REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 9, 2002 — Advanced parental controls and other online safety features in MSN® 8 have won high marks from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Internet Mom Robin Raskin.
MSN 8, which launches Oct. 24 in the United States, offers parental controls that will allow parents to place customized restrictions on where their kids surf on the Web and whom they interact with via e-mail and instant messaging. The newest version of MSN also provides online activities appropriate for different ages of kids and allows parents to monitor their children's online activity. In addition, MSN 8 helps protect the family PC with e-mail virus protection.
Although Internet safety is a primary concern for parents, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has found that two-thirds of families don't have filtering or blocking software. To help rectify this, NCMEC has launched NetSmartz, an online safety education campaign designed to give parents guidelines to help keep kids safe online. The organization also recommends the enhanced online safety tools from MSN 8 as an important instrument for parents to help protect their kids online.
"The comprehensive parental controls offered with MSN 8 demonstrate Microsoft's commitment to offering flexible safety tools -- ones that allow parents to help create a safe, customized Web experience that is tailored to each child's age, maturity and interests," said Ernie Allen, president and CEO of NCMEC. "The MSN 8 parental controls, along with safety precautions offered with NetSmartz, will help create a safe environment for families to take advantage of all the good things the Internet has to offer."
"Parents want to do the right thing to help keep their kids safe on the Internet, but in the past most solutions have been hard to implement and ineffective," said Robin Raskin, author and expert on family computing and well-known Internet Mom. "The new parental controls from MSN provide families with the tools necessary to help create a safe online environment for kids, whether they're using e-mail, instant messaging or browsing the Web. Parents will appreciate the flexibility of MSN 8 parental controls to help keep kids safe while they are having fun on the Internet."
Microsoft conducted thousands of hours of research, even sending researchers into the homes of consumers to study their online habits and preferences, to develop the parental controls and other family-friendly features of MSN 8. This study and the resulting software development enabled Microsoft to add a level of content control and flexibility that rivals other Internet service providers and browsers today.
"We are truly proud to offer consumers a level of online safety that rivals those offered by other Internet service providers, a level of safety that is both robust and easily customized to the needs and standards of different families," said Yusuf Mehdi, vice president for MSN. "We are also gratified that we were able to deliver on our promise to consumers to make the Internet safer and more secure for families. From the outset, we set a high bar, and the online safety features of MSN 8 reach that bar."
MSN 8 Offers Robust, Flexible Online Protection
The specific online safety features offered by MSN 8 include the following:
Flexible filtering. Parents can select from age-specific settings that block inappropriate Web sites for kids in three age groups. They can also create customized settings to block specific Web sites, pages within Web sites or categories of sites, such as those for gambling or arts and entertainment.
Communications controls. A child's access can be allowed, blocked or limited to sending and receiving messages when using MSN Mail and MSN Messenger, to and from those who appear in a parent-approved contact list.
Kids Request Line. Kids can request, via e-mail, permission from their parents to access Web pages, e-mail addresses or MSN Messenger accounts they don't already have permission to use. Parents can approve or deny the requests or set up new restrictions.
Download controls. Parents can prohibit Internet downloads.
Kids Search. When searching the Web, kids receive age-appropriate selections drawn from more than 60,000 prescreened sites -- more than double the number of prescreened sites offered by other ISPs today.
Kids Home Pages. MSN 8 offers two home pages, one for younger kids and one for older kids and younger teens, that serve as a launching point onto the Internet. The sites offer age-specific games, music and songs, and other activities, including content from Disney Online and Noggin.
Weekly history reports. A weekly e-mail message sent to parents details their kids' recent online activity, including the total time spent online, Web sites they visited or tried to visit, e-mail addresses and MSN Messenger accounts of people with whom they've corresponded and attempted to correspond, and files they have downloaded.
In addition to these parental controls, MSN 8 offers enhanced protection for the family PC. Anti-virus protection services from McAfee.com, a leading provider of anti-virus software, included with MSN 8 scans and cleans viruses from e-mail attachments at the server level and automatically installs updated protections to help shield subscribers' PCs from the latest viruses.
The online safety features aren't all that distinguish MSN 8 from the competition. MSN 8 also offers new and upgraded communications tools, such as advanced junk-mail filtering and full-featured e-mail, and advanced browsing tools, such as a streamlined user interface and personalized dashboard, an onscreen spot where users can compile their favorite or most-used online resources, such as digital pictures or instant messaging contacts.
MSN has 8.7 million subscriptions and attracts more than 300 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 34 markets and 18 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering Web services to consumers and digital marketing solutions to businesses worldwide. The most useful and innovative online service today, MSN brings consumers everything they need from the Web to make the most of their time online. MSN is located on the Web at http://www.msn.com/ . MSN worldwide sites are located at http://www.msn.com/worldwide.ashx .
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT" ) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software -- any time, any place and on any device.
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