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NTIA joins Stanford University to advance kids’ online safety

March 13, 2024
News Media Contact
NTIA, Office of Public Affairs

WASHINGTON – Today, officials from the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) are joining leaders from across government, industry, academia and youth advocacy organizations for a full-day discussion on advancing the health, safety and privacy of young people online.

Hosted by Stanford University, this listening session in part focuses on industry’s role in improving the experience of kids online, including effective technology and design interventions to support health, safety and privacy.

“Today’s Internet services are failing America’s youth. We need innovative minds here in Silicon Valley to challenge the status quo and chart a course for an Internet where young people can truly thrive” said Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator. “These listening sessions will identify concrete solutions that can make a meaningful impact on families and inform our work on kids’ safety online.”

Davidson, who is delivering opening remarks at the event, co-chairs the White House Kids Online Health and Safety Task Force with Dr. Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the leader of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Delphin-Rittmon also is giving opening remarks.

“Protecting children from potential harms online requires efforts and collaboration across government and in partnership with industry and others who are invested in this work,” said Dr. Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the leader of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  “I’m eager to apply the recommendations from the listening session to our efforts in supporting and protecting the mental health of young people.”

This is the second Principal listening session for the Task Force, following a White House-hosted session in January. Government representatives at the Stanford event include:

  • Deirdre Mulligan, Principal Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer and National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Office (NAIIO) Director
  • Ross Goldman, Senior Policy and Appellate Counsel, Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Department of Justice
  • Kevin Stine, Director, Information Technology Lab, NIST
  • Dr. Atul Nakhasi, Director of Science and Policy, Office of the Surgeon General

The discussions today include one-on-one conversations between Davidson and Charlotte Willner, the Executive Director of the Trust and Safety Professional Association, and Delphin-Rittmon and Jeff Hancock, Faculty Director of Stanford Internet Observatory and Stanford Social Media Lab.

More than 100 participants, including young people, tech company representatives, and advocacy groups, are joining other panel discussions and workshops. Topics include:

  • Youth Voices for a Better Online Experience
  • Promoting Youth Online Safety & Well-being
  • Safety by Design: Empowering and Protecting Young Users.

The Task Force is charged with reviewing the status of existing industry efforts and technologies to promote the health and safety of children and teenagers vis-à-vis their online activities, and reviewing and compiling best practices to assist parents and guardians in protecting the privacy, health and safety of their children who use online platforms. 

This spring, the Task Force will develop voluntary guidance, policy recommendations, and a toolkit on safety-, health- and privacy-by-design for industry developing digital products and services. The Task Force will also develop a research agenda regarding online harms and health benefits to minors.


About the National Telecommunications and Information Administration  

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is the Executive Branch agency that advises the President on telecommunications and information policy issues. NTIA’s programs and policymaking focus largely on expanding broadband Internet access and adoption in America, expanding the use of spectrum by all users, advancing public safety communications, and ensuring that the Internet remains an engine for innovation and economic growth.