*This blog is the first in a series for Internet Safety Month. The first part covers current actions NCOSE supports in order to fight for internet safety. The second installment covers progress that still needs to be made on this front.*
As designated by the U.S Senate, June is National Internet Safety Month in the United States.
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation believes all people have the right to a life free from sexual exploitation and its effects. This includes the right to safe digital spaces where human dignity is protected and preserved.
Here is what NCOSE is currently working on—and where your help is needed—in order to make the internet safer for all.
The Safeguard Alliance: A Task Force Within the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation
As part of the National Center’s multi-pronged approach to end all forms of sexual exploitation, we lead the international Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation (CESE). This loose-knit coalition brings together groups from all over the world, spurring united action on all fronts.
A unique and powerful function of CESE is that in bringing together so many incredible, knowledgeable professionals, it gives us the opportunity to create task forces. A task force is a way of connecting experts—all coming from different angles—who add needed perspectives in order to confront a specific issue area of sexual exploitation.
For the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation, The Safeguard Alliance is a crucial task force.
The Safeguard Alliance’s goal is to connect leaders who are preparing young people to grow up free from pornography.
Those who are working to help parents and young people find truth and safety on the issue of pornography join The Safeguard Alliance, which means leaders are being brought together and are now better able to help one another solve common challenges and provide opportunities for social support, collaboration, professional development, and shared messaging. They actively host monthly meetings, a Facebook group, and meet annually at the CESE Global Summit.
The Safeguard Alliance works to answer questions like:
- How can I start and maintain a dialogue about pornography with my children?
- What can I teach my kids to do if they see pornography?
- How can I address what is happening in sexualized media/pop culture with my children?
- Is it appropriate to share personal experiences with children?
Through this task force partnership, resources like Talk Today, Safer Tomorrow–a guide with conversation starters with children regarding pornography–have been developed to answer tackle questions like these.
EARN IT Act: Current Legislation That Will Increase Internet Safety
Another part of NCOSE’s multi-pronged approach is following the pulse of policy development and stirring activism to address both corporate and government policies that foster exploitation.
Thanks to the efforts of our Director of Government Relations, Eleanor Gaetan, combined with wonderful interns, fellows, and staff members, we are able to cultivate and maintain relationships with legislators all over the world. In regular meetings with legislators, we are able to share the stories of so many who are awfully affected by all forms of sexual exploitation, including those who are exploited online.
Recently, the conversation has been growing around protecting children from online exploitation. With the partnership of legislators, NCOSE hosted a symposium on Capitol Hill on this topic, bringing expert speakers to educate the staff of legislators–especially those on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Several actions have resulted, including the ideation and proposal of the EARN IT Act, a bipartisan bill proposed by Senators Graham (R-SC), Hawley (R-MO), Blumenthal (D-CT), and Feinstein (D-CA). This bill’s purpose is to give the tech industry the necessary pressure to take the online exploitation of children seriously.
“First, Big Tech said it needed special immunity from human trafficking laws. Now it says it needs immunity from laws against child pornography. Enough. It’s time to stop putting the financial interests of Big Tech above protecting kids from predators. The EARN IT Act is another way to bring today’s internet law into the 21st century,” said Senator Hawley.
The EARN IT Act effectively proposes changes to the internet that would protect children’s safety while maintaining user privacy and encryption.
We at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation recognize the importance of Internet Safety Month as a time to further awareness, education, and advocacy surrounding these issues all year long. As a part of that, we will continue to facilitate The Safeguard Alliance and support the EARN IT Act, both of which function to provide all with the right to safe digital spaces where human dignity is protected and preserved.
If you are interested in joining the Safeguard Alliance, get more information here.
To send an email to your legislator about your support of the EARN IT Act, use this one-click form to do so.