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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release July 16, 1997

Statement by Vice President Al Gore

We are here today so we can begin the important work of making the Internet family friendly.

President Clinton and I just came from an extremely productive meeting with industry leaders, parent and teacher groups, child advocacy groups, librarians, and Internet users. It was a diverse group with different views -- but we all agreed on the same thing and walked away with a common mission.

We agreed that the Internet has astonishing power -- that it is truly revolutionizing how, and how much, our children learn. But we also agreed that, in addition to its great educational value, there is a lot of material on the Internet that just isn't fit for kids.

We all recognized that we must do something about that -- we must all take responsibility in harnessing new technologies in the service of our oldest values.

President Clinton will make some exciting announcements on how we can give parents not just a tool, but a virtual tool box, to help them screen out inappropriate material and steer them to the positive wonders of the Internet.

But before he does, let me say a word about the promising new technologies that are already available to help parents stop the dirt at the digital door.

One technology gives Internet publishers and outside groups the ability to add smart labels to the content of Internet sites -- labels that can contain the kind of information parents need. Parents then use a piece of software that can read these labels automatically, and act on the information. I guess you can call it a seat belt for children traveling on the Information Superhighway. Our challenge is to make these blocking technologies and the accompanying rating systems as common as the computers themselves.

Also, parents must know what tools are available in the virtual toolbox -- and how to use the tools once they have them.

Today we take a step in that direction, too.

I am pleased to announce that the Center for Democracy and Technology and other non-profit organizations have developed NetParents -- a user-friendly web site for Mom and Dad.

By logging on to -- -- parents can get the information on the blocking software that meets their family's concerns. They can find out which Internet Software Providers offer this software for free or at low cost. And they can get the tips they need to make sure that the Internet is family friendly in their household.

I'd like to thank the groups who came together to create this web site -- as well as all the groups who have come here today on behalf of our children. I do not want to underestimate the work we still have to do. We need to keep moving forward. We need to keep bringing public values and private actions together. And that will take tremendous vigilance from all of us.

But today is a great step forward. And if our meeting was any indication, I have no doubt we will succeed.