A. Common Resources and Parental Education
1. Online information resources
Collection of information regarding technologies and methods that can protect children and publication of such information on an open web page, with links to additional pertinent materials.7
- Internet companies have made substantial efforts to make these online information resources available. While not directly preventing access to harmful to minors materials, online information resources are essential to protecting children, as they can effectively provide access to technologies, information for families online, and hotlines to reach and report to authorities. Easily accessible online, the "one-click-away" approach is well-designed to make sure that notice of available technologies is provided at common points of entry to the Internet.
- These provide substantial benefits with little adverse impact on privacy, free speech, or costs imposed on users and publishers of otherwise lawful harmful to minors materials. These can have a potential positive effect on law enforcement by fostering greater information flow.
2. Family Education Programs
Active outreach to educate families about both opportunities and dangers of the Internet, as well as the technologies and practices that can optimize a child's experience online -- with a goal of encouraging families' involvement with their children's online experience and wider adoption of common sense practices.
- Good educational programs are readily accessible online.
- As with online resources, family education programs do not themselves directly prevent minors' access to harmful to minors materials, but they are an essential part of an overall solution. As families are the first line of defense in raising and protecting children, education programs can be highly effective in giving caregivers needed information about online risks and protection methods, and access to technologies and ways to get help.
- Availability of offline education materials varies from community to community.
- Offline education programs may be especially effective at reaching families that are not currently online, and may serve as a catalyst to encourage parents and other caretakers to take a more active role in childrens' online experience.
- Non-English language versions of these programs are less readily available.
- Family education imposes little or no cost on publishers of otherwise lawful harmful to minors materials and creates little adverse impact on privacy, First Amendment values, or law enforcement.
7. The following bar chart sets forth a summary of the COPA Commission's rating of this technology or method's effectiveness, accessibility, and costs. See p. 15 for a description of the rating system.