Read our press release about this initiative.
The First Ladies Initiative for Online Safety is a project of the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), an international nonprofit organization dedicated to making the Internet safer for children and their families. The goal of the Initiative is to connect First Ladies in developing countries and developed countries around the issue of online safety and digital citizenship.
FOSI is asking First Ladies around the world to join the Initiative by promoting education efforts within their countries and engaging in a cross-cultural dialogue to raise global awareness and spur international cooperation. Through the Initiative, First Ladies will encourage safe and responsible online use through a combination of tools, rules and schools. The Initiative is a means of linking the First Ladies in a common cause that not only directly impacts their own countries, but also, like the Internet, transcends national borders.
There are three levels of participation in the First Ladies Initiative for Online Safety.
Level one: Sign on to the Initiative.
- FOSI will widely distribute a joint press release announcing the participation of each First Lady who joins the Initiative. The resulting news coverage is likely to reflect very positively on the First Lady.
- FOSI will place the name, photo and bio of each First Lady participant on the FOSI Web site announcing her as a member of the Initiative and highlighting her involvement in other charitable organizations.
Level two: Attend and/or host an online safety event.
- We encourage First Ladies to participate in workshops and seminars in conjunction with FOSI to better understand new Internet safety developments and to work to implement appropriate solutions.
- We encourage First Ladies to take an active role in FOSI-sponsored regional roundtables and information sharing events for government officials, industry leaders and non-governmental organizations that raise awareness of online safety issues. In addition, high-level meetings, such as the G8 or G20 summits would be an opportunity for First Ladies to gather to share ideas on this important subject.
Level three: Get started in your country.
- First Ladies could consider working with local, regional and national government agencies, companies and family organizations to promote a safer online environment for children. FOSI will highlight these efforts with media promotion and event support.
- First Ladies could organize regional conferences to draw attention to online safety issues. The conferences will position each First Lady as a driving force behind Internet safety. FOSI will provide assistance as appropriate.
- The Initiative allows First Ladies and government officials to expand their global presence and visibility, promote cross cultural dialogue and bring worldwide attention to the critical 21st century issue of raising safer, more responsible digital citizens of the world.
- Joining the First Ladies Initiative for Online Safety provides an opportunity to meet with other leaders from around the world to discuss these issues and fosters positive news coverage.
- Activities of the First Ladies Initiative for Online Safety will be promoted at FOSI events and on the FOSI Web site.
- FOSI will provide First Ladies with actionable steps to take back to their home countries to promote online safety, as well as an outlet to share their best practices with other countries around the world.
- FOSI’s members include some of the most influential companies in the world today, such as AT&T, BT Retail, Comcast, Disney, Entertainment Software Association, Facebook, France Telecom, Google, GSM Association, Microsoft, Motion Picture Association of America, NCTA, Nominum, Optenet, RuleSpace, Sprint, StreamShield, Symantec, Time Warner Cable, Telefónica, TELMEX, T-Mobile, The Wireless Foundation, USTelecom, Verizon and Yahoo!. They are committed to making the Internet a safer place and participants in the First Ladies Initiative will have access to their expertise.
- FOSI has developed the Global Resource & Information Directory (GRID), a free online portal that monitors, tracks and provides commentary on the online safety efforts of countries around the world. Maintained in real time by a team of editors and expert researchers, GRID aggregates information from a comprehensive range of academic, government, industry and non-profit sources around the world and offers expert oversight and analysis of the educational, legislative and regulatory approach of these countries.
- These resources present First Ladies with an opportunity to educate their citizens, and share ideas and resources to promote a more aware, safer and responsible digital citizenry.
There is growing global recognition of the importance of keeping children and families safer online, and many countries have already either initiated Internet safety programs or are contemplating action in this area. FOSI’s emphasis on fostering a culture of responsibility online, where all stakeholders – government, law enforcement, industry, teachers, parents and children – play a critical part in ensuring safer and more responsible Internet use, resonates across national, regional and cultural boundaries and governments. So, too, does the concept of digital citizenship - where the rights and responsibilities of the offline world find their place in the norms of behavior in the online world.