FOSI Hosts European Forum to Promote Commitment to a Better, Safer Internet

May 21, 2014

PARIS, FRANCE - Today, the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) convenes experts in the field of online safety to discuss the European Union's commitment to ensuring that children have safe and productive experiences online. This event will also explore what the Internet industry and non-government organizations are doing to create a better Internet for kids.

The discussion will center on key issues in the areas of safety, privacy and digital reputation and will highlight the groundbreaking work that is taking place in Europe as well as the United States and other regions. The forum will feature a keynote address from Françoise Laborde, a member of the Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel, who has been active on the topics of children and parenting. FOSI's CEO, Stephen Balkam, will also have a fireside conversation with Arturo Bejar, Engineer Director of Facebook's compassion research team to discuss the work Facebook is doing to develop new safety resources for teens, parents and teachers.

"This is a pivotal time for the online safety movement in Europe," says Stephen Balkam. "We are here to listen and learn from our European counterparts and to share best practices from the U.S. and around the world."

The European Union continues to emphasize the importance of online safety and individual European countries are creating policies to deal with issues such as privacy and protecting consumers online. As a result, FOSI is eager to facilitate this important conversation between those spearheading efforts to keep children safe online and those who are actively working to disseminate positive, educational messaging to help make the Internet a safer and better place for younger users.

"We live in a world where occasionally conflicts will occur, both online and off, so it's important to give people the tools and skills to tackle this behavior when they see it," says Arturo Bejar of Facebook. "We are working with experts all over the world to pioneer the use of safeguards for the people who use our service, especially young people. We hope that by putting this kind of information at people's fingertips when they need it - when they make a report - we will be able to help them get the support they need in resolving these conflicts."

This forum will examine the challenges to creating a positive online experience, how to help Europeans become good digital citizens, and how to encourage innovation to create safe social media experiences and more content for kids.

It's no longer enough to help protect young people from online risks and others on the Internet; we also need compelling strategies to help protect kids from the themselves," said Jacqueline Beauchere, Chief Online Safety Officer, Microsoft. "It is imperative that industry, governments, NGOs and law enforcement work together to include young people in conversations about digital well-being. I look forward to learning of the groundbreaking work being done in this region, and the new and innovative ways being developed to provide safer and better online experiences for youth."

The full agenda and list of speakers are available here. This forum is supported by Disney Club Penguin, Facebook, and Microsoft. For the latest on the event, follow #fosiEU2014.

About FOSI

The Family Online Safety Institute is an international, non-profit organization that works to make the online world safer for kids and their families. FOSI convenes leaders in industry, government and the non-profit sectors to collaborate and innovate new solutions and policies in the field of online safety. Through research, resources, events and special projects, FOSI promotes a culture of responsibility online and encourages a sense of digital citizenship for all. FOSI's membership includes 30 of the leading Internet and telecommunications companies around the world.