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Online Safety Technology & Safety Working Group Submits Report to NTIA – Time for Congress to Act

Over the past year, OSTWG (which includes NetChoice members AOL, News Corp, and Yahoo) has discussed online safety research and debated the best policies. Our goal was to build a record for our final report to Congress. The report is complete and available on the NTIA website, and I’m proud to say that it’s a tremendously informative review of the current state of online safety.


But a report is only as good as what decision-makers do with it. Again and again child safety experts get together. Again and again education (not regulation) is a primary solution for online safety. Yet policymakers have largely ignored that recommendation. Will this time be any different? Let’s hope so.


The quotes below highlight why we need to educate our teens and young children to be more “digital literate”:


This one by Larry Magid (an OSTWG member) over at the Huffington Post:


What we concluded is that we need to go beyond worrying about predators and pornography and start thinking about young people as active participants – true citizens – in an increasingly interactive online environment where young people are just as likely to create content as they are to consume it.

And Cecilia Kang of the Washington Post quotes Hemu Nigam (a co-chair of OSTWG):


“Thanks to the growing body of youth-online-risk research, we are now able to seek solutions as a society which are fact-based, not fear-based, but also that minors themselves – mainly pre-teens and teens – have a role to play in improving their own safety online and that of their peers,” the group said in its report.

Finally, Adam Thierer (an OSTWG member) blogs:


Importantly, OSTWG accomplished our charge without resorting to the “moral panic” tone that some have adopted when approaching these issues and concerns. While there are serious challenges and concerns surrounding discussions about child safety, it’s important to acknowledge the important benefits of new media and communications technologies to us and our children. We have done so in this report.

Hopefully Congress will accept this report and run with it. And a good start would be the creation of a national digital media literacy campaign, something that NetChoice would happily support and help develop. Anyone?


-Braden Cox