Symantec’s Internet Safety Advocates help to inform the public about Internet safety issues and provide input to government, educational, and advocacy groups. Three of Symantec’s Internet Safety Advocates—Laurent Heslault (representing Europe, Middle East, and Africa), Effendy Ibrahim (Asia Pacific and Japan), and Marian Merritt (United States) — recently discussed their roles and the challenges we all face regarding online safety.
What methods do you use to get Symantec’s messaging out into the public?
EI: I’ve been interviewed in print media, on TV, and over the radio; I’ve also made presentations and facilitated sharing sessions with parents and students.
MM: I provide materials on the Norton Family Resource site, our destination website for consumers regarding
online safety; on my “Ask Marian” blog; and through such guides as “Family Online Safety,” “Cybercrime Exposed,” and “Cyber Savvy Seniors.” I also answer internet security and Norton product questions sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
LH: I also use many of the methods already mentioned. In addition, I have a blog, where this topic is often covered.
What is the single biggest digital danger that consumers today face? Which Internet safety issues are top-of-mind for consumers in your region?
EI: There are quite a few dangers out there: (1) apathy about the seriousness of cybercrime; (2) cyber bullying, cyber stalking, and Internet addiction; and (3) the seeming helplessness of parents to manage their “digital-native” children and provide the appropriate guidance.
MM: Parents worry more about online predation than the more common day-to-day risks like access to inappropriate materials. Many of these sites harbor malware, creating a dual problem for parents. You don’t want your children experiencing objectionable content. You also don’t want your computer, data, or home network to be infected by the poor choices your family members might make.
LH: Personal information theft, reputation damage, child abuse, and exposition to inappropriate content are all significant digital dangers of which consumers should be aware.
What role can individual employees play in helping to protect consumers online?
EI: Employees should spread Symantec’s message to those in their circle of influence. We need to share with them all the simple things on how they can protect themselves and their families. Parenting online is the same as parenting offline and that we have great Norton products that can help them and their families when they can’t help themselves.
MM: We have wonderful resources to help employees bring consumer internet safety education into their schools, churches and synagogues and other community groups. And they can help publicize our fantastic OnlineFamily.Norton service to help families guide their children to appropriate online content and experiences.
LH: Agreed, we must train our employees to understand these issues and how to deal with them. Then employees can give advice to others and answer questions regarding online safety.