On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously declared that parts of the
Communications Decency Act (CDA) are unconstitutional. With this important
decision, the court awarded our emerging medium the same independence and
freedom from government interference that we take for granted with
newspapers, books and other printed materials.
Just as importantly, the Court emphasized what we have been saying at AOL
for years -- that the right way to ensure that children are safe online is
to give parents easy to use and effective tools, make those tools widely
available, educate the public on how to use them, and enforce the laws that
are already on the books.
AOL has been a pioneer in developing these "parental control" tools and
making them free, easy to use, and effective. We continue to improve the
functionality to give you, as parents, more control; now you can adjust the
tools for different levels of restricted access to features and functions,
based on children's ages and individual choice.
But the tools are only useful if they are used, so in addition to enhancing
them, over the past year we've stepped up our efforts to educate members
about them and to encourage parents to use them. As a result, more than a
quarter of AOL households with young children are already using Parental
Controls. But we want every family to use them.
We argued that parental empowerment was the right approach, and we are
pleased that the Supreme Court backed us. But that doesn't mean we're
declaring victory. There is a lot of material on the Internet that we, too,
believe kids shouldn't have access to -- so we don't have our head in the
sand, and you shouldn't either. We need to work together to meet this
responsibility. Our responsibility is to continue making Parental Controls
even better, even easier, and even more widely used. And we urge you to
join this important effort by learning about and using these tools. Please
go to keyword Parental Controls right now (accessed only from your master
screen name), and set them up for your family. It only takes a few minutes!
For more than a decade, we've been working to build a new medium that can
improve people's lives, by improving the way people get information,
communicate with others, buy products and learn new things. We have made
great strides, and yesterday's Supreme Court decision paves the way for
continued innovation and growth. Parental control tools are a critical
component of the solution, but there are other components as well, and in
the months ahead we will be working harder than ever to make sure the
online medium is safe and rewarding for everyone, especially children.
Your password is pitifully obvious.
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