Archive for the ‘Online Safety’ Category

Yahoo Joins with Polaris Project to Provide Users with Resources on Reporting Instances of Human Trafficking

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Yahoo! has been a longtime industry leader in online safety. Fostering safer online experiences continues to be one of Yahoo!’s primary concerns, particularly as the Internet plays a larger role in the everyday life of children. As kids spend more and more time online, searching for help with schoolwork or just staying in touch with friends, parents and educators are also looking for new tools and resources to protect children from online harm. As part of Yahoo!’s commitment to protecting children online, we collaborate with child safety advocates and law enforcement, including an on-going, multi-faceted partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). Ten years ago Yahoo! collaborated with NCMEC to help disseminate AMBER alerts to Yahoo!’s powerful network of millions of people around the world. The AMBER Alert program has been credited with the safe recovery of 525 children nationwide.

Recently, we announced our latest initiative in providing our users with additional online safety resources. Working with the Polaris Project and the Office of the California Attorneys General, we now provide information directing users to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) when users search for certain terms associated with human trafficking. Users will be given contact information for NHTRC which is operated by the Polaris Project. The NHTRC hotline is the single most effective national resource to identify and support victims of trafficking. This national, toll-free, victim-centered hotline is available to answer calls from anywhere in the U.S., 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and in more than 170 languages. Trained call specialists are on constant standby to link human trafficking victims to shelter and other resources that provide safety and protection. The hotline also fields tips of suspected human trafficking cases and provides information, training and technical assistance to diverse audiences. THE NHRTC has been extremely successful in helping victims and law enforcement:

  • The national human trafficking hotline has received more than 53,000 calls nationwide and 5,650 calls from California, since Polaris Project began operating it in December 2007.
  • The hotline has connected almost 6,200 trafficking victims to services across the country.
  • The hotline receives more calls from California than any other state.
  • In 2011, almost 20% of callers nationwide who reported potential human trafficking cases found the hotline number through an Internet search.

Unfortunately, the Internet is not immune from crime that has traditionally occurred in the offline world. But at Yahoo! we will continue to take steps to address online crime by providing information and resources to our users, and by coordinating with law enforcement and groups like Polaris to help bring predators to justice.

Yahoo! Supports Safer Internet Day 2011 with Global Online Safety Resources

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Fostering safe online experiences is more important than ever as young people are among the first to adopt the technology and gadgets entering our homes.  Children as young as 15 months are playing with iPads, approximately 1 in 3 teens in the US are sending over 3000/texts a month and sadly, cyberbullying incidents are on the rise. Parents and educators across the globe are looking for practical advice and solutions on how to foster children’s online safety with today’s always on, always available technology.

This year, during global Safer Internet Day on Feb. 8, 2011, the industry will be coming together to help educate families and promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones among children and youth.

Online safety is a priority for Yahoo! and we are celebrating global Safer Internet Day by introducing Yahoo! Safely in 26 countries across 14 languages providing parents, educators and youth with information and advice about making smart choices online.  As one of the only global safety resources, Yahoo! Safely offers locally relevant advice on important topics such as managing digital reputations, avoiding cyber-bullying, and learning how to minimize risks on mobile devices.

Yahoo! Safely - Stay Safer Online (and have fun)!

In the Middle East, Yahoo! Maktoob is also launching a localized online safety resource called Yahoo! Safety Oasis. Yahoo! Safety Oasis educates Arabic-speaking children about how to properly surf the net and protect their personal privacy through a series of fun, interactive edu-tainment courses offered through a number of Yahoo! Maktoob channels.

Last year, Yahoo!’s online safety survey revealed that parents are in fact doing their part  with 70% of parents talking to their children about online safety 2-3 times a year.  Now Yahoo! Safely and Yahoo! Safety Oasis give parents and educators around the world the tools and guidance to have these ongoing and productive conversations with their children.

It’s important that we work together as a global community to help create a safer and positive online experience for our children. We are thrilled to be able to make an impact and help raise global awareness around Safer Internet Day 2011.

Catherine Teitelbaum, Yahoo!’s director of child safety and product policy

Yahoo!’s Longtime Commitment to AMBER Alerts

Friday, January 14th, 2011

January 13th marked the 15th anniversary of the abduction and murder of Amber Hagerman, which lead to the creation of the national AMBER Alert Program.  AMBER stands for:  America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response.   The goal of the AMBER Alert is to instantly galvanize an entire community to assist in the search for and safe recovery of the child.

As part of Yahoo!’s longtime commitment to fostering online child safety, we collaborate with child safety groups and law enforcement, including an on-going,  multi-faceted partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).  NCMEC works closely with the U.S. Department of Justice and has an integral role in expanding the reach for AMBER alerts through partnerships with Internet companies, I S Ps, the Trucking industry and the Wireless Industry.

Ten years ago Yahoo! collaborated with NCMEC to help disseminate AMBER alerts to Yahoo!’s powerful network of millions of people around the world.  The team integrated AMBER alerts into the Yahoo! Alerts news system, giving people the ability to receive instant updates on missing children both at the local city level through zip codes and the statewide level in all 50 States.   AMBER alerts can be sent to an email address, via Yahoo! Messenger and/or to a mobile device.

It’s important that we work together as a global community to help foster safer experiences for children, and we applaud Facebook’s recent efforts to also offer AMBER alert bulletins to their users.

To date the AMBER Alert program has been credited with the safe recovery of 525 children nationwide.

For more information on online safety, go to

Catherine Teitelbaum, Yahoo!’s director of child safety and product policy

Yahoo!’s Fourth Annual Digital Citizenship Summit a Success

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Last week, Yahoo! hosted the fourth annual Digital Citizenship Summit and partnered with the Santa Clara County Office of Education and other leading national nonprofit organizations, including Common Sense Media, ConnectSafely, iKeepSafe, i-Safe, and NetSmartz.  At the event, Northern California educators and child safety experts came together to share ways to create digital environments that put safety within children’s reach, and to encourage students to manage their digital reputations and help prevent cyber-bullying.

Discussions that took place at the event focused on how parents, teachers, nonprofit advocates, law enforcement, and Internet companies can collaborate to create a safer online environment for children. Given the recent increase of concern around cyber-bullying, the discussions at the Summit were very timely, providing educators with the tools and resources to create productive digital environments for students.

You can view what people were saying at the summit here, and view photos from the event here.

We had a wonderful opportunity to capture brief videos of key experts and leaders at the event. We talked to them about their involvement at the Digital Citizenship Summit and how they are working with Yahoo! on efforts around child safety. Also included in the video is the keynote address from Yahoo! EVP and CMO Elisa Steele.

Yahoo Digital Citizenship Summit 10-15-10 @ Yahoo! Video

Huge thanks to all the speakers and educators who joined us. We appreciate your continued dedication to keeping our children safer online, and we look forward to seeing you all again next year!

Stay up-to-date with the latest tools and resources for protecting teens and children online with Yahoo! Safely.

-Catherine Teitelbaum, Yahoo!’s director of child safety and product policy

Supporting National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Monday, October 4th, 2010

October marks National Cyber Security Awareness month and Yahoo!, along with our industry peers, will be putting extra emphasis on online safety to help create a safer digital world through education and awareness activities.

Global Online Safety PSA

Today, more and more digital citizens are connecting to each other across various devices and Web services, making online safety paramount. Over the last year, Yahoo! has collaborated with a coalition of government, industry, and nonprofit organizations to develop a powerful and impactful consumer awareness campaign. Today, we have unveiled the unified public awareness message to help digital citizens stay safer online: “Stop. Think. Connect.”

This message evolved from President Obama’s call for a memorable national public awareness campaign focused on cybersecurity, much like the “Click It or Ticket” campaign for seat belt safety. “Stop. Think. Connect.” is designed to be a simple tool that can be easily understood and used by everyone online. It’s a strong, effective message because it is actionable and it puts power in the hands of the user. Through the coalition’s extensive research, we learned that consumers are anxious to take personal control of their online actions and help the greater online community. In our own research, we found this was true, too, with the majority of parents taking action to manage their children’s online safety.

Members of the coalition are supporting this campaign in various ways, including promoting it on their websites and highlighting it in consumer-facing communications. At Yahoo!, we will leverage our network of consumer services, which reaches 600 million users worldwide, to promote and increase global awareness of this effort.


Digital Citizenship Summit

Additionally, we are gearing up for Yahoo!’s fourth annual Digital Citizenship Summit on Oct. 15. Yahoo! is partnering with the Santa Clara County Office of Education and leading national nonprofit organizations to help educators create digital environments that put safety within arm’s reach of children.

Discussions will center on how it takes collaboration among parents, teachers, nonprofit advocates, law enforcement, and Internet companies to create a safer online environment for children. Educational leaders from San Francisco Bay Area schools K–12 will learn strategies to build a safety network, including student guidance techniques and online incident mitigation.

Attendees will also hear from national safety experts, including Common Sense Media, ConnectSafely, iKeepSafe, i-Safe, and NetSmartz.

Educators will receive a sneak peek at iKeepSafe’s Generation Safe™: New Media Mentor for Digital Citizenship program, and will have the opportunity to be a part of the pilot program for free.

And that’s not all. As part of our ongoing efforts with our nonprofit partners, we will be supporting a number of initiatives:

  • Common Sense Media’s national TV and online public awareness campaign, called “Power to the People,” is designed to educate parents about the impact of media and technology on kids. Yahoo! is helping to increase awareness of this campaign by donating advertising inventory across our network.
  • I have been appointed as the co-chair of the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI). The FOSI annual conference, to be held Nov. 9–10, is a marquee annual event that brings together thought leaders across government, industry, and nonprofit sectors to collaborate on solutions in online child safety.

It will be a busy and exciting month for Yahoo!’s online child-safety efforts and we are eager to help digital citizens and educational leaders create safer online experiences for themselves and the greater community.

Catherine Teitelbaum, Yahoo!’s Director of Child Safety and Product Policy

Yahoo!’s Support for Safer Internet Day

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

February 9th marks Safer Internet Day, and this year the focus is on digital reputation management – that is, how people are viewed based on what they post and share online. Yahoo! is also putting particular focus in this area and educating our teens, parents and educators about how to protect and manage youth’s online personas.

To help draw attention to Safer Internet Day and empower people to create a safer Internet experience, we are sharing our top 5 tips to protecting youths’ digital reputation, via Yahoo!’s corporate blog and social media channels worldwide.

We are also collaborating with iKeepSafe to develop and deliver Project PRO (Privacy & Reputation Online) resources to educators and parents to coach youth on protecting and managing their digital reputation. The Project PRO curriculum outlines practical advice to motivate parents and teachers to communicate with youth about the potential impact of their online persona and utilize the latest technology to observe and monitor their child and student’s online activities. Tips include:

  • Know what your child/student is posting.
  • Get a page.
  • Participate in social networking.
  • Flag negative images & comments.
  • Help build a positive reputation.

Last December, we hosted the third annual CyberCitizenship Summit with more than 200 educational leaders to guide them through the ProjectPRO resources, so they could in turn implement the curriculum in their schools.

We are very encouraged that this year’s Safer Internet Day is highlighting this important issue, and encouraging people to understand what they can do to stay protected.

Catherine Teitelbaum, Yahoo!’s Director of Child Safety and Product Policy

Yahoo!’s Mobile Safety Tips

Friday, January 15th, 2010

During this holiday season, a slew of new mobile devices were brought into the home and put into the hands of teens.   And its no big surprise — kids today rely on mobile devices to engage with the Internet, consume information, and connect with friends and family members.  According to an August 2009 Pew Internet & American Life Project research study, cell phone usage among teens ages 12 – 17 is up 26 percentage points from 2004 to 2008.  And by the age of 17, eight in ten teens (84%) have their own cell phone.  With access to these powerful communication tools, teens need to be empowered and educated on how to be digital citizens, how to manage their online reputations, and how to make personal mobile safety a priority.

At Yahoo!, we recognize this need for education – among kids and parents – and we have developed this list of mobile safety tips.  We have been working closely with national child safety advocates, law enforcement agencies, educational leaders, and parents to help coach youth about protecting their online personas and creating a safer online experience.

  1. Think before you send. Stop, and think before you share a thought or forward a photo.  Imagine your grandmother or principal on the receiving end.
  2. Protect your personal information. When you send email, texts, photos or instant messages to people who are not trusted friends or family, don’t give out personal information they could use to find your physical location or exploit you. Guard your password like a hawk.
  3. Control negativity.  Think carefully about who you want to communicate with and who you should ignore.  Yahoo! Mail and Yahoo! Messenger have features that allow you to block people. If you receive abusive or harassing messages online, report the abuse where and when you see it.
  4. Use Safe Search. Yahoo! offers a default Safe Search filter to help keep inappropriate content out of your search results. While no filter can guarantee 100% removal of all inappropriate content, using a filter like Safe Search will make a big difference in keeping unwanted material out of your search results.
  5. Download applications from trusted sources only! If you download software from a third party, be sure to only download applications from developers you trust. And, read their Terms of Service and privacy policies to really understand what you’re giving them permission to do when you download their app.
  6. Never Text while Driving. This should be obvious, but you’d have to have super hero powers to be able to read, type and drive at the same time, not to mention that it’s illegal in some states.

For more detailed information about mobile safety, check out the blogs and guidelines on Yahoo! Safely, and the excellent content on texting and sexting provided by our partners at and

Catherine Teitelbaum, Yahoo!’s Director of Child Safety and Product Policy

Yahoo! Making the Internet Safer

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Yahoo! has been a long-time leader and advocate for online child safety.  Over the years we have made it a priority to protect children online by creating the Yahoo! Safely website to educate parents and children, collaborating with child safety experts and organizations, hosting annual safety summits with educators, and participating in thought leadership events.

Most recently, I attended the Family Online Safety Institute’s (FOSI) online safety conference, which brings together leaders from government, industry, education and nonprofits to discuss how to best encourage responsible use on the Internet.   As a board member of FOSI, and passionate advocate for online child safety, I was honored to participate on a panel addressing how to get kids hooked on safety when they are young.  The panel discussed safety tools for children’s websites, how to encourage digital citizenship, and resources for parents.  The best practices that were shared included:  engaging parents in the content while their kids are young, providing activities that encourage families to extend their online experience away from the computer, and integrating easy tips about Internet Safety into the content.

Additionally, I was thrilled to support my esteemed colleague, Emily Hancock, in accepting the FOSI Award for Outstanding Achievement for her dedication to make the internet safer for everyone.  At Yahoo! we are all so proud of this recognition and continue to be inspired by Emily’s dedication to helping to protect children by driving improvements to products, services, and policies.  More on this achievement can be found on Yodel Anecdotal.

I look forward to continuing to share Yahoo!’s on-going efforts to help make the Internet a safer place for children.

Catherine Teitelbaum
Yahoo!’s Director of Child Safety and Product Policy