Friday, February 23, 2007

An Education-Based Approach to Online Child Safety

From the Technology Liberation Front
Today I released a new PFF study entited (pdf file)“Rep. Bean’s ‘SAFER Net Act’: An Education-Based Approach to Online Child Safety.” The short paper argues that education, not increased governmental regulation, is the most effective method of ensuring online child safety going forward. Luckily, there finally exists a piece of federal legislation that embodies that philosophy.

Rep. Melissa Bean (D-IL) recently introduced H.R. 1008, the “Safeguarding America’s Families by Enhancing and Reorganizing New and Efficient Technologies (SAFER NET) Act of 2006.” The bill would create an Office of Internet Safety and Public Awareness at the Federal Trade Commission, establish federal grants to promote Internet safety programs and create a national public awareness campaigns. While I’m not usually in favor of new government programs and spending (and I’m certain that my colleagues will give me hell for doing so in this case!), I think the government can play a constructive role here in terms of informing parents and kids about how to deal with objectionable material online or other cyber-threats....

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