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New Game Teaches Kids 8 to 12 How to Stay Safe on the Internet as They Head Back to School

September 13, 2011

Game Featured on www.NSTeens.org, a Site From the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children That Teaches Online Safety to Kids Ages 8 to 12

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Sept. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A new game is now available for kids between the ages of 8 and 12 that is not only fun but also teaches them how to stay safer while on the Internet. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) and Sprint (NYSE:S) announced today, just in time for the return to school, that the popular child-focused Internet safety website www.NSTeens.org has been expanded to include a new educational game created for the important “in between” or “tween” audience of 8 to 12 year olds. The new game, “Stop That Post,” teaches kids why it is important not to reveal personal information on the Internet. The focus of the new game involves players racing to stop their friends and family members from posting embarrassing information and images online.

It is estimated that 93% of teens between the ages of 12 to 17 access the Internet from more than one location. This includes 89% who go online at home and 77% who go online at school.

Although an estimated 73% of teens ages 13 to 17 would be very upset if their reputation was damaged by content posted online, many continue to reveal too much through images, comments, and other information they share. Older teens are more likely to publish risky posts than younger teens. In a randomly chosen sample of 18-year-olds (male and female), 54% had social-networking profiles referencing sex, violence, and substance abuse. The videos and activities on NSTeens.org, including the newest game “Stop That Post,” educate kids before they reach their teen years to make safer choices for themselves and their peers.

“We know that children today have easy access to the Internet and rely on it more than ever before. The majority of households today have at least one computer, and we know that most teens access the Internet from multiple locations,” said Ernie Allen, president and CEO of NCMEC. “Especially at this time of year when kids head back to school, it is important that they understand that the Internet is a great resource but also has potential risks as well as simple things they can do that will help keep them safer. That is why NSTeens was created. It is designed specifically for tweens but can also serve as an educational resource for parents and teachers. We are grateful to Sprint for their continuing commitment to help keep children safe while online.”

“The new ‘Stop That Post’ game further strengthens Sprint’s relationship with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children,” said Debby Ballard, director of Community Affairs for Sprint. “NSTeens is an important part of our 4NetSafety Internet-safety program, and our partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has provided many valuable resources for families. The dangers of sharing personal information while online is a vital message that we must share with our children, and this game helps do that in a way that is still fun and engaging for young people.”

In June of this year, Sprint and NCMEC released another new game, “Tad’s Profile Panic,” which teaches kids about what information should not be included in their online profiles. The two games go hand-in-hand, and allow tweens a chance to learn important lessons in a manner that is exciting and memorable.

In addition to online games, NSTeens.org has animated videos featuring a multi-ethnic case of comic-book-style characters and videos of real teens talking about their online experiences. All NSTeens videos include activity cards to help teachers build the videos into their lesson plans and open a dialogue with their students. All NSTeens content, including the new game, is available in English and Spanish.

NCMEC created the popular website www.NSTeens.org in 2007 in partnership with Sprint with the objective of providing a resource for the often overlooked “tweens.” NSTeens is an expansion of NCMEC’s successful NetSmartz Workshop which is a Web-based safety program designed specifically for children. Sprint provides funding for NSTeens through its Internet safety initiative, 4NetSafety.

Both NetSmartz Workshop and 4NetSafety offer free resources to teens, parents, and teachers. Issues like online gaming, cyberbullying, and social networking are addressed through animated videos, games and other content. Since www.NSTeens.org was launched, the site has grown and expanded with new content added each year.

During the 2009-2010 school year, the www.NSTeens.org website was visited by more than 268,000 students, parents and educators. During the most recent 2010-2011 school year the number of visitors to the NSTeens website increased to more than 476,000.

Sprint’s 4NetSafety Internet-safety program is conducted in partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the National Education Association Health Information Network and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The program is funded through Sprint Project Connect (SM), Sprint’s charitable wireless recycling program. For more Internet safety tips or information about how to recycle a wireless phone and/or accessories, visit www.4NetSafety.com.

About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Since it was established by Congress in 1984, the organization has operated the toll-free 24-hour national missing children’s hotline which has handled more than 3,421,390 calls. It has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 166,800 children. The organization’s CyberTipline has handled more than 1,212,140 reports of child sexual exploitation and its Child Victim Identification Program has reviewed and analyzed more than 55,072,140 pornography images and videos. The organization works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice’s office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. To learn more about NCMEC, call its toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST or visit its web site at www.missingkids.com.

About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 52 million customers at the end of 2Q 2011 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 6 in its 2010 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.

SOURCE National Center for Missing & Exploited Children


Source: PR Newswire