By Ethan Arenson, Senior Legal Director, Trust & Safety and Law Enforcement
Mobile devices have forever changed how teenagers learn, communicate, and socialize. Today, 95% of teens have access to a smartphone. Nearly 60% of teens acknowledge being the victim of online bullying. And one out of every two teenagers admits to being addicted to their mobile device. While technology continues to herald amazing innovations and utility for consumers, it also brings challenges for parents, guardians, and others responsible for keeping kids safe in this hyper-connected world.
That's why Verizon Media continues to invest in efforts to ensure its younger users have a safe experience. Just ahead of Safer Internet Day 2019, Verizon Media CEO Guru Gowrappan welcomed local law enforcement officials to our Sunnyvale, California campus for the latest installment of Verizon Media's digital online safety course. We're proud to announce that we've graduated more than 1,000 law enforcement officials from the program since it launched.
Developed by Yahoo and expanding under Verizon Media, the workshop operates in a train-the-trainer format, providing law enforcement officials with the training and materials needed to deliver a digital safety presentation to middle school students and their parents. Topics covered include online bullying, non-consensual pornography, and the importance of digital reputation. Since it debuted more than ten years ago, the program has trained law enforcement officials nationwide, who have delivered digital safety presentations to tens of thousands of students.
This most recent class was attended by law enforcement officials from throughout the Bay Area, and was held in partnership with the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety. Sunnyvale Chief Phan Ngo noted:
"Digital safety for our youth is a top priority of law enforcement. That is why I am grateful to have partners like Verizon supporting our mission. The train the trainer digital safety course is a prime example of the public and private partnership model that makes our communities safer."
We're proud of our work to help keep kids safe online and look forward to reaching an even broader audience as Verizon Media.