Today the Harvard Berkman Center issued its long-awaited report on child safety and online technologies. There’s a lot of quality findings in the report, called Enhancing Child Safety and Online Technologies, the most salient of which is that a range of technologies can and should be used to keep kids safe, that there is no magical ‘silver bullet’ technology solution.
The findings show that social networking and content companies are already doing quite a lot to keep minors safe on their sites. They also show online threats from adults are not the only danger — that youth-on-youth and offline conduct are also critical aspects of child safety. Awareness, education, and parental involvement are crucial to ensuring the online safety of our children.
The report concludes that most kids respond appropriately to online safety threats, but that at-risk individuals are also out there. Online companies will continue to help at-risk kids by implementing their own solutions, observing industry practices, and working with law enforcement.
NetChoice has been a leading industry advocate for protecting children online. We’ve testified before multiple state legislatures, suggesting that education, empowerment, and enforcement are the key ways to keep kids safe online. In 2008, NetChoice worked with leading Internet companies to draft model online child safety legislation. Since then, states including Louisiana, Georgia, and Indiana have passed laws based on this model legislation.
The Task Force is a central element of the Joint Statement on Key Principles of Social Networking Safetyannounced in January 2008 by MySpace and the Attorneys General Multi-State Working Group on Social Networking.
John Palfrey and the Berkman Center convened a task force of child safety and technology experts and led an exhaustive, year-long process to gather data and listen to differing viewpoints on how to best keep kids safe online–and the diligence paid off.
– Braden Cox & Steve DelBianco