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Nontechnical Strategies To Reduce Children's Exposure to Inappropriate Material on the Internet: Summary of a Workshop

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2001
102 pages
This report summarizes proceedings from a workshop composed of researchers, educators, policymakers, and other key stakeholders, who met to consider and discuss nontechnical strategies for reducing children's exposure to inappropriate material on the Internet.
The workshop was organized around four topics: developmental considerations for defining inappropriate material and the effects of exposure to sexually explicit and other harmful materials; children's use patterns and experiences on the Internet; innovative approaches and existing efforts to use nontechnological strategies; and opportunities to bridge research, policy, and practice. In summarizing workshop proceedings, this report offers insight from the presenters on the strengths of nontechnical strategies, but it does not contain conclusions or recommendations; rather, it suggests that the approach or combination of approaches that best serve young people must be based on the context, needs, and manner in which they are using the Internet. In addition, this report is a distillation of the presentations of the speakers and the dialog that ensued, highlighting key issues and viewpoints that emerged from the discussions that occurred. One chapter discusses key contextual issues and challenges that policymakers, local administrators (e.g., school principals and superintendents), and parents face in choosing an approach for reducing children's exposure to inappropriate online content. Another chapter reviews three areas of research that provide a scientific basis for developing age-appropriate, nontechnical strategies as well as a guide for adults in selecting an approach that matches the maturity, Internet use patterns, and needs of the youth they supervise. This research includes information on children's cognitive, social, emotional, and moral development; research on what is known about the impact of the media on youth; and recent empirical studies of children's media use. A third chapter presents a variety of nontechnical strategies, describing these approaches and how communities might use them. This is followed by a chapter that summarizes workshop participants' ideas for how to improve and connect future research, policy, and practice. The final chapter summarizes key points and areas emphasized by workshop participants. 81 references and appended workshop materials

Date Published: January 1, 2001