During the course of its work, the task force recognized, explored and considered a number of insights relating to child online safety including: the existence of an “ecosystem” of shared responsibility for child safety; the challenges to managing online risks, and the limitations of current technology and public policy for implementing online safety features. The task force also recognized the many existing and useful best practices that are already being employed by many companies in the Internet industry, as well as the work being done by a variety of other groups seeking to provide enhancements to online safety, such as the Internet Safety Technical Task Force convened by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and the extensive work that has already taken place in the United Kingdom by Dr. Tanya Byron and by the U.K. Home Office. The PointSmart.ClickSafe. Task Force worked to harmonize all these existing elements as it worked to develop its best practice recommendations.
In order to maximize harmonization, the PointSmart.ClickSafe. recommendations for best practices are designed to span all sectors of the Internet industry and are intended to be applied selectively based on a company's role and the types of services it offers that a child might use or with which he or she might come into contact. Embracing a child-centered perspective, the PointSmart.ClickSafe. best practice recommendations address three separate, but overlapping, categories of children's online experience - before they go online, during a child's online activities, and when problems arise - and recommend best practices for each of these stages. In addition, the task force recommendations recognize that a singular focus on safety is insufficient and that children need to learn digital and media literacy skills to help them think more critically about their activities and the online content they consume and, increasingly, create.
While the centerpiece of the task force's work has been to develop the recommendations for best practices that companies within the Internet industry can implement, it also recognizes that while the issue of online safety - like the Internet itself - spans many audiences, stakeholder groups, and jurisdictions, most Internet safety efforts have been both fragmented and granulized to the local level where there is often a significant lack of coordination and resources. More coordination at the national level supplemented with adequate resource development is needed. To this end, the task force recommends that policymakers consider the following steps:
Finally, recognizing the pivotal role of industry in ensuring steady improvement in this field, the task force suggests that voluntary activity strongly supported by industry is likely to be significantly more effective than legislated or mandated solutions; and that “light touch” regulation in this area is the superior approach for encouraging resource-rich companies to design progressive and innovative solutions, both now and in the future.