Our Values In Action
Promoting Internet Safety
They pop up in inboxes and social media platforms with alarming frequency: phony password reset scams, fake friend requests, bogus account termination threats. For the majority of users, they are nuisances to be quickly deleted; yet too many people still fall prey to these schemes. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s most recent data, more than 300,000 cybercrime complaints were filed in 2017, reporting monetary losses of more than $1.4 billion.
Older adults are especially vulnerable to cyber security issues. In fact, people age 50 and over account for 40% of internet fraud complaints, totaling nearly $620 million in losses. Meanwhile, many parents are increasingly concerned about the content their children access and interact with online. The Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) recently reported that 64% of parents are most concerned about the content their children access online, compared with just 32% who worried most about the amount of time their children spend online.
In an effort to promote online safety for all ages, and to increase internet adoption among low-income families, Comcast’s Internet Essentials program has joined forces with 20 attorneys general nationwide to tackle some of the most serious safety challenges relating to online connectivity. The program builds on an initiative launched in 2017 with Attorney General Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania.
“The work of attorneys general is not just to keep people safe on the streets but also to keep people safe online. This partnership between Comcast and attorneys general is innovative and smart; it brings law enforcement and private-sector leaders together to make the internet a safer place,” says Shapiro. “We are empowering people with knowledge so they surf wisely, avoid scams, and are good digital citizens.”
At Comcast, we believe the transformative power of the internet should be available to everyone. And we know that our size and scope uniquely position us to provide low-income seniors, parents, and children with the tools and knowledge they need to be safe online. That’s why we’re working with local media and nonprofits to help raise awareness of internet safety, including funding free online safety classes and distributing free online safety guides.
In 2018, we partnered with FOSI to examine the online attitudes of parents and seniors, finding that 80% of the older adults surveyed fear identity theft, viruses and malware, and financial hacking. The resulting report took a closer look at how generational perceptions of online safety affect internet adoption among lower-income households.
We also teamed up with the nonprofit Connectsafely.org to develop a multimedia internet safety toolkit for use by attorneys general across the country. The materials, which cover eight online safety topics, include up-to-date presentation templates, online safety advisory posters, and interactive tools for attorneys general to share with individuals and families to get them engaged in online safety training.
With funding support from Comcast, the nonprofit Common Sense Media has produced custom-printed resources that offer online safety advice and guidance for parents and teens, while the New York-based Older Adults Technology Services has developed a digital literacy curriculum geared specifically toward senior citizens. These materials are available on our Internet Essentials Learning Portal.
“It’s important that we all work together to inform consumers — whether they are connecting for the first time or have been connected for years — not only about the potential of the internet, but also about the risks,” says Attorney General Christopher M. Carr of Georgia. “With access comes responsibility, and I’m proud of any effort that equips people with the tools and resources they need to be responsible digital citizens.”