Today is international Safer Internet Day (SID), an annual event dedicated to promoting responsible use of the Internet and mobile technology, particularly among children and youth. 

Organized each year by Brussels-based Insafe and co-founded by the European Union, February 8, 2011, marks the eighth installment of SID. This year’s theme focuses on “our virtual lives” under the banner, “It’s more than a game, it’s your life.” As in years past, SID 2011 is expected to spark hundreds of Internet safety-related activities and events by a multitude of participants in dozens of countries. 

Microsoft was an inaugural participant in and has been a long-standing advocate of Safer Internet Day, particularly in Europe, the birthplace of SID. From conducting consumer research and raising awareness of online risks to partnering with industry and government and sponsoring educational programs, Microsoft has sought to demonstrate its ongoing commitment to a safer and healthier Internet for all.   

This year, Microsoft is expanding their involvement. In addition to events across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, we’re embracing the online-gaming theme, which is particularly relevant in the U.S. Microsoft is teaming with local Boys and Girls Clubs to sponsor a series of fun and friendly "Family ‘Online’ Game Nights", featuring Kinect for XBOX 360, the company’s cutting-edge interactive gaming experience.   

The events will be held in three cities: Atlanta (February 8), Chicago (February 10) and Los Angeles (February 15). Participants will have the opportunity to play games, learn how to engage in game-play more safely and pick up educational materials about personal and family online safety. A Microsoft-commissioned survey of American parents of online gamers shows that parents and children spend a significant amount of time playing online games together.

  • On average, parents and their children play nearly 1.5 hours per day.
  • More than 80 percent of parents play with their children at least once a week.
  • More than half of parents’ gaming hours are spent playing with their children.

For these parents, research shows online gaming is a social activity and a form of entertainment, as well as a stress-reliever.

Parents rank gaming risks lower than other online activities, and 86 percent of parents say the steps they’ve taken to help protect their children have been effective.  

To learn more about safer online gaming for you and your family, visit:  www.GetGameSmart.com; view or download Microsoft’s safer online gaming brochure, and visit www.microsoft.com/protect for other general online safety advice and guidance. 

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