for this campaign comes from a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).
Cell phone ownership among children under the age of 12 is increasing rapidly, and today’s cell phones have capabilities that go beyond just calling and texting to include taking and sharing photos as well as playing games and surfing the web. Without learning key lessons about safe and smart cell phone use, a cell phone can become a distraction, a social impediment and even a danger. This campaign teaches young people where and when to use a cell phone, and what conversations should happen in person, as opposed to via phone call or text message.
In partnership, iKeepSafe, RIT, CMCH and Woogi World developed this educational program which offers professional development for teachers, resources for parents, and educational games for students focused on six principles of cell phone use:
1. Identity/Reputation Presentation and Monitoring: use cell phones to portray yourself in safe, healthy, and fun ways while protecting both identity and reputation;
2. Relationship Management—Online and Offline: maintain relationships using communication that best balances clarity and convenience for a healthy interaction in a given situation;
3. Multitasking: focus on one activity at a time, as appropriate, so you can actually do more, have more fun, and stay safer;
4. Domains of Use: learn strategies for non-disruptive phone use that also keeps you connected and entertained;
5. Responsibilities to Self, Family, and the Law: learn how to use cell phones in ways that do not put yourself or your families at risk;
6. Maximize the positives: learn the positive entertainment, social, and safety opportunities that come with a cell phone.
The Mobile Safe resources are available today at www.cellphonesmart.org.
“The Cell Phone Smart campaign aims to encourage a new generation of responsible, ethical and resilient cell phone users, iKeepSafe CEO and President, Marsali Hancock said. ” We are proud to partner with the U.S. Department of Justice to develop resources to empower educators and parents to teach these important lessons to youth to promote cell phone safety.”
The “Cell Phone Smart” campaign supports the Mobile Safe curriculum and is comprised of educational public service ads that will appear at area movie theaters, as well as radio PSAs that will air on local stations. In addition, grassroots materials such as posters, brochures and fact sheets will be distributed and made available for teachers and other community leaders to use as awareness tools. Additional cell phone safety resources can be found online at the campaign’s website, www.cellphonesmart.org. All campaign materials are available for download at www.projectyouthsafety.org.
“INOBTR is proud to lead this campaign, teaching young people in Rochester that owning a cell phone is a privilege, and with that privilege comes with responsibility and accountability,” said INOBTR Communications Director Kelly McMahon. “The Cell Phone Safety campaign targets children age 8 and up. Our goal is to educate kids at the ground level about when, where and how it’s appropriate to use a cell phone.”
The campaign kicks off officially with an event at The Strong’s National Museum of Play gathering educators, education administrators and local officials invested in protecting Rochester’s youth through this public awareness initiative. Speakers include County Executive Maggie Brooks, Dr. Sam C. McQuade III, Professional Studies Graduate Program Coordinator at RIT, Marsali Hancock, President and CEO of iKeepSafe.org, and Kelly McMahon from INOBTR.
Project Youth Safety PROJECT PARTNERS
The Rochester campaign is one of six public awareness initiatives addressing child and youth safety issues and is a part of Project Youth Safety, a comprehensive multimedia, multicultural youth safety awareness effort. Other project Youth Safety campaigns have focused on child abuse, domestic violence and teen violence. Additional information on this and other projects is available at www.projectyouthsafety.org.
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) provides national leadership, coordination, and resources to prevent and respond to juvenile delinquency and victimization. OJJDP supports states and communities in their efforts to develop and implement effective and coordinated prevention and intervention programs and to improve the juvenile justice system so that it protects public safety, holds offenders accountable, and provides treatment and rehabilitative services tailored to the needs of juveniles and their families. Learn more about OJJDP’s programs and resources at www.ojjdp.gov.
The Internet Keep Safe Coalition (iKeepSafe) is a broad partnership of governors and first spouses, attorneys general, public health and educational professionals, law enforcement and industry leaders working together for the health and safety of youth online. The Coalition provides innovative resources, including parent tutorials and educational materials like the Faux Paw the Techno Cat® Internet safety book series and animated films for children. iKeepSafe uses its unique partnerships to disseminate the safety resources to families worldwide, including its Generation Safe™ program launched in the U.S., Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Vietnam. To learn more, visit http://www.ikeepsafe.org/.