Cox hosts teen summit to examine online safety for families

Broadcasting Live with Ustream.TV

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s sister company Cox Communications hosted its fifth anniversary TeenSummit yesterday examining online trends with a panel of teens. The event was hosted by John Walsh of “America’s Most Wanted” and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

I was surprised to learn that Walsh’s National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is a national clearing house that examines cybercrimes and Internet child pornography for the government.

The Cox TeenSummit Fifth Anniversary discussion focused on: What do your online posts and pictures really say about you? You can watch the entire summit online, but you can also just listen to it while you work on other stuff. (The first three minutes are introduction and then jump ahead to 19 minutes for John Walsh to begin the conversation.)

Cox also conducts surveys about teen online use and here were a few stats:

85 percent of teens now have mobile phones.

85 percent now have a social network profile.

About 30 percent are not concerned and do not think there will be consequences for what they post online.

About 50 percent don’t really screen who looks at their profile – meaning they have never met the people who are looking at their posts.

John Walsh said for him the highlight of the survey is that there are more parents are involved with their children’s communications online.

There’s a lot of good info in this hour and forty-minute discussion. I listened while I was working on other things. So check it out and maybe even share it with your teen or preteen.

Editor’s Update: I had some more time this afternoon to listen to more of the program. Here are some big points that I gleaned:

Cell phones not bad – good for safety. Need to have 911 and parents numbers on speed dial

Technology restriction on the cell phones where they can’t get themselves into trouble on them. Use them for good and not evil.

Internet safety should be offered by school curriculum – also helps reduces the school’s liability of bad things happening at the school. Should integrate – peer pressure and bulling taught at school but aren’t integrating the technology aspect of it.

Stealth bullies on the Internet. Just like we know people can be so mean on the blog that’s how the teens are to each other online. We know not to take the bait (sometimes) and to blow it off but they haven’t learned that yet.

Life management skills – financial aid taught at school, never had internet and cell phone safety.

(I also like the John Walsh explains that he is a pain to his son’s school.)

National PTA Facebook alliance to teach internet safety

Lots on child pornography online and identity theft around 54 minutes in – Rewarding kids with free downloads for giving up mommy’s id and credit card numbers.

Talking about a sting for pedophilia – just disgusting – 1 hour in to the talk — recently arrested a Census Taker who was getting into homes under that rouse to groom children.

Kids are giving up way too much info about schools, where you live, very specific stuff about their lives online. (One hour, six-minutes in)

80,000 convicted sex offenders removed from MySpace during its high time.  John Walsh wants Facebook to use same technology to remove the sex offenders. (One hour, 10 minutes)

13 comments Add your comment


June 16th, 2010
1:05 pm

Apparently, no one is interested in this topic. It’s been up for over 2 hours, and I’m the first one to comment…….LOL


June 16th, 2010
1:16 pm

That was a pretty long video but I did let it run in the background while I worked.
A few observations:
1. Most of these kids were older and all were what I would consider the ‘cream of the crop’ kids so some had never encountered any of the topics discussed.
2. What a wide range of topics- everything from internet safety to Social media, from sexting, driving while texting, to keeping silent, bullying & school responsiblity. Perhaps you should have pulled a few of the nuggets information to question and discuss. An hour and 40 mins leads to a lot of topics.
3. I completely missed what the point of this panel of kids is (to take a peak into the teen world? Are they making recommendations to teachers, parents, social media leaders, etc.??)
4. Even John Walsh really expects schools to educate and protect teens against social media/internet attacks. In the absense of parental control/education/advisement, is it the school’s responsibility to protect kids?


June 16th, 2010
1:31 pm

@TechMom…The schools should be protecting the kids, in that they should be limiting the computer access at school. They should be limiting the wi-fi activity etc. They should be controlling the various media in so far as it disrupts the school day. They should be advising the parents of any behaviors (sexting) that are happening to that parents’ child.

A school should NEVER be a substitute for a responsible parent/grandparent/other family in the guidance and upbringing of a child.


June 16th, 2010
1:40 pm

This is the fifth year that Cox Communications and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children have done national surveys to better understand how teens behave online, how their parents give guidance for making smart choices on the Internet and how the onrush of technology and connectivity which improves our lives may also hold challenges.

Cox brings the brightest teens from Cox markets across the country to DC to talk about the results in focus group setting to provide additional information based on what they are actually seeing in their schools. These teens also take the message of Internet safety to their Senators and Representatives in Congress.

The results of this include facts and recommendations — for more information —

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

June 16th, 2010
1:45 pm

Hey Tech Mom — I’m running crazy so I didn’t get to listen to the whole thing but I did want to put it out there to share. I’m glad you were able to pull some good stuff for it and I appreciate you sharing that with the group.

I did pull some more off the survey from the link above. Here are some more stats from the Cos survey and on teens. I will probably post some more nuggets as well.

Connected and accessible:

· 84 percent have a cell phone (up from 63 percent in 2006).

· 84 percent of teens have a social network profile (up from 51 percent in 2006).

· 92 percent are social media friends with people they don’t know well, if at all.

· 46 percent offer open access to their online profile information.

Concerned, but still taking risks:

· 82 percent of teens understand that online posts can affect their reputation.

· 73 percent said they’d be upset if their reputations were damaged by their online postings; losing the

respect of parents was the top concern.

· Still, 62 percent of teens never check with a parent before they post a photo online, and 67 percent
never check before posting a status update.

· Only 32 percent of teens thought the information they present online would negatively impact their future.

· Only about half, 55 percent, understood that their digital reputations could affect their ability to get into the college of their choice.

· 88 percent worry about posting their contact information online, but 71 percent have posted the name of their city (up from 59 percent in 2007), and 29 percent have posted their cell phone number (up from 8 percent in 2007).

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

June 16th, 2010
1:53 pm

“It all comes down to education for both the parents and the teenagers,” said Walsh. “It is now absolutely imperative for parents to educate themselves on the perils of Internet use by their teens and to continue to engage in dialogue with them about what they are doing online.”

Peter Picard, vice president of TRU, the research firm that conducted the 2010 survey, said the survey responses from the teens are similar to their attitudes in surveys about other risky behaviors such as drinking, drug use, sex or driving – they know the dangers, but are not concerned about the personal implications for themselves. “Full of the confidence of youth and still under the protective umbrella of parents, teens simply feel immune to danger and consequence.”

Here was another good story on social media parenting. –


June 16th, 2010
2:13 pm

@FCM – one of the comments made by a teen about schools blocking access to social media was that she felt like it meant the school was ‘ignoring’ the issue rather than dealing with it. I understand why they block it. It’s a distraction and further because schools have a hard enough time teaching the subjects they are required to teach but nonetheless I thought it was an interesting comment.

John Walsh did advocate parental involvement but he also strongly voiced his opinion about schools teaching kids about internet safety and such and how it’s their responsibility to be aware of what is going on with things like bullying. Are or should schools be liable for bullying incidents? Should we expect schools to basically patrol kids e-lives? Long gone are the days of the bully on the playground; their playground is now the internet and text messages but again, who’s monitoring that playground? If parents aren’t, is it the school’s responsibility?

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

June 16th, 2010
2:16 pm

I had some more time to listen to more of the program this afternoon. So I have added a bunch of points that I gleaned.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by . said: [...]


June 16th, 2010
5:11 pm

Are or should schools be liable for bullying incidents?

Depends–if it is all “text on a phone” where the school is likely not know then no. If the bullying becomes something like those girls kicking the crap out of the one kid (FL Bathroom)in the school restroom YEP they sure should.

Should we expect schools to basically patrol kids e-lives?

Only as I stated before to the point that it is interfering with the school’s goal of teaching OR on school owned hardware/software/wi-fi.

Long gone are the days of the bully on the playground; their playground is now the internet and text messages but again, who’s monitoring that playground?

That is up to the parent. Though I disagree that the days of playground bullying are gone.

If parents aren’t, is it the school’s responsibility?

NO. The parent is legally responsible for that “child” until they are at least 18. They brought that child in to the world they need to raise that child. Problem is that MANY parents don’t want to parent, MANY are still “children” themselves (though disguised as 40 or 50 somethings). Sure there are some parents who really cannot “parent” (a cancer patient for example) in those cases another adult should step in. However SCHOOLS should never become the Parent Role…unless of course you are ultra liberal who thinks that not only does it take a village, but you should get to decide who is the village “elders” that make the rules.

As to John Walsh—I stopped listening to his “insight” years ago. I feel bad his son was brutally murdered. I think that much of the work done but his organization is needed and good. I just think that John Walsh is too biased and radical on some things.

Legend of Len Barker

June 16th, 2010
10:26 pm

I blocked MySpace in the computer lab at the middle school out of necessity. The kids had no concept of danger. Or anything else about computers, which amazed me. It’s the digital age and I’m having to tell kids not to click banner ads that tell them they’ve won a prize for being the millionth visitor.

I believe that in sixth grade, the kids need to have a day or two of training on proper internet usage. I mean starting at the beginning as to how to use search engines. That if you’re looking for something, you don’t just put it in the address bar and put .com behind it.

“Kids are giving up way too much info about schools, where you live, very specific stuff about their lives online.”

I dealt with that more than once.

If you want real entertainment, send a bunch of middle schoolers to the Georgia College 411 site and tell them to go through the career survey.


June 16th, 2010
11:30 pm

You can go to websites such as and purchase software to watch your teens from the comfort of your office. With teens killing themselves live on youtube the stake are high for our youth.

Debby Downer

June 18th, 2010
2:38 pm