Dignity Defense Alert: Leadership of Protect Young Eyes Helps Parents and Children
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation is proud to honor Protect Young Eyes with our August 2020 Dignity Defense Alert for their leadership in protecting children online, and especially for their initiative in shepherding the EARN IT Act through the legislative process. We applaud Protect Young Eyes for their instrumental role initiating this groundbreaking legislation holding technology companies accountable for the rampant child sex abuse material on their platforms. Protect Young Eyes is at the forefront of the movement in identifying and mitigating the risks children face online.
Protect Young Eyes (PYE) is “Pro Tech, Pro Kid” with the overarching goal to “Protect” and create safer digital spaces #ForTheKids.
A major campaign PYE ideated and co-directed with NCOSE is the #FixAppRatings movement. Built on exposing popular apps’ lack of consistency, accountability, and transparency about the content they host, #FixAppRatings revealed a larger more systemic problem: that law and policy, as well as tech companies, are in desperate need of reform when it comes to protecting children from harm online. This highly successful campaign led to a US Senate hearing where Chris McKenna, Founder & CEO of PYE, presented powerful testimony about the many way predators use social media platforms to access minors. Senators were outraged by what they heard and several were moved to bipartisan legislative action to create the EARN IT Act.
Through countless efforts including initiating and maintaining ongoing relationships with legislators, Protect Young Eyes championed the EARN IT Act through the Senate Judiciary Committee. Not only did the bill pass unanimously, but it was edited with changes that now make interactive service providers accountable for combating child sexual exploitation and child sex abuse material (CSAM), without the “safe harbor” provisions outlined in the original version of EARN IT Act. It also removes Communications Decency Act 230 immunity regarding CSAM, thereby opening the technology industry to liability for harm caused to survivors under Federal civil law and state criminal and civil law.
The EARN IT Act is the only significant bill to curb online child sexual exploitation with a chance of success in 2020. As a direct result of PYE’s calls for accountability in Big Tech towards safer online spaces for kids and the threat of legislation by Congress, many of the largest platforms have made significant improvements on their sites. We thank Protect Young Eyes for their advocacy and partnership!
While PYE advocates for changes in laws and systems to protect children, they also provide parents and guardians with the resources and tools they need to ensure their children are as safe as possible while online. PYE is fighting for families!
Three Stand-Out Resources for Families from Protect Young Eyes:
- Tech Ready Parent: Free webinar series of 30 minute sessions full actionable information on various topics related to online safety and wellbeing
- PROTECT App for families to create a “Digital Trust Framework” and become “predator proof, porn resilient, and screen wise (available soon in English and Spanish with an optional faith-based framework)
- Reviews of popular apps, devices, and easy-to-follow instructions for turning on safeguards
We are grateful to Protect Young Eyes for their partnership and their leadership fighting for EARN IT Act and providing families with the resources they need to protect their kids.
Three quick actions you can take:
ACTION 2: Share this article and congratulate PYE on social media.
ACTION 3: Watch the recently released Childhood 2.0 film featuring PYE.
ACTION 4: Write your Senators in support of the EARN IT Act.
The Dignity Defense Alert is a new monthly campaign to recognize the people, companies, and nonprofits who are taking action to defend human dignity from any form of sexual abuse or exploitation.
In today’s world, it is easy to focus on those who are doing wrong and spend the entirety of our capacity on those who are abusing, or facilitating exploitation, or failing to prevent harm. There is incredible value in raising awareness and taking action on those issues. We at NCOSE focus much of our time and resources on doing just that. But we believe there is also value in acknowledging and raising awareness regarding the countless individuals and entities who are doing the right thing and fighting the good fight. While not every entity we recognize in the course of this campaign is perfect in this regard, we want to thank those that are taking important steps forward.
We want to celebrate heroes who do what is right, and we want to applaud every milestone that we can in the journey towards a world free from sexual abuse and exploitation. Doing so both recognizes progress and encourages progress by holding up leaders and examples for others to follow, whether that is in the realm of corporations, NGOs, or individual advocates.
Do you have an individual, company, or nonprofit you would like to nominate to be recognized in a Dignity Defense Alert? Learn more and nominate entities here.