ST. LOUIS (October 1, 2009) – Build-A-Bear Workshop®, in partnership with WiredSafety.org, is promoting October as Stop Cyberbullying Month at Build-A-Bear Workshop stores and in its online virtual world, buildabearville.com®. The interactive entertainment retailer of customized stuffed animals is focusing on online safety education and how to help prevent cyberbullying with a number of programs.
Cyberbullying is the use of digital technology as a weapon by one minor to hurt another minor and it is a growing problem. The Build-A-Bear Workshop online safety program is geared towards children and parents and has been developed in association with leading cyber safety expert Parry Aftab, executive director and founder of WiredSafety.org. The organization is the world's largest cyber safety group that aims to increase online safety awareness by providing families with resources and usage guidelines. The organization also operates StopCyberbullying.org.
In early 2009, Build-A-Bear Workshop received the 2009 WiredKids Best of the Web Award sponsored by WiredSafety.org and recently the company was included in the WiredSafety StopCyberbullying Toolkit for Schools, a free resource for educators sponsored by industry leaders. The company has also earned the Socially Safe Seal and Socially Safe Kids Seal from SociallySafe.org, for its Web site and virtual world.
In addition to the online and in store Stop Cyberbullying program, Build-A-Bear Workshop is participating with other corporate leaders and child advocacy groups in a first ever Stop Cyberbullying Coalition event to be held on Oct.13 in Washington D.C. on Capitol Hill. Youth cyber experts from WiredSafety will represent the teen and tween viewpoint along with Build-A-Bear Workshop and other companies who will share cyber safety policies and practices.
According to Parry Aftab, who is advising Build-A-Bear Workshop on the Stop Cyberbullying Program, “In recent polls conducted by WiredSafety, cyberbullying has been seen in kids as young as seven, with an increase in cyberbullying among fourth-graders. I am pleased that top brands, such as Build-A-Bear Workshop, have stepped up to the challenge to help provide safe online spaces for kids. This is a critical issue; with leading companies working together, we are accomplishing our mutual goals of making safety in the online space a top priority.”
“Our objective is to be part of the solution to stop cyberbullying and to help ensure that buildabearville.com is as safe as it can be,” said Maxine Clark, founder and chief executive bear of Build-A-Bear Workshop. “We are a company committed to children and families and protecting kids is paramount to us. We are pleased to work in association with WiredSafety.org and other corporate leaders to address online safety for children.”
The Build-A-Bear Workshop company-wide Stop Cyberbullying program is comprised of several online and in store elements.
- Citizens of buildabearville.com can take the WiredSafety Pledge to receive a virtual safety sash for their avatars.
- Build-A-Bearville® will feature a meter in Town Square and as citizens click the Safety Pledge they will be counted until they fill the meter which will allow all citizens of the virtual world to receive a unique Stop, Block and Tell move for their avatar.
- Build-A-Bearville is providing online Stop, Block and Tell safety tips for kids as well as resources and recommendations for parents.
- A map of Build-A-Bearville and the online Safety Pledge will be available to all Guests.
- ChloeRocks™, the star of The Build-A-Bearville Chloe Show, is featured in Online Safety Public Service Announcements in store.
“Build-A-Bear Workshop is helping to create awareness for this important safety messaging for kids; we are committed to the goal of making our virtual world a safe and fun extension of the Build-A-Bear Workshop in-store experience with enhanced games, imagination, education and learning,” said Dave Finnegan, chief information and logistics bear of Build-A-Bear Workshop. “We are proud to be one of the first recipients of the WireSafety.org Socially Safe Seal for Build-A-Bearville and we will continue to engage in a dialogue with parents, technology experts and industry organizations to design safe online spaces for kids on the web.”
About Build-A-Bear Workshop
Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. is the leading and only global company that offers an interactive make-your-own stuffed animal retail-entertainment experience. Founded in 1997, the company and its franchisees currently operate more than 400 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide, including company-owned stores in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland and France, and franchise stores in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. In 2007, the interactive experience was enhanced - all the way to CyBEAR™ space - with the launch of buildabearville.com®, the company’s virtual world stuffed with fun. The company was named to the 2009 FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® list. Build-A-Bear Workshop (NYSE: BBW) posted total revenue of $468 million in fiscal 2008. For more information, call 888.560.BEAR (2327) or visit the company’s award-winning Web site at www.buildabear.com.
Parental permission may be required to access buildabearville.com. Visit buildabearville.com for details.
About Parry Aftab
Parry Aftab has devoted her expertise, since 1995, to enhancing cyber-security for business and governmental entities, as well as preventing and investigating cyber-crimes, especially those that arise in the workplace or relate to Internet predators. In this field, she often wears two hats -- one is her commercial role of the cyber-lawyer focused on keeping businesses safe in cyberspace and improving e-commerce and trust, while the other is her pro-bono hat where she is heavily involved in Internet safety and security for children, senior citizens and victims of cyber-stalking and abuse. In her pro-bono role, she runs the world's largest online safety and help group that works closely with all major law enforcement agencies worldwide. To learn more about Parry's charitable work, visit WiredSafety.org .
WiredSafety.org was the world's first, and is the largest, Internet safety and help group, comprised of thousands of unpaid volunteers. It is dedicated to helping families enjoy the new technologies, safely, privately, and responsibly. WiredSafety.org's work has increasingly focused on children, tweens, and teens. It serves as the umbrella organization for Teenangels, WiredKids, and StopCyberbullying, among others and is launching the StopCyberbullying Toolkit, a free resource of schools.
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