Redefining Online Safety

More than two decades have passed since the concept of “online safety” first reached prominence in the national consciousness. Our online behaviors and activities, and those of our children, have changed drastically since then. Today, wireless Internet-enabled devices not only allow children to consume media content while on-the-go, but also provide them with the tools to become sophisticated content creators.

In response to these changes in the digital landscape, our friends at the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) have recognized the need to redefine what online safety means in today’s world. FOSI’s fresh look was recently articulated by its CEO Stephen Balkam in his blog post, “Online Safety Redefined: The 3 Key Elements”. We agree with this new perspective. Today, children access media and information through devices that were just a distant gleam in their parents’ imagination when they were the same age. With the “Internet of Things” era upon us, the ever-increasing speed with which technology continues to evolve presents significant challenges to parents seeking to provide guidance on how their children interact with the world through technology.

The question now is how should parents prepare themselves for this new reality? The NCTA Cable Impacts Foundation’s recently launched website,, empowers parents with the information needed to meet the online safety challenges in today’s world. It educates parents about strategies for engaging their children in important discussions about understanding online risks, privacy protection, and digital citizenship. And, as emerging technologies progressively blur the line between television and online-delivered content, this site addresses that fading division by providing a one-stop resource for educating parents about both online and TV parental control tools. It helps parents digest this complex landscape by highlighting several overlapping concepts that span the two services.