Rep. Bean's 'Safer Net Act': An Education-Based Approach to Online Child Safety

10 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2007

See all articles by Adam D. Thierer

Adam D. Thierer

George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Date Written: February 22, 2007


Recent legislative efforts to address online child safety concerns seek to regulate websites or restrict online content. Education, not increased governmental regulation, is the most effective method of ensuring online child safety. Educational efforts that teach children to safely navigate online are likely to be more effective than content controls and blocking technology. Educational efforts would also not raise constitutional concerns regarding the First Amendment. When crafting online child safety public awareness and educational campaigns policymakers should consider other successful federal educational initiatives, such as the Smokey the Bear forest fire prevention campaign. Policymakers should also recognize successful online child safety tools and programs established by various private groups and industry initiatives.

Keywords: Internet, online, online content, SAFER NET Act, internet regulation, internet safety, online protection, adult websites, online predators, child safety, child protection, social networking sites, Bean Bill, public awareness, Cyber Bullying, parental controls, Melissa Bean, SAFER NET, FTC, filters

JEL Classification: D18, I2, I20, I28, O38, O33, L82

Suggested Citation

Thierer, Adam D., Rep. Bean's 'Safer Net Act': An Education-Based Approach to Online Child Safety (February 22, 2007). Progress & Freedom Foundation Progress on Point Paper No. 14.3. Available at SSRN: or

Adam D. Thierer (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

3351 Fairfax Drive
4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201-4433
United States

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