Nov. 16, 2017
8 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Nov. 16, 2017
8 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Knight Conference Center at the Newseum
555 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001
FOSI’s 2017 Annual Conference centered on the idea of restoring trust and civility in a challenging online world, with strong themes around practical and technical solutions to online problems. The event was opened by FOSI CEO Stephen Balkam and FOSI Board Chair Sarah Holland of Google.
View the full version of Balkam’s remarks in the Huffington Post.
To start the morning, FOSI publicly launched its newest piece of original research, Connected Families: How Parents Think & Feel about Toys, Wearables, and the Internet of Things. The study, supported by Amazon and conducted by Hart Research Associates, provided fresh insights into comfort levels of parents whose children use smart and connected devices in the home. A full presentation of the research was provided by Jay Campbell and Abigail Davenport. The full report, executive summary, and research slides are available on the policy and research page.
The first plenary session, The Practical and Policy Implications of our Hyper-Connected Lives explored both evidence-based and anecdotal examples of the impact of connected toys and family devices in the household. While there is a high level of convenience and practical function that connected technology provides, they can also become the basis for creative play and fun family-based activities. However, it is agreed that parents must be aware of their interactions with devices such as smart speakers. Children can’t always determine how human the qualities of these devices are, and how they interact with them can impact social-emotional development.
A short trailer of the documentary Cuba’s Digital Revolution was shown next, with remarks by the filmmaker Samuel George. The film, a product of the Bertelsmann Foundation, illustrates the overwhelming impact of the Internet on an isolated society, and how digital access in Cuba is transforming the culture and everyday lives of its citizens. The full film is available to be viewed here.
Lessons from Around the World provided an in-depth discussion between Stephen Balkam and Australian eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman-Grant. Australia has been leading by national example with its progressive policymaking and support of all elements of online safety via its safety portal. Most recently, the eSafety Office has undertaken efforts in partnership with Facebook to combat image-based abuse, or what is commonly known as revenge porn. Conversation covered the different approaches to similar work in other countries and around the world.
A fireside chat with Kurt Beidler, Amazon’s Director of Kids and Family Services explored how Amazon has approached the issue of children’s use of technology, and how kids can be empowered to made decisions online while also remaining safe. Parental controls, such as Amazon’s FreeTime, has changed the way parents allow their kids to use connected devices.
Late morning break-out sessions included What Would the Jetsons Do? Privacy, Ethics, and the Internet of Things, Technical and Human Solutions to Problematic Behaviors, and Teaching, Parenting, and Hard Online Conversations. These topics brought together top industry representatives, policymakers and educators to ask and answer the tough questions in their respective fields. In all areas, privacy and security remained a top concern for anyone working with children and technology, as well as examining how to best teach kids how the connected world works and to recognizing how technology can both harm and benefit them depending on how responsibly it is used.
In the afternoon, panelists for Serving Families with Special Needs discussed the unique ways that technology can enhance learning and communication for differently abled children, particularly those with autism. While screentime and digital play are highly debated for children of different age groups, the context is different on a case by case basis. Why All Offensive Content Isn’t Created Equal took into account the work of experts in varying areas of dark content, from offensive online abuse and hate speech to illegal online child sexual abuse material. 2020 Vision: The Future of Online Safety utilized a workshop structure, sourcing ideas for the upcoming years from a diverse audience of online safety advocates. Moderated by two experts, the outcome of the brainstorm was shared before the conference’s closing remarks.
A screening of the viral video “In Real Life” was followed by comments from Jason Cianciotto of the Tyler Clementi Foundation. The PSA was developed in partnership with Monica Lewinsky as part of the Click with Compassion campaign, and shows actors reading abusive social media posts to a “real” victim as strangers intervene. The resonating message from the film is that online abuse should be taken as seriously as real life abuse. The PSA can be viewed here.
The last plenary session, Reestablishing Trust and Civility in Our Challenging World, examined the role of the entire Internet ecosystem in combating online challenges and making the Internet a trusted and civil place. Experts tackled the hard questions about fake news, harassment, and safety by design while discussing possible approaches to respond to today’s problems while looking ahead to the future.
The final discussion, Back to the Future of Online Safety, was led by moderators Larry Magid and Robin Raskin, who used the crowdsourced information from their afternoon breakout to inform the discussion. With many differing opinions on what online safety could look like it just a few short years, it was agreed that much of the technology being debated or regulated in 2020 might not even be in use yet. Other points of interest included the developments of AI, AR, and VR, the commercialization of the web, and whether global standards would be in use.
Further questions or inquiries about the event can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To watch session videos from the conference, head to FOSI’s YouTube Channel!
Sarah Holland, Google and Family Online Safety Institute Chair
Stephen Balkam, Family Online Safety Institute
Experts respond to the launch of the 2017 FOSI research on the connected family, with detailed examination of the impact of connected toys and family devices on households in the US. The privacy implications and possible legislative and self-regulatory responses will be debated.
Introduced by Sam George, Bertelsmann Foundation North America
View the full video here.
A fireside chat with the eSafety Commissioner of Australia about online safety approaches Down Under and around the world.
This fireside chat will explore how Amazon has approached the issue of children’s use of technology. How, for instance, do you enable kids to make decisions on their own while also remaining safe. And how has Amazon’s parental control, FreeTime, changed the way parents allow their kids to use connected devices?
Cyberbullying, hate speech, harassment, and online child sexual exploitation. These are just some of the challenges that Internet users face today, the response of policymakers, Internet companies, and non-profits will be the focus of this panel.
As technology advances so do the hard ethical questions. This panel will delve into the debate about self-driving cars, connected homes, and children’s toys. The privacy implications, the ethical dilemmas, and the responses of policymakers and regulators will be examined in detail.
This panel will highlight the role of technology in keeping families safe online, and how that works alongside human moderators. The importance of digital citizenship, anti-bullying efforts, AI and company policies in safety decisions will be covered.
The role of parents in keeping children safe and allowing them to access the benefits of the online world will be the focus of this panel. When and how to make parenting adjustments depending on a child’s age, how companies should talk to parents, and how parents should talk to kids will be topics of conversation, alongside media literacy and the role of schools in teaching online safety.
Technology plays a special role in families with specific needs, and this panel will delve into the benefits of technological advancements for this community, as well as adaptations to meet specific needs. The impact of the Internet of Things on those with physical limitations, as well as gaming technology for children with autism will be topics of discussion for experts.
Why extremist content cannot be treated the same as online child sexual abuse, and why hate speech requires a different response to harassment. This panel will explore the different technical and policy responses to these challenging problems.
This brainstorming session will consider that issues we will be addressing in the year 2020, how we will deal with them and who will be responsible.
Followed by a discussion with Jason Cianciotto, Tyler Clementi Foundation
View the full video here.
The role of the entire Internet ecosystem in combating online challenges and making the Internet a trusted and civil place will be the focus of the final plenary panel. Experts will tackle the hard questions about fake news, harassment, and safety by design when they discuss possible approaches to respond to today’s problems while looking ahead to the future.