FOSI 2013 Annual Conference. Connect.Share.Empower
November 6th and 7th, 2013
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
The Family Online Safety Institute’s 2013 Annual Conference took place at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, in Washington DC. This year’s conference, held on November 6th and 7th, brought together the top thinkers in online safety: academics, educators, law enforcement, industry, policy makers, and non-profits.
During this two-day event there were a variety of issues discussed including privacy, technologies of the future, online reputation, identity theft, and international trends.
An event summary is available here. To watch videos from the event please check our YouTube channel.
For more information about this event please email
"In-Conversation" with Rosalind Wiseman and Stephen Balkam
September 9, 2013
Time & Life Building, 1271 6th Ave
New York, NY
On September 9th, the Family Online Safety Institute hosted an "in conversation" event featuring a one-on-one discussion between FOSI CEO Stephen Balkam and New York Times bestselling author Rosalind Wiseman, in New York City.
Rosalind Wiseman is an American parenting educator and author of several publications. Her book Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence, released in 2002, was the basis of the hit comedy film Mean Girls (2004).
On September 10th Rosalind released her highly anticipated new book, Masterminds and Wingmen: First Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World. This book creates a new language and analytical framework to understand the power of boys' social hierarchies and how these influence their decision-making and emotional well-being, and is a must read for parents, educators, coaches, and anyone working with boys.
The discussion between Stephen and Rosalind was interesting, funny, and thought provoking. Rosalind regaled the audience with her findings during her research with some of her most intriguing discoveries centering around the teenage male social structure, their online lives, and how they relate to young women. The lively discussion was peppered with audience questions, and shared experiences.
Teens and Online Privacy
August 20, 2013
Canon House Office Building, Room 121
The Family Online Safety Institute, with the support of Congressman Honda, hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill on August 20th, 2013 designed to cover the breadth of privacy issues that touch on the lives of teens. To a packed room of Hill staffers, non-profit representatives and industry personnel, panelists Tim Sparapani, App Developers Alliance, Emma Llanso, Centre for Democracy & Technology, Carl Szabo, Net Choice and Heather Federman, Future of Privacy Forum responded to issues raised by the moderator Jennifer Hanley of FOSI.
The panel discussed the U.S Administration efforts and the work of the National Telecommunications & Information Administration on app transparency. They delved into U.S State actions, especially those in California and Maryland. The impact of international proposals, notably from the EU, was covered in addition to current industry efforts around promoting privacy and parental controls. Panelists were keen to highlight the problems with ill-thought through legislation in this area, with the potentially serious implications of unintended consequences high on their list of concerns. FOSI will be hosting more briefings on key topic in the future. In the meantime if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact
June 24, 2013
On June 24th, 2013, the Family Online Safety Institute and Telstra partnered to host a forum entitled Global Digital Citizenship: Encouraging Safe and Responsible Online Use, in Melbourne, Australia.
The event provided the opportunity for participants to engage with other members of industry, academics, government officials, and the non-profit sector and openly discuss the issues, challenges, and opportunities that arise in online safety. At the forum, FOSI introduced A Platform for Good to the region – its newest initiative designed to connect parents, teachers, and teens to online safety resources, information and volunteer opportunities.
European Forum 2013; Year of the Digital Citizen: Online Safety, Data Protection and Privacy
May 15th, 2013
Google's EMEA Headquarters
On May 15th, 2013, the Family Online Safety Institute was delighted to host its annual European Forum at Google’s EU Headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. With a focus on online safety, data protection and privacy, this event gave the opportunity for our delegates and attendees to discuss these critical issues and exchange ideas, opinions, strategies and priorities.
The day began with a keynote address by Frances Fitzgerald, the Irish Minister for Children & Youth Affairs. Her insightful and thought provoking address can be found here.
Following Minister Fitzgerald was FOSI’s CEO Stephen Balkam, who introduced FOSI’s newest initiative, A Platform for Good (PfG). It was the first step in a longer-term effort to internationalize PfG and to make it available to parents, teachers and teens throughout the world. Stephen’s presentation can be found here.
To address the three key areas of attention for the forum: online safety, data protection and privacy, FOSI held three separate panels to focus on the issues surrounding each of these topics. The panels were full of meaningful and intense discussion, with speakers from the European Commission, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, representatives from Facebook, Twitter, Google, leading researchers and other panelists. The role of the CEO coalition was discussed, as well as the importance of awareness and education, and the necessity of giving parents tools to make decisions for their own families. All three panels were highly interactive, with a substantial amount of attendee input.
To close the event, UK MP Claire Perry, gave a short keynote address to highlight some of the areas of concern in the UK, and to emphasize particular areas of interest in her new role as Special Advisor to the UK Prime Minister on the sexualization and commercialization of childhood.
Overall, FOSI’s 2013 European Forum was interactive, challenging, and thought-provoking. We thank our keynotes, panelists and audience members for making it such a success.
SEMINAR: Youth, Gender and Online Exposure
March 7, 2013
Embassy of Sweden
On March 7th 2013, FOSI and the House of Sweden co-hosted a seminar to discuss how youth and teens engage in social platforms online, and whether or not there is a difference in the way young people are exposed to exploitation online from a gender equality perspective. The seminar also showcased methods on pro-active work to prevent exposure online.
Among the speakers: Stephen Balkam, Chief Executive Officer at Family Online Safety Institute, researchers Janis Wolak from USA and Helmer Larsen from Denmark, Kaja Haegg from Norwegian Save the Children, Maria Nyman from the Swedish National Board for Youth Affairs.
09:30am - Welcome, Introduction to the seminar
Joakim Stymne, State Secretary at Sweden's Ministry of Culture
MC: Karin Bengtsson, Nordic Committee of Senior Officials for Gender Equality and Lotta Jarvenius Rössner, Nordic Committee for Children and Young People (NORDBUK)
09:40am - Digital Citizenship and the Empowering nature of the Internet
Stephen Balkam, Chief Executive Officer at Family Online Safety Institute
09:50am - Online harassment and victimization among Danish adolescents
Helmer Larsen, associate professor, Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen
10:00am - Prevent youth exposure online - National results and successful methods in Sweden
Maria Nyman, Project officer (Youth, Sex, Internet) The Swedish National Board for Youth Affairs
10:15am - Norwegian reality - the NGO perspective, working in partnerships, groups at risk
Kaja Haegg, Save the children - Norway
10:30am - Online risks and youth victimization, trends from law enforcement data
Janis Wolak, Senior Researcher, Crimes against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire, USA.
10:40am - Panel discussion with audience and speakers
Moderator: Stephen Balkam, Chief Executive Officer at Family Online Safety Institute
11:30am - Closing remarks
FOSI COPPA Redux: Implications of the updated Children's Online Privacy Protection Act Rule
January 10, 2013
The National Press Club, Holeman Lounge
On January 10th FOSI convened a highly interactive panel at the National Press Club in Washington, DC to discuss the changes to the COPPA Rule. The event bought together key players from industry, the FTC, academics and non-profits to debate the revisions.
Rick Quaresima, of the Federal Trade Commission, outlined the proposals and provided the audience members with insights into the Commission’s thinking as they drafted some of the more controversial provisions. Specifically he spoke about the changes made to the definition of ‘operator’ and ‘personal information.’ He also assured attendees that the FTC will be engaging in an educational campaign to help websites and apps ensure compliance by July 1st 2013.
An hour-long panel discussion followed, moderated by Jennifer Hanley of the Family Online Safety Institute, featuring Dona Fraser of the Entertainment Software Rating Board, Jim Halpert from DLA Piper, Edward Palmieri from Facebook and Tim Sparapani representing the Application Developers Alliance. The panelists started by highlighting the positive changes made to COPPA on December 19th, before looking in detail at the potential impact on content for kids, the legal issues around the ‘actual knowledge’ standard for third-party plug-ins and ad networks as well as the strict liability standard being applied to first-party websites. Audience members joined in and tried to apply the proposals to real-life situations.
The successful event bought up many issues and questions which will hopefully be resolved in the coming months.
For more information on the COPPA changes see the FOSI Brief: The Implications of the FTC's New COPPA Rule