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Date: October 2nd, 2008
Submitted By: CoSN and ISTE   -   Web Site: www.cosn.org

Internet Safety Education Legislation

Washington, DC (October 2, 2008) - The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) are extremely pleased that Congress yesterday passed, as part of S. 1492, an update to the Children's Internet Protection Act which requires schools participating in the E-Rate program to educate students regarding appropriate behavior on social networking and chat room sites and about cyberbullying. ISTE and CoSN have advocated for this approach for many years and we are pleased that Congress has now ratified our position. Education, not mandatory blocking and filtering, is the best way to protect and prepare America's students.

We must single out for particular praise today Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Co-Chairman Ted Stevens (R-AK) for introducing the Internet safety education language in separate legislation and working tirelessly to ensure its inclusion in S. 1492. We also appreciate the efforts of Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-IN), who introduced the very same language on the House side.

Both CoSN and ISTE believe that the Internet contains valuable content, collaboration and communication opportunities that can and do materially contribute to a student's academic growth and preparation for the workforce. However, we recognize that students need to learn how to avoid inappropriate content and unwanted contacts from strangers while online. In our view, educating students on how to keep themselves safe while online is the best line of defense because no technological silver bullet has yet been devised that will guarantee that students are effectively protected. Therefore, we embrace wholeheartedly the thoughtful approach that S. 1492 takes, particularly the flexibility that it affords districts on determining how best to educate students about staying safe online.

Congress' passage of S. 1492 represents real progress in the area of Internet safety and we urge President Bush to sign it into law.

To learn more about the organizations, visit www.cosn.org and www.iste.org.