Citation: Thierer, Adam. "Parental Controls and Online Child Protection: A Survey of Tools and Minds." Version 3.1. Fall 2008. Progress & Freedom Foundation. 5 April 2009. <http://www.pff.org/parentalcontrols/Parental%20Controls%20&%20Online%20Child%20Protection%20[VERSION%203.1].pdf>
Thierer’s document covers a variety of aspects and issues relating to parental control of children’s media consumption. Different methods of controls are discussed, including informal rules implemented by parents, ratings systems, filtering and monitoring software, increased media literacy, self-regulation by companies and governmental regulation. Much of the document relates to media other than the Internet, but the Internet is discussed, particularly when describing different types of filtering programs and the Internet’s relationship to the problems with governmental regulation. Because no one method of parental controls is completely effective, Thierer concludes that parents take an interdisciplinary approach when regulating their children’s media content, and employ a combination of strategies. Educational and empowerment and informal strategies have the added bonus of being the least likely to restrict freedom of speech. There is also a discussion of how to protect children from sexual predators online. Age verification and extensive data monitoring are seen to be a poor remedies, while the right solution is determined to be “education, empowerment and enforcement.”
This article, much like some of the other documents, places an importance on efficacy and education as optimal ways to protect children from the dangers of the Internet. The focus of the ineffectiveness of other types of controls relates to questions concern those methods’ constitutionality which supports my theseis. The document is a particularly good source because it is very detailed and thoughrough in its analyses of the types of contols. This article also helps to better compare and contrast the views of Thierer and Palfrey, who co-authored another source. While they may have disagreed about reforming CDA 230, the two men both supported internal regulations by parents and community members and desires for non-governmental groups to come up with their own strategies concerning controlling content. Thierer is perhaps more skeptical of technology than Palfrey is, and he places more of an emphasis on educating and empowering parents and children about how to optimally use the Internet.
Citation: Majoras, Deborah Platt. “Rights and Responsibility: Protecting Children in a Web 2.0 World.” Keynote Address at Family Online Safety Institute. 6 December 2007. Federal Trade Commission. 6 April 2009. http://ftc.gov/speeches/majoras/071206fosi.pdf.
This document is the copy of a speech made by the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission describing methods used to protect children from dangers lurking online, including harmful content, cyber bullying, and privacy invasion. After describing the media use of children and some of the dangers they face online, Majoras summarizes the law enforcement efforts the FTC has taken to prevent exposure to harmful content. The laws the FTC works to enforce have provisions including requiring adult content to be notified as such in the e-mail tagline and preventing websites from asking children too much personal information. Majoras then describes the FTC’s push and efforts to educate and empower parents and children to stay safe. These efforts are viewed by the FTC as important because first amendment restrictions will prevent the government from being able to completely restrict dangerous content themselves. Marjoras also said that it is important for companies to self-regulate content. Majoras concludes by stating that a multidisciplinary approach is needed in solving this problem.
This article is important in the broader context of regulating Internet content for children, because the FTC is a major governmental organization involved in the issue. A governmental organization believing that education and self-regulation needs to supplement governmental regulation enhances the importance of education and self-regulation, which could be seen as an alternative to the government. This article gives good specifics about the role of the FTC in law-enforcement and education, and describes different features of education programs and self-regulating devices; those details could be useful for figuring out the absolute best way to determine how to protect children. Although this article was written by someone in the Bush administration, it is likely that the opinions of Obama’s FTC workers are not too different; protecting children from harmful content on the Internet is a bipartisan issue.
Citation: Jordan, Amy. "Children's Media Policy" Children and Electronic Media.Volume 18 No. 1. Spring 2008. pp 235-355. 5 April 2009. http://www.futureofchildren.org/usr_doc/18_10_Jordan.pdf.
Jordan’s article gives an overview of how media policy concerning children is developed and shaped, and what is and is not effective about it. The article begins by discussing how events and public opinion changes can motivate the government to enact policies protecting children, and how outside groups influence these policies. It outlines how the three branches of government work together to shape these policies, and what the role of the FCC and the FTC are in enforcing the laws. The article then describes motivations by media industries to self-regulate content, types of self-regulation, and how self-regulation and government regulation interact with each other. While a combination of legislation and self-regulation seems to be the inevitable and most logical way to regulate new media, Jordan thinks these actions are still largely ineffective; they are not enacted properly, little is known about media habits and production of material online is becoming increasingly decentralized.
While much of the article discusses policies relating to media other than the Internet, the article is useful as an overview of the formation process for children’s media policy, especially because it contains useful charts. The similarities and differences between the Internet and older forms of media are important to note in order to figure out what types of regulations used on other forms of media could and could not be applicable to the Internet. For example, ratings systems akin to the ones established for television shows and video games would likely not be a good way to regulate Internet content. So many websites are created on a regular basis that it would be impossible to assign ratings to all of them. This article supports my thesis because it describes issues relating to the regulation of Internet Service Providers. Perhaps it also provides a counterargument to my thesis, however, because the author does not think that self-regulation is necessarily effective.