September 28, 2016
The Hill: Trump and Clinton voice bipartisan support to protect children online
Back to school season this year notably also marks the 25th anniversary of the internet. And though the internet is widely used and enjoyed as a culturally transformative technology, it can also be misused for unspeakable evil and devastating harm to children.
In the years since sexual predators and the truly depraved began posting black market images of child porn and extreme obscenity online and conversing in chat rooms about how to molest children during the early 1990s, both types of illegal content have continued to explode onto the internet. Disturbingly, sexual predators have only continued to find new ways of avoiding law enforcement detection while continuing their internet-enabled exploitation of children.
The rise of the internet has unfortunately coincided with the failure of federal law enforcement agencies to pursue violations of obscenity laws and adequately resource child pornography, sexual predation and trafficking investigations and prosecutions. The results have been devastating. With respect to dangerous content, for the past two decades, young people have had free and easy access to a steady diet online content that has put them at even greater risk from sexual predators.
But the rising threat to our children has not come without a fight. And for the first time in our nation’s history, both the Republican and Democratic Presidential nominees have now committed their support in writing to address this issue.
Donna Rice Hughes is an internet safety pioneer, author, and speaker and currently serves as the CEO and president of Enough Is Enough®, a non-profit organization committed making the internet safer for children and families. She also served as a Commissioner on the Child Online Protection Commission.