Press Releases

Wexton Launches Congressional Task Force on Digital Citizenship

Washington, DC -- Today, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton announced the launch of the Congressional Task Force on Digital Citizenship. Wexton’s task force will seek to promote policies that encourage good digital citizenship, which is the responsible use of technology when engaging with society, while providing a new forum to offer resources for families and begin an ongoing discussion on healthy and responsible online behavior. 

“Our children and families are spending more time online than ever before as they navigate an increasingly digital world -- Congress needs to keep pace,” said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. “This task force will assemble experts, stakeholders, and leaders to advance policies that promote the responsible use of technology. Good digital citizenship means keeping our kids safe online, understanding how to spot misinformation and disinformation, better mental health outcomes, and a more educated citizenry, all of which ultimately strengthen our democracy.”

"Teachers and parents have faced the challenge of helping children navigate the digital landscape for years and the COVID-19 pandemic has taken that challenge to an entirely new level. Our digital terrain is fraught with hate speech, cyberbullying, misinformation, and constant digital distraction. With kids on screens now more than ever, they need the critical thinking skills to help them make smart decisions," said Ellen Pack, president of Common Sense. "Common Sense’s Digital Citizenship Curriculum is designed to help students develop the necessary skills to participate fully in their communities and make smart choices online and in life. It is currently used by over 1 million educators in all 50 US states. We look forward to working with the task force to make sure every child in America has access to these lessons that will set them up for success online, at home, and in school."

With technology and online engagement becoming increasingly integrated in our daily lives, so has the need to develop the skills and knowledge to navigate the digital world. The internet offers us new and unique ways to engage with our global society, but it also can be a popular place for scams and misinformation, a platform for cyberbullies, an avenue for foreign adversaries to manipulate our democracy, and a breeding ground for hate speech and extremism.

The task force will bring together policy makers, non-profits, and businesses that are focused on the subject of digital citizenship to share resources and collaborate on best practices. It will also facilitate discussions with state and local education agencies, as well as educators, parents, and students, about integrating digital citizenship into classrooms. Topics that the task force will focus on include identifying misinformation and disinformation online and on social media, finding a healthy balance between being online and offline, understanding online threats and scams, combatting online extremism, teaching children ways to stay safe from online predators, and other topics related to digital footprint, cyberbullying, privacy, and well-being.

As families are spending more time online as a result of distance learning and expanded telework, good digital citizenship has become even more important. Wexton recently hosted a virtual roundtable discussion for families, focused on the topic of digital citizenship. Wexton and panelists led a discussion on how to sift through misinformation, adapt to online learning, and maintain healthy online behaviors. The full roundtable can be viewed on Wexton’s Facebook page here.

As a member of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, Wexton has prioritized legislative efforts to protect Americans from disinformation online. Congresswoman Wexton introduced legislation to incentivize new research into technology that would detect deepfakes and authored an amendment to help improve the public’s understanding and detection of deepfakes. During a Financial Services Committee hearing, Wexton also pressed Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the platform’s disinformation policies.

Wexton has launched a Congressional Task Force on Digital Citizenship webpage on her official website, which includes tips and resources for practicing good digital citizenship, particularly during COVID-19, and can be found here

The founding members of the Congressional Task Force on Digital Citizenship are policy leaders on issues of focus for the task force, including data privacy, technology and media, artificial intelligence, and combating online extremism and misinformation, and include senior Members of Congress as well as several Chairs of relevant subcommittees.

Wexton is joined in founding the Congressional Task Force on Digital Citizenship by her colleagues Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Bill Foster (D-IL), Bill Keating (D-MA), Ben McAdams (D-UT), and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA).