We all have seen the headlines on sexting, cyberbullying and the problems with kids and social networking. Headlines that often warn families of the perils and dangers that kids will encounter when they surf the web. Add on the array of wireless capabilities with cell phones and video games and parents feel lost. And don't forget, it's not just teens and tweens that we need to talk to about online safety ... there's a growing number of texting and social networking seniors who are actively engaged online.
The good news here is that there are wide-spread efforts around the world to teach families how to stay online. In the U.S., state and local governments are actively proposing new laws to develop educational programs, industry continues to develop top-notch parental controls and educational materials and non-profits groups, such as FOSI, work day in and day out to determine and promote the best practices to encourage safe Internet use.
So where is the disconnect? If there are wonderful tools and programs in place, why do we continue to see tragic stories in the media? The answer is not simple. There is no silver-bullet solution.
We need to build a Culture of Responsibility online where government, law enforcement, industry, teachers, parents and the kids themselves accept differing yet overlapping areas of responsibility.
As governments across the world are working to bring broadband into more homes, it's now more important than ever to build a Culture of Responsibility online. In the U.S., the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act recently allocated $4.7 billion to promote broadband deployment in unserved and underserved communities. Last year the U.K. initiated a similar government push by issuing the Digital Britain report that aims to have 100% broadband coverage by 2012. Other countries around the world, including many developing countries, are doing the same. Now is the time to put broadband responsibility education in place.
FOSI is working to promote the need to connect the next billion users online safely. There are tremendous efforts all over the world in place to protect kids online. We are looking to bring together the best and brightest to determine what the problems are, why they are happening and what needs to be done to solve them. We are working to convene and coordinate all of the efforts in order to determine the best practices, tools and policies and how we can begin to implement them. For this reason, we host a FOSI annual conference in D.C. which brings together top leaders from government, education, industry and the nonprofit sector for this flagship event on online safety.
We invite you to join us in D.C. for our conference, Building a Culture of Responsibility: From Online Safety to Digital Citizenship
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