Panel Discussion: Kids, Privacy and Online Drama
A panel to discuss the ways young people interact online, how they manage their privacy, and common misconceptions of adults when it comes to cyberbullying.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011. Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center
FOSI, in partnership with Microsoft, was thrilled for the opportunity to host a panel on these relevant and timely topics with a group of excellent researchers including:
Senior Research Specialist
Pew Internet & American Life Project
To view danah and Alice's recent research, see here.
To view Amanda Lenhart's latest project, a joint effort between Pew Research Center and FOSI, see our research page here.
For more information or questions about this event, please contact
FOSI's fifth Annual Conference and Exhibition:
Strategies for Safe and Healthy Online Use
When: November 9th and 10th, 2011
9:00am November 9th - 5:00pm November 10th
Where: Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, Washington, DC
This highly anticipated FOSI conference and exhibition was another opportunity for all stakeholders to discuss innovative ways to keep kids safe online. In attendance were international policymakers, Internet industry leaders, educators, legislators, law enforcement, Internet safety advocates, and technologists. See the agenda here.
FOSI/Tech Freedom COPPA Panel
Luncheon discussion of the FTC's proposed revisions to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
FOSI and Tech Freedom partnered on October 12, 2011 to host a luncheon panel at the Reserve Officers Association with a number of leading experts to discuss the FTC's recently-proposed revisions to the Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
FOSI CEO Stephen Balkam served as master of ceremonies and Phyllis Marcus of the Federal Trade Commission gave opening remarks before joining a panel moderated by Berin Szoka, President of TechFreedom. The full list of panelists included:
* Jim Dunstan, TechFreedom
* Dona Fraser, Entertainment Software Rating Board
* Kathryn Montgomery, American University
* Rebecca Newton, Mind Candy
The Twitter discussion was conducted using the #COPPA hashtag, as well as being streamed live on the web. Check back for links to footage of the broadcast.
You can now view photos from this panel discussion on our Photo Wall.
For more information or questions please contact
Who Needs Parental Controls? Roundtable discussion.
On September 21st, 2011, FOSI and Yahoo! convened a group of experts for an invite-only roundtable held in Sunnyvale, California. The topic of conversation for the afternoon was focused on parental controls following on from the research commissioned by FOSI, released the previous week.
The discussion was conducted in accordance with the Chatham House Rule, and so comments made during the roundtable are not for attribution. However, we have created a brief summary of the most relevant points.
The following three statements were put forward to start the debate:
1. While parental controls will continue to play an important role, it may be the case that many parents will not need parental controls technologies to the extent that they once did.
2. Kids are more resilient than we think.
3. The most interesting and important public policy debate going forward continues to be where to set to defaults and who sets them.
Throughout the 3 hour conversation, discussants expressed concern about governmental regulation in the area of parental controls, as well as reticence about companies setting the defaults rather than parents. It was agreed that parental control uptake is higher where they can set the levels and controls in accordance with their family norms, and that parents don’t want companies or governments deciding what content is blocked or allowed in their home. There was lively debate about the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and the recently released FTC report on the subject.
There were five main points that came out of the roundtable. Notably, all those in attendance agreed that one standard for all children, for all websites, for all games and for all apps is not effective.
1. Many tools and many solutions are needed for many different problems.
2. ‘Parental controls’ is too narrow a term and encompasses much more than just tools.
3. The trade-off remains between ‘sophistication’ and ‘usability.’ The more sophisticated the tool, the less easy it is for parents to use.
4. There are shifting parental concerns. Parents used to be focused on their children coming across adult material, now they are worried about user-generated content and behaviors such as cyberbullying and sexting.
5. It is a reality that kids are going online earlier and earlier. This issue needs to be dealt with by parents, schools and regulators alike.
And as longs are there are kids, there is room for improvement in the development and usage of parental controls.
A summary of, our guest speaker, Adam Thierer’s discussion points can be found here.
For more information or questions please contact
FOSI Survey Release and Panel Discussion
Who Needs Parental Controls? A survey of awareness, attitudes and use of online parental controls.
On September 14, 2011, the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) launched the results of “Who Needs Parental Controls?” a survey indicating that the majority of parents use tools and rules to control their kids’ online usage. Following a presentation of the newfound data by Hart Research associate Abigail Davenport, a panel composed of representatives from sponsor companies AT&T, Google, Microsoft and Verizon, and moderated by Adam Thierer, discussed the possible implications of the results.
According to the research, virtually all parents have spoken to their children about online safety and established household rules. The panelists discussed the way adults are using available parental controls and taking steps to embrace the inevitable exposure to technology and media in their kids’ lives. Establishing these monitoring tools on the wide range of different technological devices available helps parents continue to “look over the shoulder” of their child even when it comes to mobile devices.
The discussion emphasized that in order to encourage parents to use parental controls, the first step is to educate them in new technology, and make sure they understand the importance of promoting the ethics necessary for their child to become a well-rounded digital citizen.
This event took place at the National Press Club, 1st Amendment Lounge, 529 14th Street Northwest, Washington D.C. Take a look at our Photo Wall from this event.
You can find out more about this study by visiting our Research page.
Every European a Digital Citizen
When: May 10, 2011
Where: London, UK
On Tuesday, May 10, 2011, FOSI held its 3rd Annual European Conference in London, hosted by BT. Topics included discussions around privacy, data retention, mobile usage, digital citizenship, research findings and public policy developments in the US, UK and Europe.
Breaking Digital Dependency: Tips for Balancing Digital Life and Real Life.
FOSI and Google host William Powers in conversation with Stephen Balkam
On February 24th, 2011 a joint event by Google and FOSI drew a large crowd to hear William Powers, author of Hamlet's BlackBerry, in conversation with FOSI CEO Stephen Balkam. The lively discussion covered a wide range of topics from Plato to Gutenberg and from the virtues of technology to its overuse.
The popular book encourages readers to try to obtain a balance in their digital lives; it explores the idea of an "Internet Sabbath" and puts recent technological advances in context by looking at the past.
The highly engaging talk resonated strongly with the audience and was followed by a book signing with the author. More information can be obtained from