Microsoft wants children to play it safe online

The software giant launches an Internet privacy and safety portal for children to help them learn about protecting themselves while surfing the Internet.

Shaquille O'Neal wants children to play safe on the Web.

The Los Angeles Lakers basketball star, along with Olympic ice skating gold medalist Tara Lipinski, is promoting Microsoft's Internet privacy and safety portal for children. Launched Monday, Stay Safe Online teaches children how to protect their personal information online, the Redmond, Wash., software giant said in a statement.

The Web site features a 15-minute animated tutorial, featuring O'Neal and Lipinski, telling children not to give out any personal information, reminding them that they are responsible for their actions online and warning them never to agree to meet in person with people they talk to online.

Following the online tutorial, children are quizzed and receive Stay Safe Online certificates after they have answered all the questions correctly.

The program is in response to a Microsoft-sponsored study that found that parents are concerned their children will visit inappropriate Web sites or make inappropriate contact online with people they do not know. Parents are unsure of what tools and policies are available to help guide and regulate their children's Internet experience, according to the survey.

The site also provides information on Microsoft and third-party products that enable people to control and secure their information.