News Releases
News Coverage
News Media
PFF Highlights
News Release
CONTACT: Amy Smorodin
July 27, 2009
(202) 289-8928
PFF Releases New Edition of Parental Controls & Online Child Protection Report
Version 4.0 Includes Updated Sections on Social Networking and Mobile Media

WASHINGTON D.C. - Debates continue to rage about how to shield kids from the potential negative effects of various types of media or communications technologies. Is government intervention and regulation really needed to quell concerns, or do parents have access to constructive tools to control what their child sees and hears?  To assist policymakers and parents, The Progress & Freedom Foundation is releasing an updated edition of Adam Thierer's Special Report, "Parental Controls and Online Child Protection: A Survey of Tools & Methods."

In the latest edition of the PFF special report, Thierer, Senior Fellow and Director of PFF's Center for Digital Media Freedom, explores the market for parental control tools, rating schemes, education efforts, and initiatives aimed at promoting online child safety. Version 4.0, now over 250 pages, contains almost 70 exhibits (up from 50), 725 references (up from roughly 500), and numerous updates in all five sections of the book. Major updates have been made to the Internet, social networking, and mobile media sections, reflecting the growing importance of those sectors and issues. Other new sections or appendices have also been added to the report, including:

  • a new section examining how many households really need parental control tools;
  • a new appendix on the downsides of mandatory parental controls and restrictive default settings;
  • a new section on the dangers of "deputizing the online middleman" solution as an approach to solving child safety concerns;
  • a new appendix reviewing the findings of 5 past online safety task forces;
  • and much more.

The updated report is especially timely as it comes on the heels of a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the 1990 Children's Television Act and the announcement of an upcoming FCC inquiry into how the Commission can help to protect children and empower parents concerning digital media.

"Parental Controls and Online Child Protection: A Survey of Tools & Methods, Version 4.0" is available on the PFF website, as are the previous editions.

Adam Thierer is the author of various publications on child safety and media.  He has served as a member of Harvard Law School's Internet Safety Technical Task Force, a "Blue Ribbon Working Group" on child safety organized by Common Sense Media, the iKeepSafe Coalition, and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, and he is also an advisor to the American Legislative Exchange Council's Telecom & IT Task Force. He also serves on the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's Online Safety and Technology Working Group. In 2008, he received the Family Online Safety Institute's "Award for Outstanding Achievement."

The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.



The Progress & Freedom Foundation