Disney Channel Pushes Internet Safety

Disney Channel will team with family advocacy group Common Sense Media to bring awareness to Internet safety as part of a special episode of the network’s live-action series Dog With A Blog.

The Aug. 11 episode highlights Dog With A Blog character Avery Jennings’ (G Hannelius, pictured right) attempt to join a teen-targeted social network site behind the backs of her parents. As punishment, the parents decide to post funny and embarrassing photos of themselves on Avery’s page, but the move backfires when a video message from the parents mistakenly goes viral at Avery’s school and further inflames the situation.

After the episode airs, the network will run a public service announcement featuring the show’s cast that will emphasize Common Sense Media's online tips for teens and parents for smart and safe use of digital media. The tips include guarding privacy while online, balancing time spent in cyberspace and thinking before texting or posting material online, said network officials.

Disney Channel and Common Sense Media has tackled the issue of cyber bullying in the past: last year the network aired a cyberbullying PSA featuring such Disney stars as Bridgit Mendler, Bella Thorne and China Anne McClain instructing kids to treat each other with kindness online and to encourage parents to teach their kids how to use social media responsibly.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.