OSTWG Working Group Findings Consistent with Five Other Major Task Forces
WASHINGTON D.C. — The Online Safety and Technology Working Group (OSTWG) has just released its final report to Congress entitled, "Youth Safety on a Living Internet." The 150-page report offers a sweeping overview of the challenges of keeping kids safe and secure online and offers numerous recommendations for steps that parents, educators, industry officials, and public policy makers can take to accomplish that goal.
PFF President Adam Thierer served on the task force and was the chair of OSTWG's subcommittee on parental control technologies. He had the following comments on the release of the report:
It has been a privilege to serve on this working group and to direct its subcommittee on parental control technologies. I greatly appreciate being given this opportunity, and it was a joy to work with so many brilliant experts, advocates, academics, and industry leaders who were uniformly dedicated to making our children's online experiences safer and more satisfying.
Consistent with what other blue ribbon working groups, task forces, and various experts have found many times before, OSTWG members have generally concluded that there is no silver-bullet technical solution to online child safety concerns. Instead — and again in agreement with previous research and reports — we have concluded that a diverse toolbox must be brought to bear on these problems and concerns.
Policymakers would be wise to heed the advice of this and the previous task forces that have uniformly found that only a "layered" approach to online child safety, which includes education, empowerment and law enforcement efforts, can keep our kids safe online.
Thierer is the author of a frequently updated report, Parental Controls and Online Child Protection: A Survey of Tools and Methods, which is currently in its fourth edition. Last year he also authored a white paper entitled, "Five Online Safety Task Forces Agree: Education, Empowerment & Self-Regulation Are the Answer." Thierer previously served as member of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force and the "PointSmart. ClickSafe." task forces, and also served as an advisor to the "Byron Commission" task force (Safer Children in a Digital World) in the U.K.
Thierer may be reached for comment. For further information, please contact Mike Wendy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. PFF is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.