Press Releases

National Parent-Teacher Organization Selects Symantec as Partner to Raise Awareness of Internet Safety Education

CUPERTINO, Calif. – Aug. 18, 2008 – School Family Media, a leading resource for parent teacher groups in the United States, has selected Symantec, the world's leading Internet security company and maker of Norton, as its partner in keeping America's schoolchildren and their families safe online. Through this partnership, Symantec will reach thousands of parent teacher organization (PTO) and parent teacher association (PTA) groups across the country to deliver educational messages and resources dedicated to raising awareness of Internet safety – just in time for the new school year. The multi-year commitment targets students in K-8 schools and launches during the 2008-2009 school year.

Symantec will work with School Family Media on a multi-faceted program that includes the following:

  • Providing educators, parents and caregivers with content-rich, comprehensive information for self-education
  • Conducting Internet Safety Nights at schools nationwide hosted by Symantec Internet Safety Advocate Marian Merritt
  • Extensive, year-round online campaign that includes editorial content, information and other topical resources, all available on School Family Media's Web site
  • Distribution of Symantec Family Online Safety Guides, an award-winning booklet dedicated to the topic of Internet safety through select schools nationwide
How Big is the Issue of Internet Safety?

Recent data compiled by Symantec's comprehensive global Norton Online Living Report underscore the importance of involvement in children's online use, whether it is a parent or a teacher. Consider these facts:

  • One in five kids worldwide admit to conducting activities online that they know their parents wouldn't approve
  • In the U.S., parents believe that six percent of their children have been approached online by a stranger; in fact, of the teens surveyed, nearly one in three report such contact
  • Four out of 10 teens said their parents have no idea of their online activities

The full report, which offers perspective into the digital lifestyle habits of adults and children in the U.S. and worldwide, can be accessed at

Additionally, recently released research from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) surveying 40,000 students in K through 12th grade in the U.S. revealed some startling data:

  • 48 percent of kindergarten and first graders report viewing online content that made them feel uncomfortable. One-in-four students did not report the incident to a grown up
  • 11 percent of seventh-ninth graders have pretended to be someone else online, four percent admitted to intentionally embarrassing another person online and four percent admitted to harassing or threatening another person online
  • 21 percent of 10th-12th graders admit to using a computer or an electronic device to cheat on a school assignment, 65 percent admit to illegally downloading music and 34 percent admit to illegally downloading movies. 12 percent have circumvented computer security systems

For additional information, or to download the full report, visit RIT's Cyber Safety and Ethics Initiative Web site at

New Resources Available Now to Aid in Internet Safety Issues

In an effort to address the challenge that many parents have in discussing Internet safety with their kids, Symantec is launching "The Talk." Rather than the sex education chat previous generations received, Symantec's version of "The Talk" arms parents with the tools, including detailed tips and instructions, on how to engage their kids in a conversation on their Internet activities and encourage safe and responsible Internet use. "The Talk" can be downloaded for free at the Norton Family Resource Center Web site at

Last year, Symantec paired up with Miss America 2007 Lauren Nelson to launch the nationwide Internet safety initiative. In addition to this partnership, Symantec's offerings include the Norton Family Resources Center, a family-focused Web site ( that provides tips and resources on a broad array of Internet security topics, including blog posts and responses to online visitors' questions from Marian Merritt.


"The issue of Internet safety demands immediate action and raising good cyber citizens must be a top priority for educators, parents and caregivers alike," said Tim Sullivan, founder and president of School Family Media and PTO Today, the leading resources in the country for involved school parents. "To tackle the key issue of Internet safety, particularly as it relates to our nation's youngest and most impressionable schoolchildren, School Family Media couldn't find a better partner than Symantec, which brings unparalleled resources for keeping children and families safe online, including some of the best experts on the subject of Internet safety."

"Keeping children safe online has become a considerable task, especially given that many school-age kids have access to the Internet through their own cell phones, PDAs, laptop computers and such," said Merritt. "Through our partnership with School Family Media, we look forward to engaging more families and educators to further this important dialogue and work collaboratively to keep our children safe online."

About Symantec

Symantec is a global leader in infrastructure software, enabling businesses and consumers to have confidence in a connected world. The company helps customers protect their infrastructure, information and interactions by delivering software and services that address risks to security, availability, compliance and performance. Headquartered in Cupertino, Calif., Symantec has operations in more than 40 countries. More information is available at

About School Family Media, Inc.

Since 1999, School Family Media, Inc. (originally known simply as PTO Today, Inc,) has been connecting with PTO and PTA leaders and involved parents at every K-8 public and private school in the U.S. with a combination of involvement expertise, proprietary through-school parent programs and a variety of custom print, in-person and online solutions for parents. SFM is focused exclusively on helping parents and schools help children succeed by promoting and enabling meaningful parent involvement both at home and at school. Key company offerings include PTO Today magazine, the School Family Nights program, a comprehensive Back2School initiative and the parent-focused website. Learn more at

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