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Phone Recycling Program Helps Keep Kids Safe Online

  • Posted by Mommy Brown
  • February 3, 2012 1:17 PM EST
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Sprint has been a longtime partner of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and provided support for the popular youth-focused Internet-safety website www.NSTeens.org.  Sales generated from recycled wireless phones, batteries, accessories and data cards received by Sprint's charitable phone-recycling program, Sprint Project Connect, are used to fund new content to the NSTeens.org site and other free Internet-safety resources available from NCMEC. This is the fifth year Sprint has partnered with NCMEC to help keep kids safer online.

NSTeens.org is a website that is created for the "in-between" tween audience of 8 to 12 year olds.  Today, children use the Internet more than ever before.  According to NCMEC, the majority of households have at least one computer, and most teens access the Internet from multiple locations, not just their home.  It is estimated that 73% of teens between the ages of 12 to 17 have social-networking profiles.  Around 86% of teens comment on the pages or walls of their friends' social-networking profiles.

"Kids need to understand the potential risks they might encounter on the Internet and some simple things they can do that will help them stay safe.  That is why NSTeens was created," said Ernie Allen, President & CEO of NCMEC.  "We are very grateful to Sprint for their continuing commitment to help keep children safe while online and for partnering with us to create educational resources for parents and teachers."

"Sprint is honored to continue our work with NCMEC," said Debby Ballard, director of Community Affairs for Sprint. "Now five years strong, this partnership provides vital resources to young people so that they may work and play online in a safer fashion – plus tools that the adults in their lives can use to strengthen this guidance. I look forward to offering even more resources throughout 2012."

Since 2008, Sprint has donated approximately $1.8 million in Sprint Project Connect net proceeds to NCMEC for Internet-safety programming, including www.NSTeens.org.   

Most recently, a $415,000 Sprint Project Connect donation will allow NCMEC to provide new NSTeens.org content in 2012, including additional video and gaming tools. Since it was launched in 2007, NSTeens.org has used animated videos, interviews with real teens, and educational games to help teach youth how to protect themselves and their peers online. The new Sprint donation will allow NCMEC to continue to expand the content available on the site with new video and interactive content – including a new mobile game for Android and Apple mobile devices. These exciting new resources will be available on NSTeens.org for the start of the 2012-2013 school year.

This donation will also be used by NCMEC to fund the distribution of Middle School Online Safety Kits, which are a free resource that can be used by schools, law enforcement and others as a teaching tool in communities. Each kit provides educators with an overview of the Internet-safety issues their students face every day along with educational videos, activity cards, a classroom poster and other resources to help teach students how to make safer choices online. Educators interested in receiving a Middle School Online Safety Kit can visit www.netsmartz.org/MSKit to order a free copy in English or Spanish.

NSTeens.org has animated videos featuring multi-ethnic comic-book-style characters dealing with a variety of issues related to online and mobile-phone safety.  Currently, the site contains four educational games, five animated videos with accompanying activity cards that help teachers build the videos into their lesson plans, five Teens Talk Back videos that feature real teens talking about their online experiences, and a web comic.  Topics addressed include online gaming, cyber-bullying and social networking.  All of the content on NSTeens.org 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" who are ages 8 to 12.  NSTeens is an expansion of NCMEC's successful NetSmartz Workshop which is a web-based safety program designed specifically for youth ages 5 to 17, their parents, educators and law enforcement. 

NSTeens.org is the fastest growing website operated by the NetSmartz program.  Traffic to the site has nearly doubled during the past 12 months and now receives more than 750,000 visits annually. 

Sprint sponsors the NSTeens.org as part of its 4NetSafety program. 4NetSafety provides a wealth of free, online Internet-safety resources at www.4NetSafety.com. Materials are available in both English and Spanish and are designed for the important "tween" audience, along with their parents, guardians and educators.

The Sprint Project Connect phone-recycling program helps Sprint not only support Internet-safety education, but also its strong commitment to environmental stewardship – a commitment for which Sprint continues to receive positive recognition. In fact, Sprint was recently named to the No. 3 spot on Newsweek's 2011 Green Rankings lists. Learn more at www.sprint.com/responsibility.

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