Thierer Participates in FCC Workshop on Broadband and Consumer Issues
WASHINGTON D.C. - Child safety concerns are probably not a factor in broadband adoption, stated PFF Senior Fellow Adam Thierer in written testimony presented today at a Federal Communications Commission broadband working group workshop on consumer issues. "In my research, I have never unearthed any substantive empirical evidence suggesting a correlation between parental concerns about online activity and overall household broadband uptake," he explained. Thierer suggested four reasons why online child safety hasn't affected broadband adoption in a significant way:
- Only 32% of U.S. households contain children under the age of eighteen. Thus, for at least 68% of households, online child safety would not be a factor in broadband adoption.
- For many of these households with children in them, parents rely on various methods, such as household media rules, to control online content and Internet access in the home. This suggests that parents understand there are ways to control media consumption if they choose to subscribe to a broadband service.
- Research, including the FCC's own Report on Implementation of the Child Safe Viewing Act, has shown that there is a vast, thriving marketplace for parental control tools. Moreover, studies have shown parents are pleased with technological options available to them to control their children's media consumption, again suggesting child safety would not be a factor in choosing to subscribe to a broadband service.
- As the importance of the Internet grows in the way we communicate and access information, it is likely that parents realize that the benefits of broadband outweigh concerns about online child safety.
Thierer's complete written statement is available on the PFF website.
Thierer is the author of various papers and studies on online safety issues, including the PFF special report, "Parental Controls and Online Protection: A Survey of Tools and Methods," currently in its fourth edition. He has been awarded the Family Online Safety Institute's "Award for Outstanding Achievement" and served on the Harvard Law School's Internet Safety Technical Task Force. Currently, Thierer serves on the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) Online Safety and Technology Working Group.
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.