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the developmental needs and milestones of children. Existing research on the cognitive, social, emotional, and moral development of young people represents a great resource that could be used to create educational and stimulating Internet content, serving both to meet the developmental needs of young people and prevent them from encountering inappropriate material by offering enticing and beneficial alternatives.
Workshop participants noted in particular that increasing the amount and availability of online, educational content addressing healthy sexuality and sexual health would be of particular benefit to young people for those times when they turn to the media for answers to questions about sexuality that they do not or are unwilling to ask adults. Currently, the amount of sexual health information is limited, especially in light of the vast amount of pornography and other sexually explicit material online. Balancing these ratios could be very helpful to young people.
In addition to creating age appropriate Internet content, developmental psychology can also be used to generate programs to educate young users about Internet use and the media. The workshop featured several examples of age and developmentally appropriate educational programs, for example, the Wisconsin schools' Internet-related educational objectives that students had to meet by the end of certain years, and teach such skills as effective searching and how to evaluate online content for truthfulness and validity.
Media and information literacy were identified by virtually every speaker as having great potential for protecting children from a wide range of inappropriate material. Information literacy can prevent young people from accidentally coming in contact with inappropriate content by teaching them how to find information effectively and to recognize a problematic web site or email before viewing it. Media literacy combined with the principles of responsible netizenship and Internet safety training offers a comprehensive set of critical thinking skills to aid young people in assessing the value of Internet content and interactions with other users in order to make sound decisions about how to handle that material—be it to exit the site or report an inappropriate site, interaction, or solicitation to the Internet service provider or to decline from citing misinformation as a valid source of knowledge.
Educating parents and children on Internet safety was also emphasized, and comments converged on the need for a public awareness campaign to raise parents' awareness of the importance of talking with their children about appropriate online conduct and safety. Greater dissemina-