This morning Elmo of Sesame Street helped Julius Genachowski of the FCC launch the child- and family-empowerment part of the FCC’s universal broadband plan (trying to understand Mr. Genachowski’s job, Elmo asked, “So you’re the chairman of the Funky Chicken Club?”). But before Elmo joined him, the Federal Communications Commission’s chairman spoke of the “four pillars” of broadband Internet for US families:
To help parents and schools, he announced a “digital literacy corps to mobilize thousands of technically-trained youths and adults to train non-adopters,” my ConnectSafely co-director Larry Magid reported in CNET; a plan to get public libraries “more broadband capacity”; “a national dialog” in the form of FCC-hosted town meetings around the country; a new section of FCC.gov for kids and parents; and an interagency working group on online safety (something I’ve been hoping would happen for a while), which certainly includes the Federal Trade Commission and its pioneering work on virtual worlds and free, well-written Netcetera booklet.
“Let’s focus on what parents can do” in helping their kids have positive experiences with digital media, “not on what they can’t,” Genachowski concluded. Exactly, Mr. Chairman. Last July ConnectSafely made exactly that point in “Online Safety 3.0: Empower and Protecting Youth”: “To be relevant to young people, its intended beneficiaries, Net safety needs to respect youth agency, embrace the technologies they love, use social media in the instruction process, and address the positive reasons for safe use of social technology. It’s not safety from bad outcomes but safety for positive ones.”