The Children's Internet Safety State Attorneys General Pledge to Protect Children in the Digital World

Signing Support Letter from Attorneys General Alan Wilson and Karl Racine

- PREAMBLE -

The Internet has become a powerful educational and communications tool, placing vast new worlds of knowledge in the palm of our hands. Today’s youth have fully integrated the Internet into their daily lives, using technology as a pervasive platform for education, communication, interaction, exploration, and self–expression. The Internet opens its users to a world that is reflective of contemporary human life, providing access to what is good, beneficial, and enriching, but when unrestricted, it also opens doors to what is dangerous, obscene, violent and criminal.

Children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to the impact of this broad spectrum of dangerous content and activity. Preventing the sexual exploitation of youth online requires a shared responsibility between the public, industry and government. A growing number of government commissions, task forces, scholars, and institutions have recognized the significant risks associated with unfettered Internet access by youth, and they have called upon governments, policy makers, caregivers, industry and educators to take action.

- RECITALS -

Whereas, The First Amendment is a foundational cornerstone of the Constitution. Not all written or visual material, however, is protected under the First Amendment. The United States Supreme Court has ruled there are four categories of pornography that are not entitled to full First Amendment protection, and which can be restricted or proscribed altogether. With respect to the Internet, those categories include the obscenity and child pornography laws.

Whereas, There are existing federal and state laws in place to criminalize the online sexual predation and sex trafficking of children, as well as obscene pornography and child pornography.

Whereas, Internet Safety is now the 4th top ranked issue in the list of health concerns for U.S. children and a growing public health issue. Internet pornography is is considered to be “the largest unregulated social experiment in human history”

Whereas, Despite 20 years of efforts, the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism (SECTT) has expanded across the globe and out-paced every attempt to respond at the international and national level. The increasing use of the Internet has enabled offenders to groom children online and to exchange information and advice on how to abuse children and avoid detection.

Now, therefore, Enough Is Enough® and our NGO partners representing millions of Americans, call upon Attorneys General to make a pledge to defend the innocence and dignity of America’s children by enforcing the existing state laws and advancing public policies designed to 1) prevent the sexual exploitation of children online and 2) to make the Internet safer for all.

- PLEDGE -

As the Attorney General of my state, I promise to:

1) Uphold the rule of law by aggressively enforcing existing state laws to prevent the sexual exploitation of children online, including the state obscenity laws, child pornography laws, sexual predation laws and the sex trafficking laws by:

A) ensuring that the prosecution of such laws is a top priority in my office and,
B) encouraging the state legislature to support existing efforts with new policy that will provide law enforcement with the resources and tools needed to investigate and prosecute Internet crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children.

2) Protect and defend the innocence of America’s children by advancing public policies that prevent the sexual exploitation of children in a manner that is consistent with the government’s compelling interest in protecting its most vulnerable citizens, within the limits set forth by the First Amendment.

3) Give serious consideration to supporting the appointment of a State Commission to examine the harmful public health impact of Internet pornography on youth, families and the American culture and the prevention of the sexual exploitation of children in the digital age.

4) Encourage businesses such as restaurants, stadiums, shopping malls, stores and public buildings to voluntarily filter child pornography and pornography on public WiFi networks.

The Pledge is a national initiative of Enough Is Enough®, a bi-partisan non-profit organization who has led the fight to make the Internet safer for children and families since 1994.