COLUMBIA, SC (WBTW) – South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed the first “Children’s Internet Safety Governor’s Pledge” on Wednesday.
Gov. McMaster, SC First Lady Peggy McMaster, Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette, Rep. Beth Bernstein, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, representatives from non-profit organization Enough is Enough, and representatives from Attorney General Alan Wilson’s office announced the pledge, according to a press release.
“Internet safety is one of our biggest concerns when it comes to protecting the health and well-being of our children,” Gov. McMaster said. “Despite years of efforts, the increasing use of the Internet has enabled offenders to reach and abuse children online, and in many cases, avoid detection. This pledge shows that Team South Carolina is committed to redoubling our efforts to protect our young people and vulnerable adults.”
“I am encouraged that South Carolina, my home state, will become the model state under the inspired leadership of Governor McMaster to bring all the stakeholders together to unite against the scourges that are corroding childhood, destroying families and coarsening our culture,” said Enought is Enought President and CEO Donna Rice Hughes. ” Preventing the sexual exploitation of youth online requires a multi-faceted holistic strategy with a shared responsibility between the public, industry, and government. We must not let one more day pass at the expense of the innocence and dignity of our children without tackling the rampant exploitation and dangers children face on the Internet head on.”
The pledge will be sent by Gov. McMaster to governors in all 50 states and United States territories. It will ask governors to do the following:
- “Ensure the aggressive enforcement of existing state laws to prevent the sexual exploitation of children online, including the state obscenity laws, child pornography laws, sexual predation laws and the human trafficking laws,
- Advance public policies preventing the sexual exploitation of its most vulnerable citizens
- Examine the harmful public health impact of Internet pornography on youth and the interconnection of human trafficking, child pornography and Internet crimes against children, and
- Encourage public-private partnerships with businesses and institutions operating in South Carolina to update corporate policies and viable technology tools and solutions to reduce the threat of Internet-enabled sexual exploitation of children, including the adoption of a Safe WiFi policy to voluntarily filter child pornography and pornography on public WiFi networks.”
The full pledge can be read here.