Pryor Targets Technology Advancements to Expand Education Opportunities for Minorities, Protect Children from Indecency
Senator Mark Pryor today introduced two legislative proposals targeting advances in technology as a means to enhance the positive impact of the Internet and intercept the negative influence the Internet and television can have on children.
First, Pryor introduced ED 1.0 to establish a pilot program for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, as well as Hispanic and tribal institutions of higher education, to develop online courses enabling students to earn a two- or four-year degree. Pryor said his legislation calls for a pilot program for four institutions. He envisions the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Arkansas Baptist or Philander Smith as ideal candidates for this program. He said the pilot program could provide a national "lessons learned" about how to develop and implement flexible degree programs for other institutions.
"As HBCUs strive to benefit their surrounding communities, I want to help strengthen their capacity to reach out and educate as many students as possible," Pryor said. "Technology and online learning offers a new opportunity to help working parents and other potential students who simply don't have the time or resources to travel to and from class."
Second, Pryor introduced the Child Safe Viewing Act to expand parents' ability to protect their children from inappropriate scenes and language online, on television and other viewing devices. The Senator said his bill will require the Federal Communications Commission to fulfill its obligation under the 1996 Telecommunications Act to continuously review and implement blocking technology as it is developed. As part of the 1996 law, Congress required television manufacturers to embed the V-Chip within televisions to allow parents to filter some content according to a rating system. However, the FCC has failed to act since then.
"Today's technology to protect children from indecency goes above and beyond the capabilities of the V-Chip. And with over 500 channels and video streaming, parents could use a little help," Pryor said. "The time for the FCC to act on behalf of our children is now. My legislation will help make sure it happens."