Parenting the Net Generation - Preview Version
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Parenting the Net Generation - Preview Version



Designed for community leaders, Parenting the Net Generation addresses family interests and concerns on issues that arise when young people go online. The workshop touches briefly on many key Internet ...

Designed for community leaders, Parenting the Net Generation addresses family interests and concerns on issues that arise when young people go online. The workshop touches briefly on many key Internet issues including safety, privacy, marketing, ethics and cyberbullying, and evaluation of online information.



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  • Notes to presenter: This workshop was not designed to be used with young people. The Parenting the Net Generation Workshop Guide includes a series of handouts that should be distributed to participants before you begin. The Webography handout includes the addresses of all the sites referred to in this presentation. (The addresses were current as of May 2009.) We strongly recommend that you visit these sites to increase your knowledge of the issues presented. Arrows ( ►) indicate when to click the mouse to make text or images appear on the screen. ► (Next Slide)
  • Welcome! The slide presentation you’re about to see has been created by the Media Awareness Network. ► The Media Awareness Network (MNet) is a Canadian, non-profit centre for media literacy . MNet’s vision is to ensure that children and youth possess the necessary critical-thinking skills and tools to understand and actively engage with media. MNet hosts one of Canada’s largest education Web sites, which contains hundreds of free media literacy resources, in English and in French, for teachers, students, parents and researchers. ► (Next Slide)
  • In the Parenting the Net Generation presentation we will: ► Start with a brief overview of kids’ online activities . Look at a number of issues, including: ► safety – including interactivity, cyberbullying and exposure to inappropriate material; ► online marketing – how marketers build brand loyalty and the collection of personal data; and ► credibility of online information – teaching kids to question what they read online. ► Finally, we’ll explore strategies for ensuring safe, wise and responsible Internet use in the home. ► (Next slide)
  • What is media education and why do kids need it? Many Canadian children spend more time interacting with media than attending school. ► So in order to be literate today, young people must be able to bring critical thinking skills to information in many different forms, including: television, video games, movies, music, magazines, advertising and the Internet. And media education is the essential tool to help kids acquire these skills. Media literacy is becoming even more important as young people increasingly turn to the Internet for their information, communications and entertainment. ► (Next slide)
  • Today’s young Canadians are among the most wired in the world. According to a 2009 study: 1 ► Fifty-two per cent of teens and 27 per cent of tweens have computers in their bedrooms. ► On average, tweens are online two hours a day; ► for teens, it’s three. ► One-third of youth (and over half of boys) play games online; and ► for girls, socializing is their number one use of the Internet. ► (Next Slide) ________________________________ 1 Microsoft Canada Co. and Youthography, Internet Safety Survey , 2009.
  • Kids have now completely integrated the Internet into their daily activities. For them, the Net isn’t another world, it’s simply one more space where they live their lives. ► Gone is the stereotype of the solitary computer nerd – today’s wired kid is a social one, using the Net to socialize with, and extend, real-world networks of friends and acquaintances. ► By Grade 8 the average youth is spending over an hour a day talking to friends online, and kids who spend more time online each day report feeling more confident than their peers about their abilities to make friends, tell jokes and make people laugh. ► (Next slide)
  • There are many positive ways kids are using technology, but there are also safety issues that parents need to be aware of. We’re now going to look at some of the risks associated with kids’ online activities starting with interactive environments. It’s easy to see why the social uses of the Net have overtaken almost all other online activities for young people. ► Kids are social creatures, and communication tools such as e-mail, instant messaging, blogs, chat rooms and cell phones mean that friends are accessible 24/7. ► These tools give children with different abilities a level playing field. Everyone is equal online, and for children who are shy or isolated from peers, the Internet offers a venue where they can feel comfortable interacting with others. ► Online communities can also help teens develop important social skills and values such as civic engagement. 1 ► (Next Slide) ________________________________ 1 Lenhart, Amanda, et al., Teens, Video Games and Civics, Pew Internet and American Life Project, 2008.
  • Young people no longer have to go to chat rooms to talk to other people online. Communication is now an expected part of nearly all online experiences, from social networking to online games. Not only that, young people typically communicate in more than one way at once – sending and reading Facebook updates, using micro-blogging services like Twitter , chatting with other players of online games, socializing in virtual environments like Second Life and occasionally checking their e-mail to keep in touch with their parents. ► (Next Slide)
  • One of the most popular forms of online communication is instant messaging, or IM. This is real-time communication between users who may or may not know one another. ► Most instant messaging software permits users to decide who can talk to them when they’re online, but the prestige associated with a large instant messaging contact list means that some kids have more than 100 IM friends, many of whom they’ve never met. One-third of youth reported accepting a friend request from someone they didn’t know. 1 ► Adults should regularly review kids’ contact lists to make sure they know everyone on them. ► Instant messaging software creates logs of messages received, which are then stored on your hard drive. You can view these files if you have any concerns about who your child may be instant messaging. ► (Next slide) ________________________________ 1 Microsoft Canada Co. and Youthography, Internet Safety Survey , 2009. (Note: The handouts Online Safety Tips: Instant Messaging and Tracking Kids’ Online Activities in the Workshop Guide have guidelines for using instant messaging safely.)
  • Webcams are fast becoming part and parcel of instant messaging. ► No special software is needed, just click on the button in the IM window and you automatically get video if the other user is using a camera. ► Voice over Internet services such as Skype make calling long distance easy – and free. Combined with a webcam you can have a video chat with anyone else in the world who’s also using Skype. ► (Next Slide)
  • For safety and security reasons, webcams should not be attached to computers in kids' rooms where their use can't be monitored. ► Because webcams can be easily hacked into, make sure kids always keep the camera lens cap closed or unplug the device when not in use. ► Kids should use the webcam only with people they know. ► Even when young people are using the webcam just with their friends, caution them never to do anything in front of a webcam that they wouldn't want the entire world to see (images cannot be erased and might be copied and reproduced anywhere around the world). ► (Next Slide) ________________________________ (Note: The handout Online Safety Tips: Webcams in the Workshop Guide has more details on using webcams safely.)
  • With the appearance of cell phone cameras, text messaging and “smart phones” (which can connect to the Net), the line between cell phones and the online world is nearly impossible to draw. Cell phones are one of the most important communication technologies among teens. 1 ► Almost half text so often they can write text messages blindfolded, 2 ► while others claim they would “die” without them. 3 There are a number of potential risks related to cell phone use. Camera phones can be used to invade others’ privacy or youth may be harassed or stalked through calls and text messages. ► In some cases, teens use their cell phones for “sexting” – posting or sending sexual images of themselves. 4 Usually meant for their partner’s eyes only, these photos can wind up being made public. In some cases the recipients of the images and even the teens who sent them have been charged with producing or possessing child pornography. 5 ► (Next Slide) ________________________________ 1 Harris Interactive, Keep Up If You Can: Teens Are Taking Cellular Use To New Levels , Trends & Tudes, January 2009. 2 Ibid. 3 Ibid. 4 National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, Sex and Tech , 2009. 5 Zimmer, Russ, Law didn't anticipate cell phone photo case , Newark Advocate, October 8, 2008.
  • Because adolescence is a time when young people are experimenting with their developing identities, the Internet offers an anonymous forum where kids try on different personalities and explore their sexuality away from adult supervision. ► Almost 60 per cent of Canadian students pretend to be someone else online. 1 ► More than one-quarter do so because they want to see what it would be like to be older. 2 ► Twenty-three per cent want to flirt with older people. 3 ► (Next slide) ________________________________ 1 Media Awareness Network, Young Canadians In A Wired World , 2005. 2 Ibid. 3 Ibid.
  • Kids also explore and experiment with their identity through profiles on social networking sites such as Facebook , MySpace or Bebo . These sites allow users to create customized profiles that contain photos, detailed personal information and blog-style diary entries. Kids use the sites to keep in touch with friends, meet new ones and join communities of people with similar interests. ► Twitter is a social networking site that is send-only: users sign up to “follow” other users, and receive short posts called “tweets” that may be random thoughts or instant updates. To get followers on Twitter you need to send a lot of tweets – the more personal, the better. ► (Next Slide)
  • Kids tend to treat their profiles as private places where they can post detailed personal information. (For example, nearly half post a profile photo; and one in five provide the names of their schools, photos of their friends and family, or their e-mail addresses.) 1 Many use their spaces to explore and experiment with their sexuality, posting sexually suggestive photos and writing. ► (Next Slide) ________________________________ 1 Microsoft Canada Co. and Youthography, Internet Safety Survey , 2009.
  • For a generation raised in a celebrity-obsessed American Idol culture, these sites are attractive because they allow you to create your own celebrity. The availability of cheap digital cameras for shooting self-portraits and the ease with which users can post content on these sites are a perfect fit with young people, who are comfortable with public self-exposure and love to talk about themselves. Having thousands of so-called “friends” view your profile is a status symbol on MySpace (shown here), which has more than 50-million members world-wide. ► (Next slide)
  • Kids should be aware of several privacy concerns related to these sites: Once content is posted on the Net, you no longer have any control over it. Millions of people can download it, and it can be online in some form potentially forever. Even password-protected pages are not secure. Unless otherwise indicated, when you post something on a site, you automatically grant the site owner a licence to use the content in any way they choose… …and deleting information doesn’t mean it’s gone. Often the Terms and Conditions on these sites state that they retain ownership of archived content – whether or not it’s still there. Kids could be jeopardizing their future if they aren’t careful about what they post. Five years from now an embarrassing photo or blog entry could come back to haunt a young person when he or she applies to university, for a scholarship, or for a job. ► (Next Slide)
  • Facebook encourages users to post a wide variety of personal content on their profiles, such as : ► pictures, name, hometown and date of birth ► e-mail and current address, and personal details including school, interests and favourite things. Facebook users belong to “networks” within the site. Networks can include geographic locations, schools and places of work. For example, the Ottawa network has over 300,000 members, who can potentially access all your information if you’ve joined 1 . The site offers extensive privacy setting options that young people should be made aware of. ► Users access their security settings by clicking on the “privacy” link in the top right hand corner of their profile page. ► (Next Slide) ________________________________________________________ 1 Lin, William, Virtually popular: Ottawa Facebook network boasts 263,000 users , The Ottawa Citizen, January 4, 2008. (Note: For more information, consult the handout Protecting Your Privacy On Facebook , included in the Workshop Guide .)
  • Facebook allows users to "tag" photos. This means you can identify the ► people in photos you post and link to their profiles from the image. ► Tagged photos of you from other people’s pages will become part of your profile unless you enable the ► “Only me” privacy setting for these. If you want a photo taken down from someone else's page you will have to ask the member who posted it to remove it. F acebook states that it cannot make people remove photos that don’t violate its Terms of Use policy. It’s possible to “de-tag” photos, but you can only do this after it is posted, once you become aware of it. In the time in between, dozens or even hundreds of people may have seen it. Also, there’s nothing preventing another user from re-tagging the photo with your name. ► (Next slide)
  • Social networking sites are mostly restricted to users 13 and older, but one study found that kids as young as eight use them routinely. 1 Most often, though, preteens socialize through virtual worlds – graphic environments that look like games. Virtual worlds popular with kids include Neopets and ► Club Penguin . These sites are popular with parents, as well. Club Penguin , which has restrictions on abusive language and mechanisms to prevent kids from giving up private information, has been praised as a safe space for kids to socialize online. They can also opt for a “safe server” that only allows users to speak in pre-programmed sentences. ► However, users have developed ways to work around these measures such as saying just one word of an insult at a time or using dots to represent numbers (such as your age.) 2 And you can still be mean without using abusive language. ► In addition, safe chat functions can be disabled, with instructions for doing so easily available online. ► (Next Slide) ________________________________ 1 Carvel, John, Facebook: Children evade social networks' age limits , The Guardian, August 7, 2008 2 Collier, Anne, Top 8 workarounds of virtual world users , NetFamilyNews, July 18, 2008.
  • Posting personal information and intimate details about their lives can leave some young people vulnerable to predators who troll social networking sites and chat rooms. Some kids report feeling more comfortable revealing insecurities and problems to a stranger in an anonymous environment than confiding in family or friends, so relationships of trust can build quickly online. There is a lot of public concern around the issue of online sexual exploitation. In order to protect kids, we need to understand who is really at risk and why. ► Research shows that adults who try to establish sexual relationships with youth online rarely misrepresent their age or their motives. 1 ► In addition, young children are at much lower risk of online predation than older youth. Those who face the most danger are young teens, ages 13-15, who are involved in high-risk behaviours, including talking with strangers online; flirting or speaking about sex with strangers; and posting intimate information in open Web environments such as social networking sites. 2 ► Recent research that asked youth about all cases of sexual solicitation (not just those reported to the police) has shown that few of the solicitations received by youth – less than ten per cent – were from adults over 21: most were from people nearer in age. 3 ► (Next Slide) _____________________________________ 1 Wolak, Janis, David Finkelhor, and Kimberly Mitchell. Online Predators and Their Victims: Myths, Realities and Implications for Prevention, American Psychologist, February/March 2009. 2 Ibid. 3 The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, Enhancing Child Safety & Online Technologies: Final Report of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force , December 2008.
  • Another risk of online communication is exposure to bullying and sexual harassment – commonly referred to as “cyberbullying.” Cyberbullying can be more devastating than real world bullying because the ► child who is being victimized often doesn’t know who’s doing the harassing and ► many people can covertly witness or join in the bullying. ► (Next Slide)
  • How pervasive is cyberbullying? Here are some statistics which illustrate the scale of the problem: ► half of young people report having been targets of cyberbullying. 1 ► They say they have been targeted because of their appearance, their ability or their sexual orientation. 2 The problem is growing: in 2008 ► 81 per cent of young people said that cyberbullying had increased over the past year. 3 ► (Next Slide) ________________________________ 1 Mishna, F. and R. McFadden, Cyber Bullying Survey: School Summary Report , Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, March 2009. 2 Shariff, S., Cyber-Bullying: Issues and solutions for the school, the classroom and the home , New York, Routledge, 2008. 3 Ibid.
  • The Internet can influence unethical behaviour because: “Technology doesn’t provide tangible feedback about the consequences of actions on others”. 1 ► The lack of non-verbal visual cues in the non-physical world of the Internet makes it difficult for young people to gauge how their actions are being received by others. When people can’t perceive the effect of their actions on others, it’s difficult for them to feel empathy for others. ► Anti-bullying programs that focus on building empathy in youth have been shown to be very successful in promoting pro-social behaviour and respectful relationships. ► (Next Slide) ________________________________ 1 Willard, Nancy, What is Right and What is Wrong? How can we help young people use information and communication technologies in an ethical manner? , presented at National Conference on Cyberethics , University of Oregon , Eugene, Oregon, October 2000.
  • On the Internet, you can’t see others; and others can’t see you – which makes it easier for perpetrators to remain anonymous. 1 This distinction is extremely important because it means that the Internet makes it possible for anyone to be a bully. ► The Internet permits young people to post or send harassing messages anonymously and then distance themselves from their actions, confident they won’t be caught. If a person can’t be identified with an action, then feelings of accountability are diminished. In reality, however, young people may not be as anonymous as they believe themselves to be. ► For example, in a study of over 2000 students in Grades 6 and 7 two-thirds of those who reported having been cyberbullied knew who was bullying them. 2 ► (Next Slide) ________________________________ 1 Willard, Nancy, What is Right and What is Wrong? How can we help young people use information and communication technologies in an ethical manner?, Presented at the National Conference on Cyberethics, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, October 2000. 2 Mishna, F., Cyber Bullying Among Middle and High School Students, Presented at Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario Forum, Youth Privacy Online: Take Control, Make It Your Choice, Toronto, March 2008.

Parenting the Net Generation - Preview Version Parenting the Net Generation - Preview Version Presentation Transcript

  • Vision: To ensure children and youth possess the necessary critical thinking skills and tools to understand and actively engage with media
  • Parenting the Net Generation Presentation
    • Kids’ Online Activities
    • Safety Issues
    • Online Marketing
    • Credibility of Online Information
    • Strategies for Safe, Wise and Responsible Use
    • Kids need to bring critical thinking to all information, including: television, movies, video games, music, magazines, advertising and the Internet
    What is media education and why do y oung people need it?
  • Young Canadians are a highly-connected generation:
    • half of teens have computers in their bedrooms
    • tweens use the Internet for two hours daily
    • teens use it for three hours
    • one-third of youth play games online
    • two-thirds of girls use the Internet primarily for socializing
  • The Internet is not another world – it’s just another space where kids live their daily lives Today’s wired kid is a social one, connecting with friends and making new ones Kids who spend more time online are more confident about their social abilities
    • Friends are always accessible through e-mail, instant messaging, blogs, chat rooms and cell phones
    • Everyone is equal on the Internet: children who are shy can develop relationships with peers online
    • Online communities encourage the development of real-world social skills and values
    Safety Issues
    • Most IM software allows kids to block people they don’t know
    • Review contact lists for strangers
    • Use the “Keep a history of my conversations” option
    • Webcams often come built in to computers
    • Stand-alone webcams can cost as little as $20
    • Skype allows users to call any other Skype user in the world for free
    • Keep webcams out of kids’ rooms
    • Kids should:
    • close the lens cap or turn camera off when not in use
    • never use a webcam with strangers
    • never do anything they wouldn’t want the entire world to see
    • 45% of teens say a cell phone is essential to their daily lives
    • 42% say they can write text messages blindfolded
    • 40% say they would die without their cell phones
    • 20% say they have sent or posted nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves (“sexting”)
    • 59% of kids pretend to be someone else online
    • 28% do so because they want to see what it would be like to be older
    • 23% want to flirt with older people
    Kids use the Internet to experiment with their identity:
  • Creating Identities on Social Networking Sites
    • On sites like MySpace, status comes from having thousands of “friends” view your profile
  • Virtual Worlds
    • online predators rarely misrepresent their age or their motives
    • youth, 13-15, involved in risky behaviours (talking with strangers, flirting, posting intimate information) are most at risk
    • majority of solicitations received from other youth (under 21)
    Research on online predation shows:
  • Impact of cyberbullying can be more devastating than real-world bullying:
    • the person often doesn’t know who is bullying them
    • many people can covertly witness and join in the bullying
    • half of students report being bullied online (University of Toronto, 2008)
    • reasons for being harassed online include physical appearance, ability and/or sexual orientation (Shariff, 2008)
    • 81% report that cyberbullying has become worse since the previous year (Shariff, 2008)
    Prevalence of cyberbullying among students:
  • “ Technology doesn’t provide tangible feedback about the consequences of actions on others.” (Willard, 2000)
    • The lack of non-verbal visual cues makes it difficult to gauge how actions are being received by others
    • Building empathy is key to promoting pro-social behaviours in youth
  • “ Technology allows us to be invisible or anonymous.” (Willard, 2000)
    • If a person can’t be identified with an action, then feelings of accountability are diminished
    • 68 % of students in Grades 6 and 7 who have been cyberbullied know the identity of the perpetrator (University of Toronto, 2008)
  • © 2009 Media Awareness Network For more information on licensing the full workshop contact: Media Awareness Network 1-800-896-3342 [email_address] This workshop preview has been produced by