Comcast Corp. is teaming up with Albuquerque startup Teeniors and the nonprofit Adelante in a new local campaign to educate seniors, parents and children about online safety.
Teeniors, which matches tech-savvy teens with seniors who need help managing smartphones and other devices, will offer more than 40 free workshops for seniors in Albuquerque and Santa Fe about how to guard against online scams and predators. Adelante will offer similar assistance for low-income seniors in southern New Mexico through the Mesilla Community Center near Las Cruces.
In addition, Comcast contracted Teeniors to help with online safety outreach in Tucson, where a Teeniors Pilot program will be launched in cooperation with the local YMCA.
The workshops are part of a broad Comcast effort to educate the public through public service announcements and free online resources, including videos, brochures and booklets.
David L. Cohen, Comcast senior executive vice president and chief diversity officer, will join Teeniors, Adelante, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and state Attorney General Hector Balderas Wednesday morning to kick off the local campaign at the Barelas Senior Center in Albuquerque.
“Comcast is excited to continue our work towards educating seniors, parents and children across New Mexico about some of the most serious challenges they may face online,” spokeswoman Julianne Phares said. “We believe we’re uniquely positioned to contribute to this effort, and we look forward to sharing the details on Wednesday in partnership with Attorney General Balderas.”
Through its Internet Essentials program, Comcast provides high-speed internet service to low-income families at reduced cost.
Teeniors will employ its teen and senior match-up program to offer group education on online safety, followed by one-on-one assistance for workshop participants, said Teeniors founder and CEO Trish Lopez.
“We’ll teach online safety 101, such as how to maintain privacy settings on phones and computers, what to click on and what not, how email scams work, how to block spam and more,” Lopez said. “There will be a short presentation followed by questions, and then teens will work one-on-one with the seniors.”
Teeniors expects to reach at least 600 seniors through the program over the next year. The company, which launched in 2015, has to date provided assistance to more than 1,000 adults.
Since 2015, Teeniors has employed about 40 teens, who earn $10 an hour for group events and $15 for private lessons. The company is ramping up from about a dozen teens currently on call to about 20 in preparation for the Comcast-sponsored workshops.