OU Welcomes Senate Measure Spurring Internet Providers to Give Filtering Software to Parents

Posted on May 18, 1999 In Press Releases

Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, through its Institute for Public Affairs, called upon the U.S. Senate to approve an amendment offered to the Juvenile Justice legislation that will require internet service providers to offer their customers “content filtering software.” This software could be used by parents to prevent their children from accessing material that the parent/customer considers unsuitable.

The amendment would require large internet service providers to give customers the filtering software for free or at cost in the event that the Federal Trade Commission determines within one year that less than 75% of customers of such services are not being provided with such software by the service providers. This amendment was offered by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

Nathan Diament, director of the Institute, issued the following statement in connection with the amendment’s introduction:

The internet is one of the great resources of our era. However, it contains pitfalls as well as pluses. One of the greatest dangers of the internet is the possibility of young children be just “a click away” from deeply harmful and offensive images and messages.

We must give parents every tool they can use to protect their children and guide their growth and development. Content filtering software is one such tool and it must be made widely available. Asking internet service providers to give parents this tool is asking them, in essence, to be good and responsible citizens. Our community hopes the Senate will pass this measure.

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, has been actively involved in initiatives to assist parents in guiding their children’s media message exposure and is home of one of the most active Jewish-content internet sites at www.ou.org.