Last week, David L. Cohen, Comcast Corporation’s Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer; Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro; Philadelphia Mayor James Kenney; and Ric Harris, President and General Manager of NBC10 and Telemundo62 announced a new Internet Essentials partnership to educate seniors, parents, and children across the Commonwealth about how to stay safe online. This innovative, multi-dimensional effort will combine public service announcements, free in-person training programs, and free educational resources including videos, brochures, and booklets that will also be made available online.
“Protecting Pennsylvania consumers is a top priority of the Office of Attorney General,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “With this partnership, we’re doubling our efforts to educate seniors on Internet safety and do more to protect Pennsylvanians from the scams, fraud, identify theft, and financial exploitation that is costing America’s seniors $3 billion every year.”
Pennsylvania has the fifth most seniors of any state, with 2.2 million residents over the age of 65. That number is only expected to increase over the next several years. According to a Pew Research Center study, 64 percent of seniors regularly use the internet, with more seniors coming online every day.
“As a media and technology company, Comcast is uniquely positioned to contribute to this effort,” added Cohen. “We also know that one of the major reasons why low-income households, and especially seniors, don’t purchase internet service at home is because they’re afraid of it. They’re afraid of online scams and of being taken advantage of. Fortunately, as part of our Internet Essentials program, we have an outstanding network of nonprofit partners in whom we can invest to teach more seniors, adults, and students that the internet can be perfectly safe once you know how to use it and what to watch out for.”
Since 2011, Internet Essentials, Comcast’s signature community investment program and the nation’s largest and most successful broadband adoption initiative for low-income families, has connected more than four million low-income Americans, living in more than one million households, to the Internet. The number includes 272,000 residents across the state of Pennsylvania, which makes it the fourth most successful state in terms of participation in the program with nearly 125,000 from the city of Philadelphia alone.
“I want to commend Comcast and the Office of the Attorney General for their partnership to help protect Philadelphia’s residents when they are online,” said Philadelphia Mayor James Kenney. “The internet is an amazing resource, but our citizens need to be aware of and educated about what they can do to be safe online. This effort will go a long way to reinvigorate that dialogue.”
Attorney General Shapiro pledged to expand senior education efforts by increasing his Office of Public Engagement’s outreach on Internet safety and producing new educational content including videos, brochures, and public service announcements. Through partnerships with Comcast, nonprofits, and other advocates, the Office of Public Engagement will double the number of seniors it educates about Internet safety from an estimated 25,000 in 2016 to at least 50,000 in 2018.
Cohen announced that Comcast would provide in-kind contributions to support a Public Service Announcement across Pennsylvania that will reach millions of residents and help raise awareness about Internet safety issues for seniors, families, and their children. He also said it is making three investments in nonprofit partners including: Philadelphia Corporation for Aging in Philadelphia; Steelton Senior Center in Harrisburg; and Vintage, Inc. in Pittsburgh, to support Internet safety training classes for low-income parents and seniors, along with laptop donations to each organization.
In addition, Comcast announced it would print and distribute for free 10,000 copies of “A Senior’s Guide to Online Safety,” written by Larry Magid, president and CEO of ConnectSafely.org and founder of SafeKids.com. The senior guide was developed and released last year at an Internet Essentials event for seniors in San Francisco. The Company will also add new content to and links from its online Internet Essentials Learning Portal, www.InternetEssentials.com/Learning, where seniors and adults can find and access all of these internet safety materials and more.
Ric Harris, President and General Manager of NBC10 and Telemundo62, also announced that his TV stations would produce a series of free educational videos, using its anchors and on-air talent, to address a variety of internet safety and security topics for seniors, parents, and students. The videos will be made in both English and in Spanish.
“NBC 10 and Telemundo62 are thrilled to bring our talent and production resources to this partnership,” said Harris. “Accessible and engaging content from a trusted news station can go a long way to raise awareness and keep seniors and families safe online. Our goal will be to tackle a variety of internet safety topics like online scams to watch out for, how to create strong passwords, how to protect your privacy online, how to deal with cyberbullying, and more. We’ll break these topics down into simple and informative video content, which is exactly what our news teams do best.”
“Since January, our Office of Public Engagement has delivered more than 800 interactive presentations and reached more than 100,000 Pennsylvanians,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “By further expanding and targeting our outreach next year, my Office is focused on educating seniors and protecting them from the scams and fraud being perpetrated online.”
David L. Cohen, Comcast Corporation’s Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, who spoke about Internet safety and the work our Internet Essentials program has done to connect seniors at the Mayfair Community Center in Philadelphia on Thursday, October 5.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro spoke to the role this partnership will play to educate Pennsylvanians on Internet safety, and to help protect them from scams.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Comcast Corporation’s Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer David L. Cohen with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott-Lovell and seniors in Mayfield Community Center’s computer lab.