Campaign Launched to Promote Internet Safety for Kids

Nearly 50 online companies are cooperating to launch America Links Up, a nationwide public-awareness and education campaign aimed at providing adults and children with the necessary information and tools to ensure a safe online experience.

A cornerstone of the America Links Up (ALU) campaign, which kicks off during National Kids Online Week (Sept. 14-20), is teaching Internet basics and safety tips throughout the school year during events at local schools, libraries and community centers across the country.

Microsoft said that it committed up to $500,000 to the campaign. Other “corporate hosts” include Time Warner, America Online, Disney Online and AT&T.

“Microsoft is strongly committed to the goals of the America Links Up campaign,” said Laura Jennings, vice president of MSN at Microsoft. “We believe the collective efforts of nearly 50 online companies and organizations will help educate children, their parents, teachers and librarians about the safest ways to enjoy all the online world has to offer.”

Microsoft said that it challenged other major sites on the Web to commit online advertising space on a large scale to promote the ALU Web site and activities. Specifically, Microsoft agreed to match the commitments of fellow online companies dollar for dollar with up to $500,000 in online advertising space. This will result in a potential promotional commitment to ALU of $1 million.

Companies such as Infoseek Corp., Compaq Computer Corp.’s AltaVista and Yahoo are already participating in the advertising program, which will likely generate more than 25 million impressions for ALU.

“Yahoo is dedicated to enabling the Internet community, especially children and their parents, to quickly, easily and safely access relevant and appropriate content and services on the Internet,” said David Filo, Yahoo’s co-founder.

National Kids Online Week is the first phase of the America Links Up campaign and the culmination of a nearly yearlong effort by the industry and the nonprofit sector to promote Internet safety for children. Microsoft also said it is creating and sponsoring Online Safety Month in October, which will be promoted throughout Microsoft Web sites, and will host a local Internet Teach- In event in the Seattle area with vendors such as Net Nanny Software International Inc.

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