COLUMBIA, S.C. — Governor Henry McMaster held a press conference Wednesday morning where he introduced the first-ever Children’s Internet Safety Governor's Pledge.
This pledge is designed to make the internet a safer place for children and will enforce existing laws that keep children safe from sexual exploitation.
The pledge is modeled after the presidential internet safety pledge, “Enough is Enough.” This pledge was signed by President Donald Trump and endorsed by Hillary Clinton.
“We know that children are our most important asset, we must do everything we can to keep them safe,” said the S.C. governor. “The problem with internet crime and attacks on children and sex trafficking and all of those things are part of a picture not only in our country but around the world.”
"We are taking the lead in the country to raise the awareness, consolidate all of our power, determined what other things we can do that we have not yet done, and we will do them all because there is nothing more important than a safe and happy environment for our children to grow and become citizens,” said Gov. McMaster.
Attorney General Alan Wilson also signed a pledge mirroring McMaster's and is partnering with the governor to reach out to other state attorney generals and encourage other states to join the pledge.
During the press conference, Enough is Enough CEO Donna Hughes called for better regulations and calling South Carolina the “model state” for these changes.
“Defending the dignity and safety of our children in the digital world must be done on a global, national and state-wide basis, as well as home by home, school by school, and business by business,” said Hughes.
Hughes says the United States is #2 in the world in hosting child porn websites and is a top consumer of this content.
South Carolina joins 13 other states who passed state resolutions declaring pornography a public health crisis.
Gov. McMaster was also joined by State Rep. Beth Bernstein and Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, who are backing his efforts.
The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program of South Carolina gave the following tips for internet safety:
- Establish an ongoing dialogue and keep lines of communication open
- Don’t be overly critical of your child’s use of the internet
- Explore the Internet together as a family
- Talk to your child about the risks of meeting “online friends” in person
- Create online rules with together with your family
- Talk to your child about sharing personal information
- Educate yourself about technology and the internet
- Take advantage of Privacy Settings on all Websites and Apps
- Address Cyberbullying with your child
- Be a Good Digital Role Model