DENVER, June 13, 2006 - Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) has partnered with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children(R) (NCMEC) to present the Qwest Connected Family Online Classroom to Colorado families and proactively help combat online exploitation of youth through increased parental and guardian education.
This critical issue continues to have a startling impact on the estimated 24 million child Internet users: according to a U.S. Department of Justice study, one in five children online is sexually solicited yet only one in four told a parent or guardian. The Online Classroom provides educational guidelines and learning resources for parents and guardians to help reduce the incidence of online victimization.
Qwest has created a coalition of key leaders, who are united to raise awareness in Colorado. This group is calling for 10,000 Coloradans to become informed about online safety issues and prevention tips through the Qwest Connected Family Online Classroom by the end of the year.
"Qwest believes proactive education is the key to safer use of the Internet as more children go online to communicate, learn and network especially during the summer when many kids are away from school," said Paula Kruger, executive vice president, Qwest mass markets group. "Qwest and coalition members are asking parents and guardians to visit the Online Classroom to become certified and complete the Parents Summer Safety-Net Test."
The Qwest Connected Family Online Classroom was co-developed by NCMEC and is on the Internet at www.incredibleinternet.com/onlinesafety. The following tools are available in English and Spanish:
Qwest will donate up to $25,000 in 2006 to Colorado schools whose families participate in the online safety certification. A $250 grant will go to the first 100 Colorado schools that have at least 20 percent of parents and guardians certified by the end of the year.
The Denver Public Library will also be linking to the Online Classroom at computer terminals within their 23 branches to encourage parents and guardians to learn about safer surfing while using the library.
"We are proud to partner with Qwest to help educate parents and guardians about the importance of taking responsibility for their children?s online lives," said Robbie Callaway, NCMEC cofounder and former chairman of the board. "The Qwest Connected Family Online Classroom was designed to provide families with Internet safety information needed to better prepare them to address the possible dangers children encounter online."
A link to the online classroom will be featured on the respective Web sites of the Colorado Parent Teacher Association, the Public Education and Business Coalition (PEBC), the Colorado Attorney General and the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force. Qwest is committed to meeting the needs of ICAC and continues to urgently support subpoena requests pertaining to Internet crimes against children in an effort to assist law enforcement in the prosecution of online predators. For more information visit www.incredibleinternet.com/onlinesafety.
Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q), through its operating subsidiaries, is a leading provider of high-speed Internet, data, video and voice services. With nearly 40,000 employees, Qwest is committed to the "Spirit of Service" and providing world-class services that exceed customers' expectations for quality, value and reliability. For more information, please visit the Qwest Web site at www.qwest.com.
About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
NCMEC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. NCMEC's congressionally mandated CyberTipline, a reporting mechanism for child sexual exploitation, has handled more than 387,800 leads. Since its establishment in 1984, NCMEC has assisted law enforcement with more than 119,800 missing child cases, resulting in the recovery of more than 102,200 children. For more information about NCMEC, call its toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST or visit its web site at www.missingkids.com.
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