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Attorney General Kilmartin and Cox Communications Team Up to Teach Kids how to "TakeCharge!" of Online Bullying

Kilmartin and Cox Kick Off School Program at Esek Hopkins Middle School in Providence

With three in 10 teens being bullied online according to a recent poll, Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin is teaming up with Cox Communications to teach young children how to "TakeCharge! of Online Bullying" in a new public service campaign and visits to junior high schools and community agencies across the state. The launch of the campaign coincides with National Internet Safety Month.

According to a survey by Cox Communications and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), online bullying, or "cyberbullying," is a serious concern for teens and their parents, yet many teens are not telling their parents about their experiences.

Key trends among the Rhode Island teens surveyed include:

o Three in 10 teens claim to have been bullied online (32 percent) o One in 10 admits to have bullied someone online (10 percent) o Of teens who admit to being bullied online, only 61 percent have told an adult

"Cell phones, gaming consoles and social media have made it easier for children to bully others and to be victims of bullying. Being cyberbullied can have long term emotional and physical consequences for children. It is critical we teach kids from an early age what bullying is and what they can do to prevent it or stop it from happening to them or a classmate," said Attorney General Kilmartin. "Harassment and intimidation are taking place more frequently online. The first step to curbing this trend is open communication, especially among young people who use technology more and more to communicate with one another."

Attorney General Kilmartin kicked off the partnership with Cox by speaking to 7th grade students at Esek Hopkins Middle School in Providence, where he was joined by Cox Communications Senior Vice President and General Manager John Wolfe and Sarah Murray, a recent graduate at Mt. Pleasant High School in Providence, who shared her story of being bullied as a teenager. At the end of the discussion, the 7th grade class signed a pledge to not bully and to report bullying to an adult.

In addition, Attorney General Kilmartin filmed a public service announcement that reminds parents the importance of talking to children about online activity and directs them to the TakeCharge! website for helpful tips and ways to talk to kids about the issue.

"TakeCharge! was created by Cox Communications to give students and their parents a way to understand and manage online content," said Wolfe. "The good news according to our survey is in Rhode Island 89 percent of parents have talked with their kids about online safety. Our partnership with the Attorney General Kilmartin will continue to educate families with the goal of reducing cyberbullying."

The Cox Communications survey also shed light on how much time teens and young people are spending online. According to the survey:

o Teens spend as much time online each day as they spend in the classroom (nearly six hours) o 90 percent log on to at least one social media site every day (Facebook and YouTube being the most popular)

In addition, teens are sharing personal information or potentially inappropriate content online, including photos (73 percent), phone number (15 percent), curse words (26 percent), physical location (16 percent), address (four percent) and sexual comments or pictures (two percent).

TakeCharge! is a community outreach campaign developed by Cox to empower parents and caregivers to manage their children's access to mass media content. Now in its 10th year, this initiative strives to increase customers' awareness and use of the parental controls and filtering tools already available on cable, Internet and wireless services.

About Cox Communications: Cox Communications is a broadband communications and entertainment company, providing advanced digital video, Internet and telephone services over its own nationwide IP network. The third-largest U.S. cable TV company, Cox serves approximately 6 million residences and businesses. Cox Business is a facilities-based provider of voice, video and data solutions for commercial customers, and Cox Media is a full-service provider of national and local cable spot and new media advertising.

Cox is known for its pioneering efforts in cable telephone and commercial services, industry-leading customer care and its outstanding workplaces. For eight years, Cox has been recognized as the top operator for women by Women in Cable Telecommunications; Cox has ranked among DiversityInc's Top 50 Companies for Diversity nine times, including the last eight years. More information about Cox Communications, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, is available at www.cox.com and www.coxmedia.com.

Related links

Department or agency: Department of the Attorney General

Online: http://www.riag.ri.gov/

Release date: 06-11-2014

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