A Live Virtual Event

FOSI 2020 Annual Conference

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November 18, 2020
08:00 AM
6:00 PM
A Live Virtual Event


November 18, 2020
08:00 AM
6:00 PM
A Live Virtual Event

Building Resilience

On November 18th, FOSI hosted its live, virtual 2020 Annual Conference, entitled “Building Resilience.” This event convened leaders across industry, government, academia, and the nonprofit sector to discuss a wide variety of topics within the areas of best practices in technology policy, digital parenting, privacy, education, and innovation.

Patricia Vance, President of the Entertainment Software Rating Board and Chair of the FOSI Board, provided a welcome from FOSI, and andStephen Balkam, CEO, gave opening remarks. 

The first presentation of the day was the launch of FOSI’s new research, Tools for Today’s Digital Parents, made possible in partnership with Verizon and conducted by Magid, a media research firm. Findings from the report were presented by researchers Molly Ludwig and Rich McGuire, who outlined the key takeaways from the report, specifically how online safety tools like parental controls serve parents and their children, and what can be done by industry to optimally support families navigating the online world.

These ideas sparked the first plenary panel discussion of the day, a further examination of Tools for Today’s Digital Parents, moderated by Elizabeth Milovidov from  the Council of Europe & e-Enfance, and featuring Ethan Arenson from Verizon, Alexa Hasse of Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center, and Molly Ludwig from Magid. The panelists reflected on the takeaways from the report and analyzed how these findings might be integrated into consumer outreach to parents. They also compared how these findings may reflect in their own work within industry, research, and parenting.

Amy Joyce of The Washington Post moderated the ‘Building Resilience for our Kids’ panel, with Tessy Ojo from the Diana Award, Lenore Skanazy of Let Grow, Catherine Steiner- Adair a clinical psychologist and Patricia Vance from the  Entertainment Software Rating Board.. The panelists explored ways in which parents and educators can appropriately support children in this unprecedented year by building and maintaining resilience, encouraging healthy media consumption, and being intentional with technology use for school, entertainment, and socializing.

Stephen Balkam conducted a one-on-one fireside chat with global public speaker and anti-bullying advocate Monica Lewinsky, entitled “Creating a More Compassionate Internet.” The discussion focused on Monica’s path to the field of online safety and digital citizenship advocacy work, the impacts of losing one’s digital reputation, and the urgent need to cultivate online compassion, especially during this tumultuous year. 

The first set of breakout sessions explored a wide variety of topics. The privacy panel explored the current legislative landscape and potential advancements needed to keep users of all ages safe online. Panelists from the education space discussed how industry and educators have adapted to virtual learning, the importance of students having access to technology, and the ways in which education might be changed forever due to the pandemic. The International Trends and Policy panel assessed the different approaches taken to online safety in the UK, Australia, and the European Union. Finally, Streaming Quality Kids’ Content convened experts to share insights into the process behind developing content for kids that is both educational and engaging, as well as appealing to a wide variety of families. They also touched on the responsibility of networks and streaming platforms to instill healthy routines and media consumption habits for young viewers.

During the second fireside chat Facebook’s Antigone Davis spoke with Mary Madden, of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. The two discussed the ways in which young people and their parents can maintain and evaluate their own digital wellbeing in the time of COVID-19. 

Afternoon breakout sessions featured a youth panel led by Tami Bhaumik of Roblox, in which a panel of young people discussed the ways in which kids can stay safe and have fun while gaming and using social media. Illegal Content: Prevention, Detection, and Enforcement considered the latest trends in online criminal activity and how global stakeholders can confront these challenges. Online Activism: Social Justice Meets Social Media brought together industry and youth activists to talk about how social media has created change through digital movements and taking organized activity from social platforms into the real world. Finally, Tech Innovation: Challenges and Opportunities brought together expert voices from leading companies to share their newest technical and strategic innovations that are informing industry best practice and keeping kids safe online.

The highlighted session of the afternoon was a conversation between leaders from Amazon Kids and Alexa. Karen Ressmeyer spoke with Miriam Daniel and Toni Reid to share insights into how families are using Alexa, Echo, and Amazon Kids during the pandemic. They also discussed Amazon’s approaches into designing thoughtful new Alexa features for kids and their parents. 

Tech Policies in 2021 & Beyond was the final panel of the day. Sara Fischer of Axios moderated the discussion with Richard Downing of the US Department of Justice, Alexandra Givens from the Center for Democracy & Technology, and Nicol Turner-Lee from The Brookings Institution who shared their expertise and insights into areas of focus for the next US Administration and Congress.  

The event closed with a conversation with Sonia Livingstone and John Palfrey who shared insights into ways that parents can adapt their parenting style to this new normal, and allow their children to participate online in healthy, helpful, and engaged ways. They also discussed the motivation behind their recently published books (Parenting for a Digital Future and The Connected Parent, respectively).

Full videos of all plenary and breakout sessions are available on FOSI’s YouTube channel.

Click to view our online commemorative photobook.

Hosted By

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Thank you to our sponsors:

Champion of Corporate Responsibility
Supported By


Tony Anscombe

Chief Security Evangelist

Ethan Arenson

Head of Digital Safety

Stephen Balkam

Founder & CEO
Family Online Safety Institute

Taylor Barkley

Director of Technology and Innovation
Utah State University’s Center for Growth and Opportunity

Tami Bhaumik

VP, Civility & Partnerships
Roblox, FOSI Board Chair*

Alicia Blum-Ross

Senior Director for Global Youth Policy

Andrea Cook

Coordinator of Technology Integration & Implementation
Kansas City Missouri Public School District

Julie Cordua


Ken Corish

Online Safety Director
South West Grid for Learning Trust

Caroline Curtin

Policy Counsel

Miriam Daniel

Vice President of Alexa and Echo Devices

Antigone Davis

Director, Global Head of Safety

Richard Downing

Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division
U.S. Department of Justice

Iain Drennan

Executive Director
WePROTECT Global Alliance

Lindsey Emerson

VP, Product Management
HBO Max, Kids and Family

Sara Fischer

Media Reporter
Axios Media

Julia Fossi

Director of International, Strategy and Futures
eSafety Commissioner

Jerome Foster II

Executive Director & Founder

Kerry Gallagher

Assistant Principal for Teaching and Learning, St. John's Prep (Danvers, MA)
Director of Education, ConnectSafely

Carolina Giuga

Director, Government & Public Affairs, Americas
The LEGO Group

Alexandra Reeve Givens

President & CEO
Center for Democracy & Technology

Steve Grocki

Chief, Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section
U.S. Department of Justice

Alexa Hasse

Research Associate, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society
Harvard University

Brent Irvin

Vice President and General Counsel

Emily Keaney

Director of Domestic Regulatory Strategy
Information Commissioner's Office

Josh Korn

Director, Innovation & Technology Public Policy

Amanda Lenhart

Senior Research Scientist
Data & Society Research Institute

Monica Lewinsky

Social Activist
Global Public Speaker

Sonia Livingstone

London School of Economics

June Lowery

Head of Unit, DG CONNECT
European Commission

Molly Ludwig

Senior Vice President

Mary Madden

Senior Fellow, Joan Ganz Cooney Center
Sesame Workshop

Peder Magee

Senior Attorney, Privacy and Identity Protection
Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Bureau of Consumer Protection

Dewayne McClary

Director, League of Innovative Schools
Digital Promise

Julian McDougall

Centre for Excellence in Media Practice

Rich McGuire

Vice President

Reggie McCrimmon

Senior Public Policy Associate

Elizabeth Milovidov

Law Professor & Digital Parenting Consultant
Council of Europe, e-Enfance

Julia Morgan-Canales


Tessy Ojo CBE

The Diana Award

John Palfrey

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Toni Reid

Vice President for Alexa Experience

Karen Ressmeyer

Director, Family Trust for Amazon Kids

Penny Richards

Managing Director
Aspen Initiative, UK

Stuart Rowson

Head of Discovery
BBC Children’s

Lenore Skenazy

Co-Founder & President
Let Grow

Tim Sparapani

Founder & Principal
SPQR Strategies

Catherine Steiner-Adair

Clinical Psychologist

Matt Stokes

Senior Policy Advisor
UK's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Dr. Nicol Turner Lee

Director, The Center for Technology Innovation (CTI)
Brookings Institution

Amelia Vance

Vice President, Youth & Education Privacy
Future of Privacy Forum

Patricia E. Vance

Entertainment Software Rating Board*

Alexandria Villaseñor

Earth Uprising

Teri Weiss

Executive Vice President, Television Development
DreamWorks Animation

Gina G. Woodworth

US Director of Public Policy
Snap Inc.




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NOVEMBER 18, 2020

8 AM

Networking & Virtual Exhibits

9 AM

Welcome & Opening Remarks

  • Stephen Balkam, Family Online Safety Institute
  • Patricia Vance, Entertainment Software Rating Board

9:15 AM

Launch of “Tools for Today’s Digital Parents” Research report

  • Molly Ludwig, Magid
  • Rich McGuire, Magid

9:45 AM

Plenary Panel: What the Research is Telling Us

Academic and industry experts will respond to the findings from the newest FOSI research and distill the top takeaways into a global context to inform all stakeholders. Panelists will share more details on the study, discuss how they will apply these results in their work, and consider how to integrate findings into consumer outreach to parents.

  • Elizabeth Milovidov, Council of Europe; e-Enfance (Moderator) 
  • Ethan Arenson, Verizon
  • Alexa Hasse, Berkman Klein Center, Harvard University 
  • Molly Ludwig, Magid 

10:30 AM

Break and Virtual Exhibits

10:45 AM

Plenary Panel: Building Resilience for our Kids

This year has required parents, teachers, and children to adapt their use of technology like never before. Increasingly the Internet is being used for remote working, online schooling and has become the way we’ve stayed connected socially when we must be distanced physically.This remarkable shift has underscored the importance of healthy media consumption, and building resilience in and alongside our children. Join us for this plenary panel of experts in the field.

  • Amy Joyce, The Washington Post (Moderator) 
  • Tessy Ojo, Diana Award
  • Lenore Skenazy, Let Grow
  • Catherine Steiner-Adair, Clinical Psychologist
  • Patricia Vance, Entertainment Software Rating Board 

11:40 AM

"Creating a More Compassionate Internet" A Fireside Chat with Monica Lewinsky


Breakout Sessions

Privacy: Policy and Practice    

2020 has seen intense activity in capitals around the world focused on developing privacy legislation to protect users of all ages. This year has also seen advancements in privacy practices of companies designed to give families more control over their data. This panel will discuss the current landscape of policy and practices, as well as look ahead to anticipate activities in the upcoming year.

  • Tim Sparapani, SPQR Strategies (Moderator)
  • Carolina Giuga, The LEGO Group
  • Peder Magee, Federal Trade Commission
  • Amelia Vance, Future of Privacy Forum
  • Gina Woodworth, Snap Inc.

Ed Tech and Mixed Learning

Against the backdrop of an unprecedented school year, this panel will cover the challenges highlighted by distance learning, best practices in curating educational content, and the importance of creating balance when it comes to online and offline learning. Topics will include how industry and educators have adapted to virtual teaching, the importance of closing the homework gap, and programs and tools that have been most effective for educators.

  • Ken Corish, South West Grid for Learning (Moderator)
  • Andrea Cook, Kansas City Public Schools
  • Kerry Gallagher, St. John's Prep & ConnectSafely 
  • Dewayne McClary, Digital Promise
  • Julian McDougall, Bournemouth University Centre for Excellence in Media Practice

International Trends and Policy

Countries around the world have taken very different approaches to confronting the challenges and opportunities presented by our ever more connected lives. This panel will invite global experts to share what has worked and what must be improved, as well best practices and plans for future activity.

  • Penny Richards, Aspen UK (Moderator) 
  • Julia Fossi, Australian eSafety Commissioner's Office
  • Emily Keaney, UK Information Commissioner's Office
  • June Lowery-Kingston, European Commission
  • Matt Stokes, UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport

Streaming Quality Kids’ Content  

This panel will focus on the importance of producing quality content for children of all ages. Panelists will discuss the process that goes into creating content that is both engaging and educational. A key focus will be the current use of parental controls, as well as the need for innovation and adaptation of controls for streaming services. Other topics will include regulatory challenges, and the best way to develop content that appeals to a diverse group of families. ​

  • Linda Simensky, PBS Kids (Moderator)
  • Lindsey Emerson, HBO Max at WarnerMedia
  • Josh Korn, Netflix
  • Stuart Rowson, BBC Children’s
  • Teri Weiss, DreamWorks Animation

1:00 PM

Break and Virtual Exhibits

1:15 PM

Antigone Davis, Facebook in Conversation with Mary Madden, Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop

1:45 PM

Breakout Sessions

Young People Online: Staying Safe and Having Fun

When it comes to creating policies and solutions for young people, it’s best to go straight to the source. With a group of panelists, we’ll be discussing safety and citizenship when it comes to gaming, social media, and real life.

  • Tami Bhaumik, Roblox (Moderator)
  • Aidan (16), Student
  • Garvey (12), Student
  • Roman (12), Student

Illegal Content: Prevention, Detection, and Enforcement

The challenges of investigating and apprehending criminal actors online has intensified during the pandemic. Experts will examine new trends in illegal activity, developments in investigations, and methods to engage all stakeholders in eradicating global criminal behavior.

  • Julie Cordua, Thorn (Moderator)
  • Iain Drennan, WeProtect
  • David Gersten, US Department of Homeland Security  
  • Steve Grocki, US Department of Justice 
  • Yiota Souras, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
  • Neil Walsh, UN Office on Drugs & Crime
Online Activism: Social Justice Meets Social Media

In 2020, social organizing happened online. This year in particular has seen the world change through digital movements and the power of a hashtag. This phenomenon has created a space for vast positive change, but also raises many questions around the social dynamics of our divided world which will be debated in this hour session.

  • Amanda Lenhart, Data & Society (Moderator)
  • Jerome Foster II, OneMillionOfUs
  • Reggie McCrimmon, Twitter
  • Julia Morgan-Canales, Student Activist
  • Alexandria Villaseñor, Earth Uprising  
Technology Innovation: Challenges and Opportunities

This panel will feature leaders from top companies as they address recent technical and strategic developments in their work to keep kids safe online. We will hear about the ways in which companies are creating and implementing their approaches to online safety and parental controls, and what they foresee as the major challenges and opportunities going forward.

  • Taylor Barkley, Charles Koch Institute (Moderator)
  • Tony Anscombe, ESET
  • Alicia Blum-Ross, Google
  • Caroline Curtin, Microsoft
  • Brent Irvin, Tencent
  • Lexi Peskin, The Meet Group

2:45 PM

Break and Virtual Exhibits

3:00 PM

A Conversation with Leaders from Amazon Kids and Alexa

This conversation among leaders from Amazon Kids and Alexa will share insights about how families are using Alexa, Echo, and Amazon Kids during the pandemic. The group will also discuss how Amazon approaches designing the new Alexa features for kids and parents.

  • Miriam Daniel, Amazon
  • Toni Reid, Amazon
  • Karen Ressmeyer, Amazon

3:20 PM

Plenary Panel: Tech Policies in 2021 & Beyond

The final discussion of the day will look ahead to future policy trends and activity in the United States and around the world. What we should expect in 2021, how our new constantly online lives will be approached by policymakers and what their priorities should be.

  • Sara Fischer, Axios (Moderator)
  • Richard Downing, US Department of Justice
  • Alexandra Givens, Center for Democracy & Technology
  • Dr. Nicol Turner Lee, The Brookings Institution

4:20 PM

Preparing for Digital Parenthood: A Conversation with Sonia Livingstone and John Palfrey 

  • Sonia Livingstone, London School of Economics & Political Science
  • John Palfrey, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

4:50 PM

Closing Remarks

Stephen Balkam, Family Online Safety Institute 

5:00 PM

Happy hour, networking, and exhibits

6:00 PM



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