Is There a Relationship Between Online Safety Concerns and Broadband Uptake?
Adam D. Thierer
George Mason University - Mercatus Center
September 9, 2009
The Progress & Freedom Foundation U.S. Congressional Testimony, September 2009
Child safety concerns are probably not a factor in broadband adoption. In my research, I have never unearthed any substantive empirical evidence suggesting a correlation between parental concerns about online activity and overall household broadband uptake.
Four reasons why online child safety hasn't affected broadband adoption in a significant way:
* Only 32% of U.S. households contain children under the age of eighteen. Thus, for at least 68% of households, online child safety would not be a factor in broadband adoption.
* For many of these households with children in them, parents rely on various methods, such as household media rules, to control online content and Internet access in the home. This suggests that parents understand there are ways to control media consumption if they choose to subscribe to a broadband service.
* Research, including the FCC's own Report on Implementation of the Child Safe Viewing Act, has shown that there is a vast, thriving marketplace for parental control tools. Moreover, studies have shown parents are pleased with technological options available to them to control their children's media consumption, again suggesting child safety would not be a factor in choosing to subscribe to a broadband service.
* As the importance of the Internet grows in the way we communicate and access information, it is likely that parents realize that the benefits of broadband outweigh concerns about online child safety.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 7
Keywords: Internet, broadband, online safety, FCC, parental, controls, tools, methods, technologies, households, content, communications, unwanted, objectionable, filters, browser, walled, gardens, education, media, literacy, digital, broadband consumer context
JEL Classification: D18, I2, I20, I28, O38, O33, L82, L96, D18, L82, L83, L5, L50, L59, D62, L63, L96, L98working papers series
Date posted: October 25, 2009
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