Beginning today, parents of toddlers to teens can visit any of the 19 AT&T company-owned stores on Long Island for free, individualized guidance on setting parental controls on their kids’ electronic devices.
The pilot program, called ScreenReady, will customize advice to the age of the child and the way each device is used, says Marissa Shorenstein, president of the Northern Region for AT&T, which covers New York State. “Parents can ask for advice about parental controls and get hands-on guidance on content filter settings on tablets and phones,” Shorenstein says. Participants don’t need to be AT&T customers, she says.
The program was spurred by the results of a survey of parents and teens in the New York metropolitan area that showed, among other things, that 31 percent of teens have messaged a stranger online, 84 percent of kids ages 3 to 7 have their own internet device and that 72 percent of teens report they are regularly or from time-to-time seeing material their parents would consider inappropriate. The survey was commissioned by AT&T in conjunction with the nonprofit No Bully and The Tyler Clementi Foundation and was conducted by Quadrant Strategies during the summer.
Although 70 percent of parents of teens said they can see what their teens are doing online whenever they want, their teens apparently don’t agree: More than 57 percent of teens say they could easily hide whatever they do online from their parents.
“We felt there was a disconnect we could address, and help parents better protect their kids and teens,” Shorenstein says.
ScreenReady is being offered in 130 stores in the New York metropolitan area, and if it’s successful it will be expanded nationwide, she says. No appointment is needed. To locate the nearest AT&T store, visit att.com.