COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster, First Lady Peggy McMaster, and Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette were joined today by representatives from Enough Is Enough (EIE), Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, Representative Beth Bernstein, and representatives from Attorney General Alan Wilson’s office to announce the first ever “Children’s Internet Safety Governor’s Pledge.”
“Internet safety is one of our biggest concerns when it comes to protecting the health and well-being of our children,” said Governor McMaster. “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.”
Enough Is Enough is a national non-profit organization dedicated to making the Internet safer for children and families.
“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 Donna Rice Hughes, President and CEO of Enough Is Enough. “Governor McMaster’s steadfast leadership and dedication to issues that threaten the dignity of children on the ever-evolving Internet is critical. We’re optimistic governors from across the nation will follow his lead to protect and defend child safety online. 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 commitments will be circulated by Governor McMaster to the governors of all fifty states and U.S. territories, and will call on governors to:
- 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 Governor’s Pledge is modeled after the historic bipartisan “Children’s Internet Safety Presidential Pledge,” authored by EIE and signed by President Donald Trump when he was a candidate for office.