Nov. 21, 2019 | Washington, DC
2019 Annual Conference
2020 Vision: The Future of Online Safety



Nov. 21, 2019

8 a.m. - 6 p.m.


U.S. Institute of Peace

2301 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20037

On Thursday, November 21st, the Family Online Safety Institute hosted its 2019 Annual Conference, entitled "2020 Vision: The Future of Online Safety." This event convened leaders across industry, government, academia, and the nonprofit sector to discuss a wide spectrum of topics within the areas of best practice in technology policy, digital parenting, privacy, ethics, and artificial intelligence, among many more. 

Patricia Vance, President of the Entertainment Software Rating Board and Chair of the FOSI Board, opened the event. Stephen Balkam, FOSI CEO, delivered keynote remarks. 

The first presentation of the day was the launch of the new whitepaper, Online Safety in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. FOSI released the paper in partnership with the firm Kaleido Insights, and the presentation was conducted by analyst Jessica Groopman, who co-authored the paper. Ms. Groopman talked through the main themes of the paper, namely the need to connect the emerging technological phenomena of artificial intelligence and its implications with key actions needed to advance a culture of responsibility online across the stakeholder spectrum.

These ideas transitioned into the first plenary panel discussion of the day, a further exploration of Online Safety in an AI World, featuring additional speakers from the Aspen Institute, Intel, and the Future of Privacy Forum. The panelists considered the conclusions raised in the whitepaper, while further discussing the challenges and opportunities presented by advanced technologies in the years to come, both for industry and society.

Stephen Balkam conducted a one-to-one fireside chat with Josh Sherman, Director of Kids and Family at Amazon. They discussed the role of tech companies in creating both kid-safe products and content. Sherman referenced the “walled garden” approach Amazon has taken to curating the material that kids can access through their products, and the ways that the company has incorporated the best interests of parents and families into their approach to privacy.

Rosie and Lucy Thomas of Australia’s PROJECT ROCKIT gave a featured presentation about their organization’s approach to fighting hate and bullying online. By involving young people directly and giving them agency and ownership over their digital lives, PROJECT ROCKIT seeks to empower youth to be upstanders online, showing kindness and compassion to create a sense of positive, supportive community on social media.

The morning’s keynote address came from Federal Trade Commissioner Christine S. Wilson. The Commissioner discussed legislation, the upcoming potential changes to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), and the need to be strong and proactive around keeping kids safe online. She also discussed her family’s personal experience with tech use and online bullying, emphasizing the need for kids to learn about digital citizenship at home first, with the involvement of parents. 

Morning breakout sessions explored a diverse set of topics. A panel focused on privacy and COPPA further explored the state of online safety legislation, self-regulatory efforts, safe harbors, and education technology. A forward-thinking look at the future of new technologies and corporate social responsibility convened a panel of industry experts who discussed parental controls, age verification, and the many challenges of digital parenting. Shining a Light on The Dark Corners of the Web highlighted the achievements and ongoing challenges of those working to combat illegal material online in the law enforcement community. Additionally, a panel of high school teens participated in a live recording of the podcast Their Own Devices, conducted by experts Marc Groman and David Reitman. 

Afternoon breakout sessions featured a panel on digital play, It’s Play Time! which convened top names in the toys and gaming industry such as Mattel, Roblox, LEGO, and Sesame Workshop, with moderation by Boston Children’s Hospital. Is Being Online Time Well Spent? addressed digital wellbeing from the perspectives of Google, ESRB, Crisis Text Line, and the psychology field. Panelists covered how individuals and families can work to find a healthy tech balance using the tools and controls available to them, and how technology is intertwined with aspects of mental health. What is the Research Telling Us? convened top thinkers in the research space from the Oxford Internet Institute and the Universities of Michigan and Wisconsin, along with AT&T and Microsoft, to dive into the latest online safety reports. Topics included online safety legislation (particularly CAMRA), product design and the way it may change how kids interact with entertainment technology, and trends in social media use among teens.

In the final plenary panel of the day, representatives from NetSafe New Zealand, Twitter, GSMA, the Mercatus Center, and the App Association discussed The Future of Online Safety Policy, taking an international look at the impact of online safety policies such as Europe’s GDPR and Section 230 in the US. The strengths and weaknesses of algorithms were discussed, as well as the need for strategic and forward-looking approaches to content moderation and crisis response for online platforms.

Family Toolbox in a Digital Age featured a one-to-one chat between Antigone Davis, Facebook’s Global Head of Online Safety, and Mimi Ito of University California Irvine and the Connected Learning Lab. In addition to reiterating the need to protect kids online, Davis and Ito’s session expanded on the many opportunities that kids benefit from in their digital lives, specifically the ability to connect with others that share their passions and to have a space in which to create meaningful community. Their discussion also covered the need for parents in particular to take part and listen to what is happening in their kids’ digital lives as a way to connect with them.

The final session of the day featured a presentation by author and filmmaker Tiffany Shlain, who spoke about the themes of her new book, 24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day Per Week. Shlain was then joined by Mary Jordan of The Washington Post for a discussion about the social and personal implications of heavy screen use and our highly connected lives: what we benefit from, and what we can improve by taking a more critical look at how, why, and when we pick up our devices. 

Videos from the plenary sessions and presentations can be viewed on FOSI's YouTube channel.



Day 1
Nov. 21, 2019
  1. 8 a.m.
    Registration, Breakfast & Exhibits
  2. 9 a.m.
    Welcome & Opening Remarks

    • Patricia Vance, Entertainment Software Rating Board and Chair of the Family Online Safety Institute 
    • Stephen Balkam, Family Online Safety Institute 

  3. 9:15 a.m.
    Whitepaper Launch: Online Safety in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

    • Jessica Groopman, Kaleido Insights

  4. 9:30 a.m.
    Plenary Panel - Online Safety in an AI World

    This panel will discuss the conclusions of the new FOSI whitepaper, as well as look forward to the challenges and opportunities that artificial intelligence will bring to families

    • Cordell Carter, The Aspen Institute (Moderator)
    • Chloe Autio, Intel Corporation
    • Jessica Groopman, Kaleido Insights
    • Brenda Leong, Future of Privacy Forum

  5. 10:10 a.m.
    Fireside Chat - Josh Sherman and Stephen Balkam
    • Josh Sherman, Amazon
    • Stephen Balkam, Family Online Safety Institute
  6. 10:30 a.m.
    PROJECT ROCKIT Presentation: The Young and the Restless: Youth-driven Change to Tackle (Cyber)Bullying

    It’s time to shake up the way we tackle online hate. We know that (cyber)bullying, trolling, stalking and intimidation, image based abuse and public shaming are soul-destroying experiences that affect too many people. We can make a dent in these issues by giving young people agency to reclaim technology for good.

    • Lucy Thomas, PROJECT ROCKIT
    • Rosie Thomas, PROJECT ROCKIT
  7. 10:50 a.m.
    Networking Break
  8. 11:10 a.m.
    Keynote - Commissioner Christine Wilson, Federal Trade Commission
  9. 11:30 a.m.
    Breakout Session: New Adventures in Online Safety and Technologies

    Often the first to spot trends in Internet usage this panel will bring together experts who are working on developing technical solutions to some of the biggest challenges of today and tomorrow.

    • Gerard Williams, Federal Communications Commission (Moderator)
    • Lexi Peskin, The Meet Group
    • Leena Elias, Avast
    • Tina Kim, Comcast
    • Erin Riggins, Verizon
    • Wenchi Yu, VIPKid

  10. 11:30 a.m.
    Breakout Session: Kids, COPPA, & Keeping Things Private Online

    It has been a busy year in online privacy, this panel will discuss legislative proposals, self-regulatory efforts, and what is to come in the field of privacy with a focus on children’s online privacy.

    • Dan Caprio, The Providence Group (Moderator)
    • Natasha Duarte, Center for Democracy & Technology
    • Dona Fraser, The Children's Advertising Review Unit
    • Svetlana Gans, NCTA - The Internet & Television Association
    • Sara Kloek, Software & Information Industry Association

  11. 11:30 a.m.
    Breakout Session: Parenting in the Digital Age- Live recording of “Their Own Devices”

    GenZ Online: One Generation, Different Kids, Different Digital Experiences

    Join Marc Groman, an Obama White House tech and privacy adviser, and David Reitman, an adolescent medical doctor, for candid discussions and helpful tips about screen time, social media, sexting, privacy, online gaming, and other challenges facing parents today. Marc and David aren't just experts  – they're also married, and raising a teenage son of their own.

    • Marc Groman, Groman Consulting Group, LLC 
    • Dr. David Reitman, American University 

  12. 11:30 a.m.
    Breakout Session: Shining a Light on the Dark Corners of the Web

    Experts will explore how the Internet can be used for illegal activity, as well as how it can assist with detection and enforcement. 

    • Joe Laramie, Fox Valley Technical College (Moderator)
    • Amy Barnes, Chicago Police Department
    • Glen Pounder, Child Rescue Coalition 
    • John Shehan, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

  13. 12:30 p.m.
    Lunch, Exhibits & Networking
  14. 1:30 p.m.
    Breakout Session: It’s Play Time!

    Connected toys, on and offline play and computer games all feature in children’s recreation today, this panel will explore the benefits, as well as any potential difficulties.  

    • Kristelle Lavallee, Boston Children's Hospital (Moderator)
    • Fares Alraie, Mattel
    • Jennifer DuBuisson, The LEGO Group
    • Laura Higgins, Roblox
    • Michael Preston, Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop

  15. 1:30 p.m.
    Breakout Session: Is Being Online Time Well Spent?

    Concerns have been expressed about the amount of time we are spending in front of screens. This panel will address the research, industry efforts to promote wellbeing, and potential mental health impacts of being online.

    • Patricia Vance, Entertainment Software Rating Board (Moderator)
    • Mindy Brooks, Google
    • Jerri Lynn Hogg, Fielding Graduate University 
    • Shawn Rodriguez, Crisis Text Line

  16. 1:30 p.m.
    Breakout Session: What is the Research Telling Us?

    Researchers discuss the latest trends and developments in online exploration that will shape online safety policy for the next few years.

    • Caroline Curtin, Microsoft (Moderator)
    • Kole Binger, University of Wisconsin
    • Neil Giacobbi, AT&T 
    • Roland Graf, University of Michigan
    • Andy Przybylski, Oxford Internet Institute 

  17. 2:30 p.m.
    Networking Break
  18. 2:45 p.m.
    Plenary Panel - The Future of Online Safety Policy

    The various legislative approaches being pursued around the world to ensure that all users have safe and productive experiences online will be debated during this final plenary panel. 

    • Morgan Reed, ACT: The App Association (Moderator)
    • Martin Cocker, Netsafe New Zealand
    • Lauren Culbertson, Twitter
    • Jennifer Huddleston, Mercatus Center
    • Natasha Jackson, GSM Association

  19. 3:35 p.m.
    Family Toolbox in a Digital Age

    Families around the world are having conversations about our online habits. What’s the right amount of time for people to spend online? What effect is technology having on our children and their development? What value does social media add to our lives? These critical questions are an increasing focus for everyone, from parents to policy makers. In this fireside chat, Facebook’s Global Head of Safety, Antigone Davis talks to Mimi Ito, Director, Connected Learning Lab, University of California, Irvine to dive into what Mimi’s research with young people is revealing and how families can thrive in a digital age.

    • Antigone Davis, Facebook
    • Mimi Ito, UC Irvine
  20. 3:55 p.m.
    Fireside Chat - The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week

    Tiffany Shlain discusses her new book “24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week” with Mary Jordan from the Washington Post. 

    • Mary Jordan, The Washington Post
    • Tiffany Shlain, Author 
  21. 4:25 p.m.
    Closing Remarks

    • Stephen Balkam, Family Online Safety Institute

  22. 4:30 p.m.
  23. 6 p.m.


Chief Information Security Officer, Mattel, Inc.
Government & Policy Group, Intel Corporation
Founder & CEO, Family Online Safety Institute
Police Officer, Chicago Police Department
Associate Research Specialist, Social Media & Adolescent Health Research Team, University of Wisconsin
UX Director for Google Play, Google
Co-founder and Executive Chairman, The Providence Group
Executive Director, Socrates Program, The Aspen Institute
Chief Executive Officer, NetSafe
Public Policy Manager, Twitter
* FOSI Board Member, Director, Government Affairs, Microsoft
* FOSI Board Member, Director of Global Safety, Facebook
Policy Analyst, Center for Democracy & Technology
Senior Director Government & Public Affairs, Americas, The LEGO Group
VP of Product Delivery, Avast
Vice President, Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU)
Vice President and Associate General Counsel, NCTA – The Internet and Television Association
Associate Vice President for Corporate Social Responsibility, AT&T
Associate Professor, Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan
Privacy & Data Protection Advisor, Groman Consulting Group LLC
Analyst, Kaleido Insights
Director of Community Safety and Digital Civility, Roblox
Director, Media Psychology Program, Fielding Graduate University,
Research Fellow, Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
Cultural Anthropologist, Professor in Residence, UC-Irvine
* FOSI Board Member, Head of Public Policy and Consumer Affairs, GSMA
National Correspondent, Washington Post
Product Portfolio Manager, Comcast
Director of Education Policy, Programs and Student Privacy, Software & Information Industry Association’s (SIIA)
Program Manager, National Criminal Justice Training Center of Fox Valley Technical College
Content Strategist, Boston Children's Hospital
Senior Counsel and Director of Strategy, Future of Privacy Forum
Director of Programs, Child Rescue Coalition
Executive Director, Joan Ganz Cooney Center
Professor, University of Oxford
President, Association for Competitive Technology
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Medstar-Georgetown University Hospital
Director, Product Management and Marketing, Verizon
General Counsel, Crisis Text Line
Vice President, Exploited Children Division, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
Director of Kids and Family, Amazon
Author, 24/6 The Power of Unplugging One Day A Week
Co-Founder, Co-CEO, Project Rockit
Co-Founder, Co-CEO, Project Rockit
* Chairman of the FOSI Board; President, Entertainment Software Rating Board
Section 504 Compliance Officer, Federal Communication Commissionn
Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission
Head of Global Public Policy, VIPKid