On November 9 & 10, 2011, the Family Online Safety Institute held its fifth Annual Conference, “Evaluate. Innovate. Collaborate. Strategies for Safe and Healthy Online Use” at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium in Washington D.C. The conference featured over 80 speakers, 26 exhibitors and more than 450 attendees from 13 different countries.
FOSI was thrilled to launch the event with the introduction of a new study, “Teens, Kindness and Cruelty on Social Network Sites: How American teens navigate the new world of ‘digital citizenship,” conducted by Pew Internet Project in partnership with FOSI and with support of Cable in the Classroom. The release of the data was followed by a thoughtful discussion between head researcher Amanda Lenhart and Anne Collier of Connect Safely. The two were then joined by Alice Marwick, David Finkelhor, and Sonia Livingstone to converse on “What the Data is Telling Us.”
The first day breakout sessions looked at the emerging effects of digital breakthroughs on children and teens. Afternoon sessions included “Digital Drama and Kids Behaving Badly,” “Bridging the Digital Divide,” and “How Do We Handle Apps?” Day one culminated in the hugely successful appearance of the First Lady of the Dominican Republic, Dr. Margarita Cedeño de Fernández, one of the first participants in FOSI’s First Ladies Initiative for Online Safety. The first lady was presented with a Chairman’s Award for Outstanding Achievement before engaging in discussion with Stephen Balkam about actions she has taken to resolve the problems with online safety and connectivity in the Dominican Republic.
Following their conversation, students from a local high school, The Wilson Players, presented their original play, “Logging on to 42nd Street,” which highlighted the impact of technology on their everyday lives.
As in previous years, FOSI was proud to honor the work of certain individuals with the Award for Outstanding Achievement. This year, awards were presented to John Carr, Senior Expert Advisor to the ITU, Frank Gallagher of Cable in the Classroom, Anastasia Goodstein of the Inspire USA Foundation, Shavonne Jones of AT&T, Jay Opperman of Comcast, Marita Rodriguez of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Cindy Southworth of the National Network to End Domestic Violence and Judi Westberg Warren of Web Wise Kids.
Day two opened with a presentation of the most recent statistics pertaining to children’s internet use with the Go Figure 2 video and findings from GRID, the Global Resource and Information Directory, highlighted in the 2011 State of Online Safety Report. The morning continued with Senior Vice-President and Chief Security Officer of AT&T, Ed Amoroso in conversation with Stephen Balkam, and outstanding keynote addresses delivered by Frederick Lane, author of “Cybertraps for the Young,” and Paul Howard-Jones, from the Graduate School of Education, Bristol University.
Breakout sessions focused on a variety of topics such as the neuroscience behind Internet-use, strategies for safe and secure technologies, perspectives of parent bloggers, virtual worlds, public policy agenda, safety and citizenship, social networking, and issues surrounding privacy and tracking. Leading experts in these fields not only shared their opinions on the matters, but also collaborated with fellow panelists to propose thought-provoking strategies for resolution.
The day ended with the final panel “Safety Around the World,” a discussion of Internet safety in the global sphere, and closing remarks from Stephen Balkam.
Download David Finkelhor's presentation on 'Internet Safety Programs that Work' here, Paul Howard-Jones' presentation on 'The Internet and the Brain' here, Sonia Livingstone's presentation on 'Vulnerability & Resilience' here and Alice Marwick's reasearch on 'Youth & Social Media: Recent Research Findings' here.