About Us

Based in Washington D.C., the Family Online Safety Institute's primary objective is to find innovative solutions for family online safety. Advocating a balanced approach with greater parental involvement and empowerment, comprehensive industry self-regulation and reasonable government oversight and support, the Institute provides a unique forum for thought leaders to exchange information, develop ideas and refine solutions.

The Institute incorporates the work and mission of the Internet Content Rating Association, the world's leading content labelling system for the Internet, providing families with the tools they need to protect their children while ensuring the continued free expression of content providers. In addition to this technological side to the Institute, FOSI also utilizes events, public policy and education to address the challenge of family online safety.

FOSI's work includes:

Through its conferences, seminars and roundtable events, the Institute provides a unique forum for thought leaders to:

What kind of work are we involved in now?

State of the Online Safety Report 2008 - to be released and launched December 2007

This will be an annual publication that describes the current state of online safety in five major countries. The areas to be considered include:

There will also be a section to consider future trends in these three areas in the five countries chosen. These will be: US, Canada, UK, Germany and Australia. In addition, there will be a section on news and trends from a number of other countries.

This report will be presented at the annual FOSI conference to be held in December each year. It will also be available online and continuously updated, critiqued and debated on the FOSI website.

It will provide an annual snapshot of what exists across the three sectors of government, industry and the non-profit sectors and across many parts of the world. In future years, more countries will be added as more funds are raised.

Technology-based activities

FOSI is leading the development of new technology standards and methods. It chairs the W3C Protocol for Web Description Resources (POWDER) Working Group, is a key member of the QUATRO project and is developing new data-based services under the ICRA brand.

The Online Safety Education Research Project - US

It's widely accepted that in addition to filtering technology, we need more online safety education to reach parents and children alike. What is also acknowledged is that there is a wide range of approaches, messages, curricula and safety tips out there, with little or no evaluation of their effectiveness or relevance in our Web 2.0 world. This project, the first to be undertaken by the Family Online Safety Institute, will do a stock-take of what currently exists, what impact these programmes and messages actually have and synthesize the very best messages and approaches and present these at our annual conference in December.

With the onset of convergence and the explosion of new types of digital content devices and new meeting places online, such as social-networking-sites, the need for a new kind of approach to the issue of online safety is essential.

This project will address the growing concerns of parents and teachers alike about harmful content and harmful contact that children are increasingly exposed to online. It is our hope that with a combination of tools and rules, children will be both better protected and made more aware of the many potential dangers on the internet.

(The Online Safety Education Research Project will be completed pending grant confirmation).


A good place to start looking for up to date information is the diary, but there are also dedicated pages concerning FOSI's projects and forthcoming events.

The Family Online Safety Institute
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