Tools, Rules and Schools Needed to Connect the Next Billion Safely & Responsibly

Washington DC – November 4, 2009 - The Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) will host the third annual online safety conference, Building a Culture of Responsibility: From Online Safety to Digital Citizenship in Washington, DC, beginning today to bring together leaders from government, industry, education and nonprofits to determine how to best encourage responsible use on the Internet. The conference convenes key players from the global Internet community to promote cyber citizenship and coordinate efforts to connect the next billion consumers safely and responsibly.

“FOSI has had a very busy year with a series of conferences and events held in Paris, London and in Washington,” said FOSI CEO Stephen Balkam. “It’s our hope that the annual conference brings all of the people and emerging ideas into one place to determine the best rules, tools and educational programs in schools to protect kids online. It is especially timely that we work together to build a Culture of Responsibility online, especially as broadband expands to more and more family homes.”

Natasha Jackson, the current FOSI Chair and head of content policy for GSM Association will open the conference with welcoming remarks.

“Digital citizenship is a lesson that should be incorporated into every classroom, in every part of the world,” said Jackson. “The FOSI conference has become the leading international event where thought leaders are convening to tackle the complicated issue of online safety.”

Kyle McSlarrow, president and CEO of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) will give the keynote speech.

“As the nation’s leading broadband provider, online safety and digital literacy have been a top priority of the cable industry for many years and we will continue to explore new ways to help consumers better understand how to become safe and responsible digital citizens,” said McSlarrow. “We are proud to partner with a great organization like FOSI that has been hard at work helping promote the best practices, tools and methods in online safety to make the Internet safer for all who use it.”

At the conference, FOSI will preview for the first time, the Global Resource and Information Directory (GRID). GRID, which will be launched in 2010, is a ground-breaking online portal that will be the first to collate, consolidate and track family online safety initiatives and programs around the globe. GRID is an unmatched resource that will bring online safety efforts from countries worldwide into one, easy-to-search hub. FOSI will also highlight the successful year with a FOSI Year in Review Video 2009.

This year the FOSI conference is expanded into a two-day format to accommodate over 80 speakers, 15 panels and 31 exhibitors. On Wednesday, November 4, FOSI will award nine recipients with a FOSI Award for Outstanding Achievement. Winners include Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna, Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch, Dr. Tanya Byron, iKeepSafe President Marsali Hancock, You Tube’s Victoria Grand, Emily Hancock with Yahoo!, Harriet Novet with Time Warner Cable and Ed Palmieri with Sprint.

FOSI will also issue three reports on pressing issues facing adolescents: Sexting in the USA, Self Harm in the Digital Age and Cyberbullying - A Global Concern.

For more information on the conference, the speakers or the award recipients, visit www.fosi.org. Follow the conference on Twitter: #fosi09.

About FOSI

The Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) works to make the online world safe for kids and their families by identifying and promoting best practices, tools and methods that also respect free speech. FOSI’s members include: AOL, AT&T, Blue Coat, BT Retail, Cisco, Comcast, Computing Technology Industry Association, Crisp Thinking, France Telecom/Orange, Google, GSMA, Loopt, Microsoft, Mpower Media, MySpace, Ning, Nominum, Optenet, Privo, Rulespace, Sentinel, Sprint, StreamShield, Symantec, Telefónica, Telmex, The Wireless Foundation, Verizon and Yahoo!. FOSI hosts an annual international conference to bring together Internet safety advocates from a variety of sectors, including global corporations, government, non-profits, academia and the media, to discuss the current pulse of online safety and emerging solutions that will enhance it.