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Congress Passes Senator Stevens' Legislation Protecting Children from Online Predators

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Congress Passes Senator Stevens' Legislation Protecting Children from Online Predators
Efforts of Senators Stevens and Inouye Lauded by Alaska Law Enforcement and National PTA

Congress approved last night the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act, which was authored by Senators Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii). The bill brings parents, industry leaders, and educators together to address comprehensive online safety education for children. The President is expected to sign this bill into law.

"This legislation will strengthen parental controls and increase the safety of children when they surf the web without infringing on First Amendment rights," said Senator Stevens. "It is important to work together to keep children safe while they are online. Parents play a vital role in supervising their children's use of the Internet, and this bill provides safety education for our children and protection tools for parents without the federal government in Washington dictating the exact terms of access controls."

Detective Sergeant Ron Tidler of the Anchorage Police Department's Cyber Crimes Unit and Alaska Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Commander, applauded the Senator's efforts in getting the bill signed into law.

"We here on the frontlines are encouraged by the ongoing support we have received from our Congressional representation," said Detective Tidler.

The National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) also lauded the Senator's efforts in getting the bill passed.

"In their unwavering dedication to our nation's children, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye and (Senator) Ted Stevens ensured that provisions were included in the Broadband Data Improvement Act (S.1492) that will aid in efforts to increase public awareness and education on Internet safety, protecting children from cybercrimes, and helping parents shield their children from material that is inappropriate for minors," wrote the National PTA in a statement issued today. "As the nation's largest volunteer child advocacy organization, representing millions of parents, teachers, students, and other child advocates, PTA believes that teaching our students about staying safe online offers the best protection to them."

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, one in seven children (10 to 17-years-old) online have received a sexual solicitation or approach over the Internet.

The Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act was included in S. 1492, the Broadband Data Improvement Act. It includes the following provisions:

* schools receiving E-Rate funds will be required to offer education regarding online behavior, including social networking, chat rooms and cyberbullying awareness and response;
* an interagency working group will be created to identify and encourage technologies and initiatives to help parents protect their children from unwanted content; and
* a national public awareness campaign will be conducted by the Federal Trade Commission.

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