A high-level task force on how to keep children safe on the Internet has concluded, among other things, that online sexual predation by adults on minors needs significant further study.

The Internet Safety Technical Task Force also confirmed other popular perceptions, not the least of which that it will take more than just improved filtering and parental control technology to do the whole job of keeping kids safe.

The Final Report of the task Force, released earlier this week, highlights a number of key findings including:

  • Sexual predation on minors by adults, both online and offline, remains a concern.
  • Bullying and harassment, most often by peers, are the most frequent threats that minors face.
  • The Internet increases the availability of harmful, problematic and illegal content, but does not always increase minors’ exposure.
  • Minors are not equally at risk online. Those who are most at risk often engage in risky behaviors and have difficulties in other parts of their lives.

Among its recommendations:

  • Members of the Internet community should continue to work with child safety experts, technologists, public policy advocates, social services, and law enforcement agencies on developing new technologies and policies to protect children online.
  • Careful consideration should be given to what the data show about the actual risks to minors’ safety online and how best to address them, to constitutional rights, and to privacy and security concerns.
  • Greater resources should be allocated to schools, libraries community organizations, law enforcement agencies and social services and mental health professionals who focus on minors and their families to deal with the problem.
  • Parents and caregivers should: educate themselves about the Internet and the ways in which their children use it, as well as about technology in general.

The full report is available at the Harvard Law School cyberlaw Web site. Note: It’s in .PDF format, so, you’ll need a recent version of the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it.

One Response to Tech alone won’t keep kids safe on Net

  1. Eric Jacksch
    Jan 16, 2009

    There are some helpful technical solutions, but nothing replaces a vigilant parent. Get those computers out of bedrooms and into common area of the home, and talk to children in an age-appropriate way about online safety.

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