AT&T* is launching a new program in Boston designed to equip middle and high-school students with leadership and online safety skills for the digital age. AT&T Positively Digital℠, part of the AT&T Believes℠ initiative, is a collaborative effort with three Boston youth organizations – Camp Harbor View, The Base and Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston.
A recent AT&T survey found that 98% of teens have a mobile device and 85% say they spend at least 3 hours a day online. The data shows that 2/3 of teens surveyed say they have engaged in at least one risky behavior online.
57% of teens say they know how to hide content from their parents.
Half of teens say they have experienced some form of cyberbullying.
1 in 5 teen girls surveyed said they have sent sexually explicit photos.
15% said they have met strangers online.
“Whether they are on their mobile devices or in front of a computer screen, being constantly connected can present both opportunities and challenges for our teens,” said Patricia Jacobs, President, AT&T New England. “By making positive choices online, Boston’s youth can harness the power of technology to build a confident self-image; create positivity and support on-line; and build strong, nurturing communities. We support Boston’s youth in their efforts to become a generation of leaders by making a positive difference on the screen and the street.”
AT&T and the AT&T Foundation will provide financial support of half a million dollars to a number of community groups including Camp Harbor View, The Base and The Boys & Girls Club of Boston. Throughout 2019, these organizations will collaborate with AT&T and others to develop events, activities and curriculum. Ultimately, the program aims to enhance communications, promote critical thinking skills and encourage constructive training, create social media campaigns and learn how to use their voices for good through mediums like online radio and podcasts.
As part of this program, Boston’s youth will both participate in and create new peer programs that harness the power of connectivity in a positive way. AT&T Positively Digital℠ will help teens examine and address issues such as cyberbullying, online safety, equality, diversity and how to recognize fact from fiction online.
Today’s launch event will include remarks from Governor Baker and Mayor Walsh, as well as youth presentations and a panel discussion with community leaders.
Additionally, today’s event will premier two short films featuring Governor Baker and Mayor Walsh. As part of AT&T Positively Digital℠, Governor Baker hosted an intimate roundtable in May with a small group of Boston teens to discuss online leadership. Mayor Walsh filmed a Public Service Announcement with youth from each of the three participating organizations about the impact of online behavior on the community.
“As the world becomes increasingly connected, it’s important that we encourage young people to think about using technology in a positive way,” said Charlie Baker, Governor of Massachusetts. “This collaboration between AT&T and great community organizations like The BASE, Camp Harbor View and Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston is an opportunity to start that important conversation as we seek to promote positive behavior.”
"As a City, we see the many benefits that advances in technology bring to our young people and our neighborhoods," said Martin J. Walsh, Mayor of Boston. "But our young people also need to be aware of how to engage with new technology in safe, healthy, and productive ways. I want to thank AT&T for collaborating with our great youth organizations, Camp Harbor View, The Base, and Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, on this exciting initiative. They will help inspire our young leaders to set a positive example for their peers, and our entire City, in how to use technology for good.”
“AT&T has rightly recognized that technology has the power to change lives. And with the right support and enthusiasm, we can help our kids unlock the power of technology and use it to become Boston’s next generation of leaders,” said Jack Connors, Jr., Co-Founder and Chairman of Camp Harbor View. “Creating possibilities for Boston’s underserved youth has always been the goal at Camp Harbor View and this initiative does just that in a new and exciting way. These types of collaborations are key to making real, lasting change in Boston and I’m grateful to AT&T for bringing us together.”
“The BASE and AT&T are changing the game for Urban Youth in Boston,” said Robert Lewis, Jr., Founder and President of The Base. “It's about teaching our student athletes a shared set of values and skills which allows them to put into action for the common good. This collaboration with AT&T will help our young leaders prepare, practice and perform in the Digital space and be the civic leaders of their communities and beyond.”
“Thanks to our alliance with AT&T, Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston will work to empower our members across Boston and Chelsea to think differently and use technology as a tool for positive change,” said Josh Kraft, Nicholas President and CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston. “We are grateful for this collaboration with AT&T, which will provide new opportunities for children and teens to engage with each other and their community, both online and off. I’m excited to see the creative things our members accomplish as they grow up to be confident, active leaders and citizens in Boston and beyond.”
In parallel with today’s news, AT&T also announced that Boston has been selected as its next ScreenReady℠ city. When it launches in Boston later this year, the program, which debuted in New York City last fall, will provide consumers – regardless of their wireless provider - with two services at no charge.
First, AT&T’s retail-based device experts will provide hands-on guidance within the parental controls and content filter settings on the consumer’s phone and tablet. These settings, which are built into the operating systems of many devices already, can be hard to understand and navigate. Second, parents and caregivers will be able to access customized tips, created in collaboration with Common Sense Media, to fit their family’s online safety needs on a newly created AT&T mobile website, accessible in stores on free-to-use display tablets.
AT&T Positively Digital℠ is part of the AT&T Believes℠ initiative, a nationwide commitment to engaging on issues critical to the wellbeing of the neighborhoods in which we work and live.
AT&T Believes℠ initiatives have been launched in several cities across the U.S., including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Trenton, and Lebanon, Virginia, with more expected in 2019. Learn more at www.attbelieves.com.
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 AT&T and the bullying prevention non-profits No Bully and the Tyler Clementi Foundation completed a survey of 500 New York City teens, 500 parents of teens and 500 millennial parents of younger children from August 31 through October 1, 2018. For additional information, see AT&T’s Report on Developing Safe and Successful Mobile Device and Online Media Habits