Posted by Julie Inman Grant 
Director,  Privacy and Internet Safety Outreach

Julie Inman Grant
Julie Inman Grant

Today is Safer Internet Day, and events are taking place in 60 countries around the world to mark the occasion.  Organized byInSafe with support from the Safer Internet Programme of the European Union, Safer Internet Day – now in its seventh year -- is an important opportunity for industry, government, law enforcement, the NGO community and concerned citizens to raise awareness around pressing online safety issues. 

The primary mission of Safer Internet Day is to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially among children and young people. This year’s theme is  “Think B4U Post!”

This annual call to raise awareness about the critical intersection of privacy, online reputation and Internet safety is extremely timely.  Just last month, Microsoft released research that indicates 79 percent of hiring managers and job recruiters review online information about potential hires.   Yet a huge number of consumers (30 to 35 percent, depending on nationality) did not recognize that information they post online could impact their personal or professional lives.

Additional research released today by MSN Europe indicates that while almost 80 percent of European teenagers are actively using social networking sites, 43 percent believe there is little risk in revealing their personal information online.  Likewise, only 40 percent of parents indicated they are actively engaged in their children’s online lives.  Yet 59 percent of parents are confident their children are taking necessary precautions with the information they share online. 

These numbers suggest continued global awareness efforts are needed, across a range of geographies and demographics, to minimize online risks while maximizing the benefits of the Internet.

Microsoft and our NGO partners are participating in Safer Internet Day events from Helsinki to Hong Kong.  In Europe, 650 Microsoft volunteers from 25 subsidiaries are delivering online safety training to more than 50,000 parents, teachers and children.  In the U.K., working with law enforcement, Microsoft is launching acustomized IE 8 browser featuring the Child Exploitation Online Protection Center (CEOP) which will make it easier to report abuse online. 

Additionally, Microsoft is one of 20 companies that participated in the Safer Social Networking Services Principles for the European Union.  The results of this effort will be released at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France today.

For more detail on Microsoft’s multifaceted approach to enhancing online safety, please download our  white paper.  In the meantime, we hope you will have an opportunity to take advantage of today’s Safer Internet Day events and always remember to “Think B4 U Post!”