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Corporate Responsibility in Action

Is Your Family "Switched On?"

Created: 29 Oct 2013 • Updated: 29 Oct 2013
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October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and Symantec is publishing a series of posts on how we're meeting Our Shared Responsibility to secure the Internet. Previous posts included National Cyber Security Awareness Month Turns 10! by Michael Kaiser, Executive Director of the National Cyber Security Alliance, and Being Mobile: Best Practices for Keeping Your Child Safe on Mobile Technology by Marian Merritt, Norton Internet Safety Advocate. Today, we celebrate Get Safe Online (GSO) week, which has just wrapped up in the UK, with a post by our UK PR team discussing Symantec’s partnership with the organizers of this annual event, Get Safe Online (GSO).

According to the 2012 Norton Online Family Report, in 2011 58 percent of kids experienced something negative online, and four fifths of kids (87 percent) who’ve broken Internet house rules experienced something negative online.  Additionally, a recent article from Symantec not-for-profit partner Get Safe Online (GSO) shows that while 39 percent of parents of 12-15 year olds use the browser's history function to see which websites their child has visited, 42 percent of children aged 12-15 said they know how to delete website histories, and 19 percent have done so in the last year.

The fact is children are spending more time online, they are getting savvier, and in many cases they can easily outsmart parental guidelines and house rules.

This past month, in partnership with GSO, Symantec launched the “Switched On” campaign targeted at parents with the aim of giving them the confidence, information and tools to help their kids stay safe online. Switched On will run throughout the year, giving parents who sign up a monthly email newsletter in a simple format with actionable advice. Furthermore, working in partnership with the Neighbourhood Watch association - one of the UK’s largest voluntary movements with a membership base of 3.8 million - leaflets will be distributed at Neighbourhood Watch meetings, where online safety for children will be discussed.

Additionally, as part of the Switched On campaign, during the months of September and October our customer support team has provided, at no cost to GSO, a consumer telephone hotline where UK residents with concerns can phone and get advice on parental controls, and issues which parents may worry about.

Training for employees was based on the Norton Family Online Safety guide and statistics from the Norton Report and Internet Security Threat Report. By calling the hotline, parents can ask questions about parental controls and receive guidance about what areas of online activity they should be aware of.

A History of Partnering to Create Safer Internet

Get Safe Online (GSO) is a charitable body which is recognized by the UK Government as being the information point of choice for consumers wanting to stay safe online. Symantec’s sponsorship of Get Safe Online began about four years ago and has been an invaluable channel for educating our communities on online safety.  

In addition to the Switched On campaign, we are working with GSO on a number of other projects including:

  • A comprehensive “Highway Code,” a PDF guide for small businesses and consumers to help them cut through the security jargon and keep them and their data safe online.
  • Annual support of the UK’s Get Safe Online week. Past support has included bus tours of the country, providing face to face advice for the public.
  • Partnering at conferences such as the Child Internet Safety conference where we spoke about our research on families and their attitudes to keeping children safe online.

Every year our partnership with GSO grows and we look forward to more exciting programs like these that enable Symantec to contribute to vital online safety education, ensuring parents, families, businesses and our communities are always switched on.

This post was written by members of Symantec's UK-based Public Relations team, who spearheaded the Get Safe Online partnership.