Washington, D.C.

FOSI 2023 Annual Conference

Register Now
November 13, 2023
8:00 AM
7:00 PM
InterContinental Washington D.C. - The Wharf | 801 Wharf St SW, Washington, DC 20024


November 13, 2023
8:00 AM
7:00 PM
InterContinental Washington D.C. - The Wharf | 801 Wharf St SW, Washington, DC 20024

On November 13th, FOSI hosted its Annual Conference. With a theme of “New Frontiers in Online Safety,” this event highlighted the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology like generative AI, as well as the significant online safety regulatory developments across the country and around the world. The day featured leaders from the public, private, academic, and nonprofit sectors speaking about content moderation, the intersection of privacy and safety, innovative products and services, mental health and wellbeing, how young people engage with their digital worlds, and much more.

Tami Bhaumik, Vice President of Civility and Partnerships at Roblox, and Chair of the FOSI Board, began the day by giving opening remarks and Stephen Balkam gave a welcome address.

The day started with the launch of FOSI’s new research, “Generative AI: Emerging Habits, Hopes and fears,” conducted by Kantar and made possible through support from Google. Chris Carbone and Kara Sundby of Kantar presented highlights from the research, which surveyed children and parents across the US, Germany, and Japan. Key findings include that teens and their parents appear similarly informed about genAI (unusual compared to other technologies), and both age groups acknowledge the significant potential benefits and risks that come with using the technology.

After presenting the research, Sundby joined Dr. Nicol Turner Lee of the Brookings Institution, Dr. Tovah Klein of Barnard College, and Mindy Brooks of Google for a conversation to further discuss the report. 

Following a short networking break, Catherine Teitelbaum of Amazon Family Trust moderated a session on AI in the Classroom with content creator Carly Anderson of Lipgloss & Crayons,  David Bickham of the Digital Wellness Lab, and Arjun Venkataswamy of Alexa Kids. The panel commented on the new research and added their own perspectives on working with AI in educational settings.

Attendees then had the opportunity to participate in one of four panel discussions. Innovative Tech Solutions in Online Safety featured industry experts from Snapchat, Uber, SmithMicro, Mattel, and GoBubble to discuss how their companies are leading the way in online safety features and tools. A Worldwide Tour of Online Safety Policy had speakers from across the globe discussing new regulations and policies relating to online safety, privacy, and human rights. Beyond the Screen: Tackling the Mental Health Crisis featured mental health professionals and digital safety experts who discussed the impacts that online life has on mental health, the opportunities and the risks. And lastly, Leveling Up: Games Come of Age was a particularly popular panel featuring an array of gaming industry experts.

After lunch and time for attendees to network and view the exhibit booths, the afternoon breakout sessions began. These panels featured topics such as digital and social-emotional literacy, the importance of including youth voices in technology and policy development, the rise in state legislative action, and the current state of content moderation.

Following another networking break, attendees headed back to the main stage for the afternoon plenary sessions. First up were Pratishtha Arora of Social Media Matters, Dr. Mashilo Boloka of the Content Regulatory Authority of South Africa, Daniel Leza of TMG Consulting, and Anthony Robinson of ARC Global Strategies discussing Online Safety in the Global Village. 

The next plenary panel focused on digital wellness and supporting teens online, with Alexandra Veitch of YouTube leading a conversation with content creators Gohar Khan and Stephanie Yates-Anyabwile, as well as Dr. Jessica DiVento Dzuban of YouTube. 

An engaging conversation followed between Tiktok influencer Jasmine Vega and the platform’s Director of Public Policy Eric Ebenstein, as Jasmine shared her personal story and the impact that TikTok had on her family’s small business. 

The highly anticipated AI plenary panel, Shifting Paradigms: Where AI is Taking Us featured Tamara Gilkes Borr of the Economist, Sinead Bovell of WAYE, Kim Kunes from Xbox’s Safety Trust and Responsibility team, Melissa Stroebel of Thorn, and Fiona Thornton of Crisp. This group of experts discussed the wealth of opportunity AI offers, while not shying away from the significant risks and harms that come with the new technology.

FOSI was delighted to welcome the RT Honorable Michelle Donelan MP, UK Secretary of State for Science, Innovation, and Technology, who delivered the afternoon keynote address. The Secretary’s first major speech in the United States followed her integral role in the UK’s recent AI Safety Summit, and highlighted the many recent regulatory developments from the UK.

The final plenary session was a fireside chat between FOSI CEO Stephan Balkam, Federal Trade Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter, and Gill Whitehead of Ofcom, diving deep into complicated issues while calling on a whole of society approach to improve online safety for all. 

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

Photos from the event can be found on the Event Media Gallery.

Hosted By

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Thank you to our sponsors:

Champion of Corporate Responsibility
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Supported By
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The Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP

UK Secretary of State
Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT)

Rebecca Slaughter

Federal Trade Commission

Gill Whitehead

Group Director, Online Safety

Carly Anderson

Content Creator and Advocate
Lipgloss and Crayons

Pratishtha Arora

Social Media Matters

Laetitia Avia

Former French MP, Lawyer, & Digital Policy Expert

Charlotte Aynsley

Policy Consultant
Family Online Safety Institute/Charlotte Aynsley Digital Consultants

Jenny Backus

Founder and President
Backus Consulting LLC

Stephen Balkam

Founder & CEO
Family Online Safety Institute

Tami Bhaumik

VP, Civility & Partnerships
Roblox, FOSI Board Chair*

Zhamilya Bilyalova

Youth, Media, and Well-being Lab at Wellesley Centers for Women

Dr. Mashilo Boloka

Chief Executive Officer
Film and Publication Board (Republic of South Africa)

Sinead Bovell


David Bickham, Ph.D

Research Scientist
Digital Wellness Lab

Mindy Brooks

Senior Director, General Manager for Kids and Families

Chris Carbone

Senior Director, Futures Practice Consulting Division

Anne Collier

Founder & Executive Director
Net Safety Collaborative

Julia Cooke

International Policy Manager, Online Safety

Richard Culatta


Pride David

Teen Fact-Checker

Dr. Jessica DiVento Dzuban, Psy.D.

Global Head of Mental Health

Viraj Doshi

Platform Safety Lead
Snap Inc.

Kelli Dunlap, PsyD

Community Director
Take This

Marissa Edmund

Policy Specialist
Family Online Safety Institute

Eric Ebenstein

Director of Public Policy

Claudia-Santi F. Fernandes Ed.D., LPC

Director of Research + Evaluation
Born This Way Foundation

Megan Fromm, Ph.D.

Education Manager

Tamara Gilkes Borr

US Policy Correspondent
The Economist

Ben Golant

Senior Director for Global Game Policy

Colette Gregg

School Without Walls High School

Andrew Hasbun

Head of Safety Communications

Jennifer Huddleston

Technology Policy Research Fellow
CATO Institute

Catherine Jensen

Vice President of Global Consumer Experience
Sony Interactive Entertainment

Matthew Johnson

Director of Education

Anup Kaneri

Vice President of Worldwide Products
Smith Micro

Gohar Khan

YouTube Content Creator

Tovah P. Klein, Ph.D.

Barnard College Center for Toddler Development

Sen. David Koehler

State Senator, 46th District
Illinois State Senate

Kim Kunes

Vice President of Xbox Safety, Trust, & Responsibility

Tom Le

Mattel Inc.

Daniel Leza

Vice President
TMG Consulting

Nicodemus Madehdou

CEO and Co-Founder
JumpButton Studio

Shreya Nallamothu

University High School in Illinois

Gwen Oldham

Director - Corporate Social Responsibility

Mike Pappas


Stanley Pierre-Louis

President & Chief Executive Officer
Entertainment Software Association

Henry Platten

President and Chief Bubbler

Trisha Prabhu

Founder and CEO

Mitch Prinstein, Ph.D., ABPP

Chief Science Officer
American Psychological Association

Anthony Robinson

Founder and Principal Consultant
ARC Global Strategies

Kate Ruane

Director, Free Expression Project
Center for Democracy & Technology

Abby Schmid

Graduate Student / PATHS Mentee
University of Colorado Boulder / LGBT Tech

Noam Schwartz

Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder

Del. Jared Solomon

Delegate, District 18
Maryland House of Delegates

Melissa Stroebel

Vice President of Research & Insights

Kara Sundby

Senior Director

Kelly Tallon

Manager of Regulatory Strategy and Policy
Australian eSafety Commissioner

Medha Tare, PhD

Senior Director of Research
Joan Ganz Cooney Center, Sesame Workshop

Catherine Teitelbaum

Head of Family Trust for Amazon Kids

Fiona Thornton

VP of Platform Partnerships

Bridget Todd

Unbossed Creative

Dr. Nicol Turner Lee

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

Arjun Venkataswamy

Product Manager, Alexa Kids

Jasmine Vega


Alexandra N. Veitch

Government Affairs & Public Policy, Americas

Corie Wright

Vice President and Head of Global Public Policy
Epic Games

Stephanie Yates-Anyabwile, MA

Marriage & Family Therapist, Stephanie Yates LLC
Content Creator, YouTube


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8:00 AM

Registration, Breakfast & Exhibits | Sponsored by Disney

9:00 AM

Opening Remarks

  • Tami Bhaumik, Roblox (FOSI Board Chair)

9:05 AM

Welcome Address

  • Stephen Balkam, FOSI

9:10 AM

Launch of Generative AI Research Report

A presentation of summarized findings from a new FOSI study explored the emerging awareness, perceptions, and early use of generative AI tools among parents and teens. Conducted across three countries, the report examines similarities and differences in how the rise of genAI is being received culturally and between generations, and what respondents' hopes and concerns are for the future of this powerful technology.

  • Chris Carbone, Kantar
  • Kara Sundby, Kantar

9:40 AM

First Look: Experts React to New FOSI Study

Panelists included:

  • Mindy Brooks, Google
  • Dr. Tovah Klein, Barnard College
  • Kara Sundby, Kantar
  • Dr. Nicol Turner Lee, Brookings Institution (moderator)

10:25 AM

Networking & Exhibits

10:45 AM

AI in the Classroom: Technology & The Future of Learning

As AI becomes more prevalent at work and home, families and teachers are deciding how best to incorporate AI into an educational environment. What can AI look like in a classroom setting, especially for school age kids? Is there a future where AI acts as a helpful learning partner?

panelists included:

  • Carly Anderson, Lipgloss & Crayons
  • David Bickham, Digital Wellness Lab
  • Catherine Teitelbaum, Amazon Family Trust (moderator)
  • Arjun Venkataswamy, Alexa Kids

11:25 AM

Morning Breakout Sessions

Leveling Up: Games Come of Age

From Pac-Man and Super Mario Bros. to The Last of Us, Minecraft, PUBG, and Fortnite, games have significantly evolved over the past 50 years. As games and gamers have come of age, this panel of experts discussed some of the recent research, the technological and policy developments impacting the video gaming ecosystem, trust & safety efforts to protect gamers of all ages, and the potential impact that AI and emerging technologies will have on game development and content moderation.

panelists included:

  • Benjamin Golant, Tencent
  • Catherine Jensen, Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Nicodemus Madehdou, JumpButton Studio
  • Stanley Pierre-Louis, ESA (moderator)
  • Corie Wright, Epic Games

Beyond the Screen: Tackling the Mental Health Crisis

In recent years, mental health has become a major crisis in the United States, especially among teens and young adults. The release of the Surgeon General’s advisory about social media and youth mental health in May of this year sparked new conversations about how to navigate this important topic with young people and their parents. This panel discussed the most effective ways to support youth mental health in the online space, diving into topics such as overexposure to disturbing news, social media’s impact on young people’s body image, teen/young adult loneliness, and more.

panelists included:

  • Anne Collier, The Net Safety Collaborative (moderator)
  • Kelli Dunlap, PsyD., Take This
  • Claudia-Santi F. Fernandes Ed.D. LPC, Born This Way Foundation
  • Mitch Prinstein, APA

A Worldwide Tour of Online Safety Policy

Countries, geopolitical blocks, and international bodies have been grappling with how to legislate and regulate a policy area that includes data privacy, free speech and expression, mental health and wellness, human rights, trafficking and exploitation, legal liability, content moderation, emerging technologies like AI systems, transparency, and enforcement. Some jurisdictions have passed laws, some have been blocked by legal challenges, and others are just getting started. This panel discussed it all while highlighting some of the leading online safety regulatory ideas around the world.

panelists included:

  • Laetitia Avia, Former French MP, Lawyer, & Digital Policy Expert
  • Charlotte Aynsley, Digital Safeguarding Consultants (moderator)
  • Julia Cooke, Ofcom
  • Lisa Robinson, OECD
  • Kelly Tallon, eSafety Commission, Australia

Innovative Tech Solutions in Online Safety

Experts from across the tech sector shared their top online safety tech advancements and innovations from the past year. From educational efforts to the design of technical tools and features to AI-driven safety enhancements, this was an opportunity for discussion about which approaches work best when it comes to prioritizing safety, raising awareness, and empowering and educating consumers. 

panelists included:

  • Jenny Backus, Backus Consulting (moderator)
  • Viraj Doshi, Snap Inc.
  • Andrew Hasbun, Uber
  • Anup Kaneri, SmithMicro
  • Tom Le, Mattel
  • Henry Platten, GoBubble

12:15 PM

Networking Luncheon | Sponsored by Comcast

1:10 PM

Afternoon Breakout Sessions

Media, Digital, & Social Emotional Literacy: A Holistic Approach

How do we develop a comprehensive understanding of media, digital, and social and emotional literacy in order to navigate our information-dense world? At a time when the importance of these literacies are paramount, experts debated the best ways to teach people of all ages about the importance of topics such as critical thinking, identifying misinformation, and cybersecurity, and how these skills are strengthened by media, digital, and social emotional literacy. As we continue to navigate new technologies such as genAI, panelists provided guidance on how to use these literacies to have safe and positive online experiences.

panelists included:

  • Richard Culatta, ISTE (moderator)
  • Megan Fromm, NAMLE
  • Matthew Johnson, MediaSmarts
  • Gwen Oldham, AT&T
  • Medha Tare, Joan Ganz Cooney Center, Sesame Workshop

Listen Up: What Young People Want from Platforms, Policymakers & Parents

Youth voices are essential in the development of products and services, but they are often overlooked. Additionally, policymakers often forget the rights of youth when they are proposing legislation. Parents report feeling overwhelmed and recognize that their kids often know more than they do about navigating technology. This panel of young people shared their personal experiences with technology, their thoughts on how industry and policymakers can ensure that youth voices are consistently included in the conversation, and the role that parents and educators play in all of this.

panelists included:

  • Zhamilya Bilyalova, PrivaZy Collective: Privacy for Gen Z
  • Pride David, Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts
  • Colette Gregg, School Without Walls High School
  • Trisha Prabhu, ReThink & Oxford Internet Institute (moderator)
  • Abby Schmid, LGBT Tech

Speech, Censorship & Scale: Content Moderation in 2023

In addition to keeping users safe online, content moderation reflects the values and priorities of a company, a country, and a society. These values include the balance of free speech, privacy, and legality of certain actions, content, and expression. Recently, the First Amendment has been used to challenge and halt multiple online safety laws across the US. Meanwhile, the UK and Europe have passed new safety laws that attempt to regulate the difficult space of harmful but legal online speech. The proliferation of new AI systems presents a new challenge, as the technology makes it easier to both create and detect misinformation. Content moderation has also played a central role in global conflict in 2023, with propaganda and real stories of violence and survival from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa competing for the world’s attention.

panelists included:

  • Mike Pappas, Modulate
  • Kate Ruane, Center for Democracy & Technology
  • Noam Schwartz, ActiveFence
  • Carl Szabo, NetChoice
  • Bridget Todd, Unbossed Creative

Meeting the Challenge: Online Safety Across State Capitals

With Congress’ inability to pass online safety laws and growing concerns from young people, parents, and industry members, many states have risen to the challenge and advanced their own legislative ideas. From design codes to age verification and parental consent requirements to social media censorship and protecting profits for minors, states have passed wide ranging laws to protect their residents online. Which are the best models to replicate? What are some mistakes to learn from? And can any of these laws hold up in court? This panel dived into these questions and more. We also heard from an inspiring youth advocate out of Illinois who saw a need, contacted her state senator, and passed a first of its kind child influencer law in her state. 

panelists included:

  • Shreya Nallamothu (opening remarks)
  • TJ Donovan, Roblox
  • Marissa Edmund, FOSI (moderator)
  • Jennifer Huddleston, Cato Institute
  • Sen. Dave Koehler, Illinois State Senate
  • Del. Jared Solomon, State Delegate, Maryland

2:10 PM

International Perspectives: Online Safety in the Global Village

While new laws and significant lawsuits across the US and Europe capture the headlines, the Internet is truly global. In fact, online harms can be felt more acutely by people in the Global South due to a lack of legal protections, expert regulators and resources, and language and cultural specificity in content moderation. Additionally, limited broadband access can limit the content and communication that individuals have access to. Working to improve online safety internationally must take into account all people and their experiences. This panel examined online safety work being done across the Global South including regulations, families’ experiences, and industry best practices.

panelists included:

  • Pratishtha Arora, Social Media Matters
  • Dr. Mashilo Boloka, Content Regulatory Authority of South Africa
  • Daniel Leza, TMG Consulting
  • Anthony Robinson, (moderator)

2:50 PM

Digital Wellness: How Parents and Platforms Can Support Teens Online

These experts and content creators discussed how platforms can ensure online safety and promote digital well-being for teens. Panelists also discussed how parents can educate themselves on what's best for their families.

panelists included:

  • Dr. Jessica DiVento Dzuban, Psy.D., YouTube
  • Gohar Khan, YouTube Content Creator
  • Alexandra Veitch, YouTube (moderator)
  • Stephanie R. Yates-Anyabwile, MA, Marriage & Family Therapist; YouTube Content Creator

3:20 PM

Networking & Exhibits

3:35 PM

Generation TikTok: Empowering Youth and Family Businesses

This conversation explored the dynamic world of TikTok and how teen creators, like Jasmine Vega with 16.5K followers and 1.1M likes, have harnessed the platform to build communities and positively impact their family-owned or small businesses. This conversation explored the connection between family, community, and the livelihood that TikTok can bring, showcasing how teen creators are bridging generational gaps and making a difference in their families and communities.

panelists included:

  • Eric Ebenstein, TikTok
  • Jasmine Vega, Creator/Influencer

4:05 PM

Shifting Paradigms: Where is genAI Taking Us?

With the explosion of genAI over the last year, we are at an unprecedented moment in regard to the potential impact that this technology could have on every aspect of human life. This panel of experts discussed the incredible potential as well as possible dangers, the online safety implications, and how policymakers, industry, educators, and parents can thoughtfully approach genAI and collaboratively identify practical, responsible solutions. Each panelist brought their own unique experience and perspective to the conversation, reflecting on where genAI could take us in the future.

panelists included:

  • Sinead Bovell, WAYE
  • Tamara Gilkes Borr, The Economist (moderator)
  • Kim Kunes, Microsoft
  • Melissa Stroebel, Thorn
  • Fiona Thornton, Crisp

4:55 PM

Keynote Address

The Secretary of State spoke to the recent passing of the UK's groundbreaking Online Safety Act. She also talked about her role in developing the UK government's approach to AI, recent developments following the AI Safety Summit in Bletchley Park and establishing the UK as a leader in the technology space.

  • The Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP, UK Secretary of State for Science, Innovation & Technology

5:15 PM

Fireside Chat

FTC Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter and Gill Whitehead of Ofcom joined FOSI CEO Stephen Balkam for fireside chat that provided a unique opportunity to hear directly from these regulatory leaders who are navigating the path forward for online safety and privacy in the US and UK.

  • Stephen Balkam, FOSI (moderator)
  • Rebecca Slaughter, Federal Trade Commission
  • Gill Whitehead, Ofcom

5:45 PM

Closing Remarks

  • Stephen Balkam, FOSI

5:55 PM

Evening Reception | Sponsored by ESA


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