FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 16, 2005

 

 

 

FIRST LADY MARSHA BARBOUR JOINS
NATIONAL INTERNET SAFETY CAMPAIGN

 

(Jackson, Miss.) - First Lady Marsha Barbour has joined other first spouses, governors, and officials from 47 states by supporting a national campaign set up to teach children the essentials of Internet safety. The Internet Keep Safe Coalition, or iKeepSafe, is a state-supported educational program that will use children's books, web materials, and public service announcements (PSAs) to emphasize simple and memorable tips for children to stay safe online.

"The Internet is becoming increasingly available in today's high-tech world," said First Lady Marsha Barbour. "Children are using this powerful resource at incredibly young ages, so it's important that we take the steps to instruct them to use the Internet safely. I am proud to support the iKeepSafe Coalition's efforts to make parents more informed and to show Mississippi's children how to protect themselves from online predators."

The Coalition's Internet safety icon is "Faux Paw the Techno Cat," an icon designed to promote online safety instruction for children. Initially, this character will appear in a new children's book, Faux Paw the Techno Cat: Adventure in the Internet. The book will be read from the White House lawn on March 28th as part of the annual Easter egg hunt celebration. The picture book and animated story tells the adventures of the former Utah Governor and Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt's curious cat, Faux Paw, who gets into trouble when she agrees to meet an Internet "friend."

"Faux Paw the Techno Cat" will also appear on the iKeepSafe.org Web site. Parents and children can watch the Faux Paw animated story, read the book, play games, and learn Internet safety tips through "Faux Pas the Techno Cat" instruction. This Web site also offers resource materials for parents and educators, including child-friendly safety quizzes, worksheets, and coloring book printouts.

The Coalition will work to customize the program for each individual state. The books will be tailored to include a personal letter from the First Spouse and to reflect each state's capitol building and governor. As part of the state-level programs, the Coalition will distribute the book to every 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade classroom, as well as promote the program through PSAs and other grassroots activities.

"This program will serve as a great educational tool for both children and parents," said Mrs. Barbour. "As a believer in the iKeepSafe Coalition's efforts, I am excited to be a part of this initiative that aims to protect and educate. The children of Mississippi deserve our support and guidance, and I am proud that we can now offer them safety tips through the 'Faux Paw' educational tool."

 

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