NCTA Launches Online Safety Campaign


Cable operators reaching over 90% of the country,--plus more than 200 programming networks-- have launched an online safety campaign called PointSmart.ClickSafe. The program includes a voluntary online safety code of conduct.

According to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, which announced the initiative in Washington on Wednesday, its members have pledged as part of that code to:

1. Offer parental controls or filters free of charge to help families manage, and if appropriate,
block online content;

2. Offer educational resources for parents and children to better understand how they can manage
their Internet experience and make good choices about their online activities;

3. Participate in partnerships with leading school and community-based education groups to
develop, promote and disseminate Internet safety and media literacy materials;

4.  In conformity with all legal requirements, cooperate with law enforcement officials to help
prevent, police and prosecute potential criminal activity online.

NCTA has also pledged to participate in an "online safety summit" in cooperation with Common Sense Media and the Internet Keep Safe Coalition.

The NCTA says the goal of the campaign and the summit is "ensuring safe, fulfilling, and educational online experiences for children and families."

Also part of the initiative are Cable in the Classroom, The American Association
of School Librarians, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the PTA, the
Public Library Association; and the State Educational Technology Directors Association.

The campaign also includes a Website that NCTA members will link to their own sites.

The campaign comes as cable continues to grow its broadband service, now delivering Internet access to 32 million residential and business customers, according to the association.

Will the education part include how media companies market to kids through social networking sites, adver-gaming and other online tools?, an issue that has some in the media activist community concerned.

Not specifically at the outset, said NCTA Spokesman Brian Dietz, but he ads that the educational element will evolve and that "social networking sites will definitely be part of the educational efforts."