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Symantec Launches Nationwide Initiative to Champion Issues Facing Today’s Digital Families


Security Leader of Norton Products Appoints First-Ever Internet Safety Advocate

CUPERTINO, Calif. – Symantec unveiled plans for a nationwide initiative to address the rapidly growing needs of today’s digital families and aims to narrow the gap between parents who have little to no familiarity with the Internet and their cyber-savvy children. Norton product customer experience veteran Marian Merritt has been named the company’s first-ever Internet Safety Advocate and will helm this initiative.

According to a February 2007 Harris Interactive poll, about four in 10 teens (43 percent) report that their parents usually know what they are doing online, but do not have any rules about their activity, while 37 percent report that their parents have no idea what they are doing online. Furthermore, about four in 10 teens (43 percent) report that they have experienced some form of cyberbullying in the last year.

To aid parents in educating children about cyber safety, Symantec also launched today the Family Resource Web site (, which includes tips, resources and information on the following topics:

* How to Protect You and Your Family – Offers advice around topics such as MySpace, YouTube and other social networking sites; cyber ethics; privacy; safe surfing; instant messaging and online games.
* Talking to Your Kids – Offers a checklist of what Internet safety topics to discuss with kids, whether they are elementary school age, tweens or teens.
* Resources for Parents – Arms parents with the latest news, reports and information on safe surfing and searching, including a monthly security report; practical advice for recovering from financial identity theft; tips for protecting against phishing; and the latest news on viruses, threats and other attacks.

“Symantec is committed to making sure every consumer – especially the millions of digital families who depend on technologies for their day-to-day lives – can be confident on the Internet,” said Janice Chaffin, group president, consumer business unit, Symantec Corp. “As the industry leader, we are dedicated to safeguarding today’s digital families by providing best-of-class Internet security software while also helping parents guide their children in staying safe online and making sure children are good cybercitizens.”

“With direction and supervision, the Internet can be a positive, safe place for families to research, learn, communicate and socialize,” said Merritt, Internet Safety Advocate, Symantec Corp. “Symantec’s family cyber security initiative is committed to arming digital families with the tools and resources to keep them and their computers safe online.”

Merritt brings a decade of experience working in Internet security product development to her role as Internet Safety Advocate. As a mother of three school-age children, Merritt began championing on behalf of cyber safety causes after realizing her community was divided between parents, who tended to lag behind in technology, and their children, who embraced computers, gadgets and the Internet. She meets regularly with teachers, parents and children to discuss issues involving Internet safety. Merritt is also consulting with the Norton product teams to ensure the highest level of meaningful parental controls are integrated into Norton brand software products.

Merritt’s appointment and the launch of the Family Resource Web site kick off Symantec’s family-focused cyber security initiative. Additional programs will launch throughout the year and include advocacy programs, a speaker’s series, town hall meetings and more.

Consumers are invited to e-mail Merritt with questions and suggestions at


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