Remember Web 1.0, when media “audiences” were first called users , but we were still pretty much using the Web as passive consumers, downloaders, readers – when we were interacting with content ? Many adults – including parents, government, educators, and news reporters writing about new media – still view the Web through that mass-media lens, not really basing our work on the research, not understanding how very individual media-use is, and trying to think up one-size-fits-all solutions. Consider what fear does: When adults are afraid and overreact, kids want to get as far away as possible. They don ’t want their social lives and media use restricted. They go “underground,” which is very easy; they find workarounds, are on their own, which can actually put them at greater risk. Adults need to be in the mix. The guidance and media literacy school has provided young people for generations has been left out of the equation with social media, and young people have been left one their own. Both tech literacy and life literacy, which adults bring to the table, are needed. [Last bullet:] If we don’ t base our messaging on how youth ACTUALLY USE technology, if it’s not based on the growing bodies of both youth-online-risk and social-media research, we are talking to ourselves when we talk to youth about Internet safety . http://os3.connectsafely.org
This was the mid-’ 90s, almost 2 decades ago!!... The Internet was more anonymous in 1993; there was more separation between “real life” and what’s happening on the screen, things were more binary. Tim Berners-Lee , the Web ’s inventor, said recently that first the Internet was about connecting computers ; then, with Web 1.0 in the late ‘90s and 1 st half of this decade, it was about connecting documents ...
NOW THE WEB, MEDIA ARE CONNECTING PEOPLE – but not just any people – your and my “social network,” the people we associate with in “real life.” The Web is now integrated into RL, especially for youth, for whom it’s just another “hang out” or place to socialize, communicate, collaborate, negotiate, etc. – so, more and more, “ everybody does know you’re a dog.” It’ s no longer binary – the Web and “real life.” Young people – the so-called beneficiaries of our Net-safety wisdom – don’t make a distinction between online and offline. Now the Web increasingly MIRRORS all of human life.... www.slate.com/id/2154507/fr/rss
This is an amazing time to be a parent, educator, journalist – a fascinating time to be a human being. We are in the middle of a profound media shift – as profound as the time when the printing press was invented, right before the Renaissance . Author and professor Clay Shirky recently said in a talk at the U.S. State Dept.: “This moment we’re living through is the largest increase in expressive capability in human history.” So, if we adults feel uneasy, it’ s understandable ... We’re in good company. But, for our children’s sake, we do need to embrace this change and play with it – fast, so as not to hold our children back. Prof. Shirky said the INTERNET does two revolutionary things: 1) blends real-time two-way communication with one-to-many mass media and is USER-produced ... and 2) it pulls all this together into one distribution pipe or platform. But it's really a triple revolution . Because, in addition to Shirky’ s, the 3 rd revolutionary change is that media is SOCIAL now – it’s behavioral . ["How social media can make history" <http://psdblog.worldbank.org/psdblog/2009/06/clay-shirky-at-the-state-department.html>]
Having SAID all that, we ’re only at the beginning.... Sociology professor Sherry Turkle at MIT told the New York Times recently that... “ Just because we grew up with the Internet, we think the Internet is all grown up. “It’s NOT all grown up. It’s in its toddler days .”
Today’s media is much more like a living thing than the professionally produced, gov’t-regulated mass media of our childhoods because it increasingly mirrors all of human life as it unfolds . In Facebook alone – now with nearly 1 billion users in every country in the world, more than 30 billion pieces of content are posted by its members every month (comments, photos, Web links, blog posts, videos, etc.). These are pieces of everybody’s lives as they live them. We are literally all in this together.
THIS IS IMPORTANT: What ’s happening online is not something new and separate from real life – it’s not some sort of alternate reality, the way many of us adults seem to view it. The context of what happens online is school, home, work – the places where we do our living, relating and socializing – not a Web site. All of that is just partly expressed in a Web site like FB. So if a problem comes up between two people or in a group on Facebook, the context is school – the relationships and peer groups that form there. So that’s where the solution really lies – in those relationships and social groups, not logically in anything a Web site customer service dept. can do. A lot like when arguments broke out on the phone when we were kids. In social media, safety, privacy and reputation management are often a negotiation and always a shared responsibility.
Like the way we live our lives. The way each of us uses, consumes, produces, and/or shares media is as individual as the way we live our lives, whether we’re kids or adults. IT’S VERY HARD TO GENERALIZE ABOUT YOUNG PEOPLE’S INTERNET USE. Prof. Craig Watkins at the University of Texas wrote recently that “much of the public attention, scrutiny, and hysteria [around social media] treat young people as a monolith, an undifferentiated mass. Based on my earlier work and the publication of The Young and the Digital, I understood that young people’s social media behaviors are dynamic and often interact with factors like gender, class, geography, and race and ethnicity.” <http://www.theyoungandthedigital.com/social-networking-sites/got-facebook-a-new-study-examines-the-worlds-biggest-social-network/> The safety implication is: Static, one-size-fits-all solutions do not exist. It ’s not wise to extrapolate anything about our children’s experience from news headlines, especially those about the worst cases. It’s best to work from the inside-out, to talk to our children and students to understand what’s going on in their online experiences as part of their everyday lives. It also means we need a very large “toolbox” with a wide variety of “tools” for protecting young people at different developmental stages and in different situations, just as in all of life. Those tools include education, a range of filtering and other technologies, content ratings, family and school policies, law enforcement, and privacy and safety features in Web sites and on devices.
HOWEVER ... IT ’S ALSO REALLY NO BIG DEAL – TO YOUNG PEOPLE . The students in the video are at Philadelphia's Science Leadership Academy, a three-year-old "inquiry-driven, project-based high school focused on 21 st -century learning. The school ’s principal, Chris Lehmann, said in a recent interview: "In too many schools we have this idea that we have the school we've always had plus some computers.” He said, “Technology needs to be like oxygen - ubiquitous, necessary, invisible. It's got to be everywhere ... just part of the day-to-day work that we all do.” HE ALSO SAID: “Social media is part of kids’ lives. Either we acknowledge it exists and allow ourselves to be part of the conversation, or it’s one more way school becomes irrelevant to kids.” <http://www.tolerance.org/magazine/number-39-spring-2011/your-students-love-social-media-and-so-can-you> [See also this post in NetFamilyNews: “School & social media” about how we might think of digital media as the new book: http://www.netfamilynews.org/2009/05/school-social-media-uber-big-picture.html .] Joe’ s Non-Netbook: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkhpmEZWuRQ
SO HERE ’S what we know from the growing body of social-media research.... A big start was the 3-year, $50 million “Digital Youth Project” begun in 2006, funded by the MacArthur Foundation to the tune of $50 million and involving more than 2 dozen researchers, studying young people’s use of social media in school, at home, and in after-school programs.... NOW IT ’S A BOOK: Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media (from MIT Press) Missouri 8 th -grade teacher Tom Maerke reviewed it in the National Writing Project (NWP.org) site, saying “ it’s important to read this book because it presents in extensive detail the diverse learning opportunities available to young people” in social media. Lots of examples. “ *Serious* informal learning: Key online youth study” <http://www.netfamilynews.org/2008/11/serious-informal-learning-online-youth.html> “ Why participatory media need to be in school” http://www.netfamilynews.org/2009/06/why-participatory-media-need-to-be-in.htm]l
This is just a partial list of activities and behaviors occurring on the social Web. Young people are not just socializing and playing games. Sure they’re doing those things but also holding meetings, negotiating, strategizing, community building, learning social norms, forming teams.... In World of Warcraft, educators who play the game tell me players are analyzing statistics and probabilities, learning how to save currency, how to budget, do marketing, and explore supply & demand. So they’ re learning in the fields of economics, math, sociology, diplomacy, and business. They’re also doing a lot of strategic thinking in collaboration. In his recent book, The Element: how finding your passion changes everything, Sir Ken Robinson describes how many people – artists, writers, scientists, etc. – find their way & find success when they find their tribe , or community of shared interest. There, they find validation, feedback, supportive friends to test their ideas on, a safe place to experiment – all this is what young people are finding thru social media before they grow up, outside of school. BUT ALSO they find comfort, support, validation (good and bad) – a risk-prevention expert in MA: “In our research we asked kids if they go online when they feel lonely or depressed or anxious, and many said YES, and when we asked if it made them feel better, most said YES, IT DOES. So [SN] may be a mild form of self-treatment or relief from other difficulties in life.” But of course it’ s not all positive, any more than life is....
...There ’s plenty of neutral and negative behavior too – a lot of what has always been going on during the adolescent years, except that now it’s a lot more visible. [Visibility is not all bad, though, is it? A lot of adolescent behavior and activity that was private when we were kids is now exposed for research , prevention , and intervention .] Solutions to negative behaviors such as cyberbullying or sexting incidents are often a process – incidents or “ teachable moments are opportunities to teach kids not to forget that those are real human beings with feelings behind the screennames, avatars, and profiles, and they are partly responsible for the impact of their words and behaviors on those human beings. [-- ”Unsupervised online teens & other myths” about some recent studies on teen social networking, including a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg study http://www.netfamilynews.org/nl060818.html#1 --Also our book, MySpace Unraveled , chapters 1, 2, and 8]
ONLINE SOCIALIZING IS JUST AS COMPLEX AND DIVERSE AS THEIR OFFLINE SOCIAL LIVES – both what’ s going on in their individual lives and what’s going on around us all – because it’s in-coming all the time, right? So, as in real-life socializing, Pew found their online experiences mostly positive. [Link to study at http://www.netfamilynews.org/?p=30933.] “ Good outcomes” were defined as ”felt good about myself” (65%) or “felt closer to someone else” (58%) as the result of an experience in a social site. Pew found a range of “ bad outcomes” – the worst was 25% - had experienced a f2f argument or confrontation w/ someone (compare this to RL); 22% an exper that ended a friendship; 13% an exper that caused a prob w/ their parents; 13% felt nervous about going to school the next day; 8% had gotten into a physical fight; 6% had gotten in trouble in school because of an exper in a social site.
Consumer Reports study ( http://www.netfamilynews.org/?p=30391 ) Authors of a a more recent study – “Why Parents Help Their Children Lie to Facebook About Age” ( http://www.uic.edu/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3850/3075 , covered in NetFamilyNews http://www.netfamilynews.org/?p=30920) – say that, “ among parents of 10-to-14-year-old Facebook users, 84% were aware their children signed up and – of that 84% – nearly 64% even “ helped create [their children ’ s underage] account. ” Unintended consequences : Sites therefore collect data about children under 13 that COPPA would otherwise prohibit without explicit parental consent.” “ With deception the only means of [gaining] access [for U13s] … possibilities for discussion, collaboration and learning are hindered.” I’d boil that down to innovation – working with parents and educators to make the experience more age-appropriate. The normalization of violating sites’ Terms of Service. From the online moderation community: Less safety for U13s who don’t have engaged parents.
Social-media researchers have helped us see that youth are actually engaged in two kinds of online social networking: FRIENDSHIP-DRIVEN is the way most of us think of social networking – the online extension of their RL social lives. INTEREST-DRIVEN is about where young musicians, videographers, athletes, game designers, anime-translaters, code-writers, etc., get feedback, context for their work, mentors, inspiration, healthy competition – where geography is not a factor, and they don ’t have to grow up to find their professional peer groups. [Data from qualitative study of 61 people aged 15-25 by Harvard GoodPlay Project <http://www.goodworkproject.org/research/goodplay/>, also discussed here <http://www.netfamilynews.org/?p=29466>.] In this INFORMAL LEARNING environment . THE DIGITAL YOUTH STUDY FOUND THAT IN BOTH forms young people “create and navigate new forms of expression and rules for social behavior. By exploring new interests, tinkering, and “messing around” with new forms of media, they acquire various forms of technical and media literacy.... By its immediacy & breadth of information, the digital world lowers barriers to self-directed learning .” – Mimi Ito, Cal Berkeley Hanging Out, Messing Around & Geeking Out: Kids Living & Learning with New Media , MIT Press (2009) <http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?ttype=2&tid=11889>
It’ s a mistake to think social networking is either a single activity and even more of a mistake to think it’s just a waste of time, as many parents fear, but we naturally think of media from the mass-media environment we grew up in – media merely as something you passively consume. Hanging out or “chilling” with friends (casual socializing) Messing around (info-gathering, exploring an idea, tinkering with digital media, experimenting, play ) Geeking out (more professional - using digital media the way a musician practices w/ an instrument - more intensive and frequent use, developing higher levels of skill or specialized knowledge) The researchers write that, “by exploring new interests, tinkering, and ‘ messing around’ with new forms of media, they acquire various forms of technical and media literacy. Through trial and error, youth add new media skills to their repertoire, such as how to create a video or game, or customize their [profile]. Teens then share their creations and receive feedback from others online. By its immediacy and breadth of information, the digital world lowers barriers to self-directed learning. Some youth ’geek out’ and dive into a topic or talent…. Geeking out is highly social and engaged, although usually not driven primarily by local friendships. Youth turn instead to specialized knowledge groups of both teens and adults from around the country or world, with the goal of improving their craft and gaining reputation among expert peers. While adults participate, they are not automatically the resident experts by virtue of their age (Digital Youth Project summary http://digitalyouth.ischool.berkeley.edu/files/report/digitalyouth-TwoPageSummary.pdf and a review of it <http://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/resource/3052>).
INTEREST-DRIVEN COMMUNITY is purposeful, focused. It lends itself to a form of community self-regulation, a collective understanding of social norms that ’s protective of both the community itself and its members. I call this the GUILD EFFECT: safe, civil behavior as a social norm. Gee also said that “What we’re gaining [as a society] is the ability for people to be ... smarter in community than they can be alone.” [Prof. James Paul Gee, AZ State U. in video I/V for PBS “Frontline” news show http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/digitalnation/virtual-worlds/video-games/the-gamers-edge.html?play ] [An example is the experience of “Clarissa,” told by the Digital Youth study. She’s 17 and an aspiring writer who “participates in an online role-playing community. Aspiring members must write lengthy char. descriptions to apply, and these are evaluated by the site administrators. Since receiving glowing reviews of her application, Clarissa has been a regular participant on the site and has developed friendships with many of the writers there. She has been doing a joint role-play with another participant in Spain, and she has a friend in Oregon who critiques her work and vice versa. She explains how this feedback from fellow writers feels more authentic to her than the evaluations she receives in school.”]
And phones increasingly have all the same capabilities and features as computers. Just-released research from the Pew Internet Project shows that 75% of US 12-to-17-yearolds now have cellphones [2/3/10 http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Social-Media-and-Young-Adults/Part-2/1-Cell-phones.aspx?r=1 ] Rosalind Wiseman , author of Queen Bees & Wannabes, said: “18 mos. ago I would never have said to a school that their firewalls are irrelevant. Now they are. There is no purpose in any school having any blocks or filters because kids are coming into school with cellphones that have Internet access. More and more the real safety issue has to be about how we treat each other.” Something to think about…. 47:45 http://blog.anniefox.com/tag/rosalind-wiseman/ Of course there are phone-only social-network sites (accessible via the Web but designed for phone screens), and MySpace and Facebook – all the major social sites – allow users to update their profiles from their phones. [Based on a study of experts, Pew said cellphones will soon be “the world’s primary tool...” http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=212500798 ; “Big sign of increasingly mobile Web” http://www.netfamilynews.org/2010/01/big-sign-of-increasingly-mobile-web.html ; and “Google Moves to Keep Its Lead as Web Goes Mobile,” 1/4/10 http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/05/technology/internet/05google.html ]
For 15-year-olds, Pew found in 2010 that the preferred communication methods with friends are in this order: texting (54%), talk face-to-face (42%), calling on a cellphone (41%), social network site (40%, and SNSs have features like IM and email), calling via landline (37%), instant messaging (33%), and email (12%). Latest Nielsen figures: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/nielsen-teen-data-use-tripled-in-past-year/2011/12/15/gIQAOfBfwO_story.html Pew/Internet: April 2010 <http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Teens-and-Mobile-Phones/Summary-of-findings/Findings.aspx>
There are more than 500,000 apps for the iPhone now – productivity apps, game apps, shopping apps, news & info apps – ...and more than 400,000 for phones with Google ’s Android OS <http://www.androidcentral.com/android-market-surpasses-100000-apps?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+androidcentral+%28Android+Central%29> [Check out Georgia college student Travis Allen ’s iSchool Initiative for links to nearly 2 dozen educational apps https://www.ischoolinitiative.com/Educational_Applications.html for using cellphones as teaching tools and school and homework helpers. I wrote about him here http://www.netfamilynews.org/?p=28755 . ]
Which means – says author, game designer, and scholar Jane McGonigal – that teens and all the183 million active video gamers in are intuitively, intelligently seeking happiness. In her best-selling book Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, McGonigal quotes author and journalist Eric Weiner, who wrote The Geography of Bliss . [2 nd quote] So in their seemingly constant connecting and game play, our children are a lot smarter than our culture allows. They’re smart enough to know that, despite potential pitfalls and struggles, connecting with others makes them happy. They also know that doing so in a fully engaging, purposeful, self-activating experience only adds to that happiness, which we also call fulfillment. In her definition of happiness, McGonigal cites psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihailyi (cheek-SENT-me-high), who called this sense of complete activation or actualization as “flow,” as saying that it happens most reliably and efficiently under the conditions of game play….
[updated 5/19/12] T he best games, online or offline, experts tell us, involve hard work as well as play – meaningful hard work that we opt into (that vol. partic. piece again). So here are 2 things we parents should know about play…. Sociologist Martha Beck writes about neoteny , a combination of the Greek words “neo” for “new” and "tenein” for "to stretch.” [read slide] Unlike other animals, humans never grow out of this playful learning and stretching, neoteny. [[from Beck’s Finding Your Way in a Wild New World ]] Then there’s the PROTECTIVE aspect…. I’ve talked about how active immersion in meaningful activity provides fulfillment. Well, there’s safety in this too. When everybody’s acting together toward a certain goal, they’re focused on the process and the goal , so their actions are con structive, not de structive. So those are two protective properties – purposefulness & immersiveness or full engagement. Then there’s just pure playfulness . Psychiatrist Stuart Brown , founder of the Nat’l Institute for Play, illustrates this. He describes an experience on the Arctic Circle witnessing a hungry polar approach a group of chained up huskies that could’ve quickly become dinner for the bear, had one huskie not decided to play with the polar bear. He shows a picture of the bear and dog “ locked in play, ” with the bear ’ s mouth around the huskie ’ s neck. The bear had so much fun, he simply left after they finished playing – and came back the next evening to play again!! Nobody got hurt. This illus. for Brown how play overcomes a threatening “ differential of power. ” http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/stuart_brown_says_play_is_more_than_fun_it_s_vital.html
[updated 5/19/12:] Here are photos of Brown’s polar bear and huskie. See the neoteny they’re demonstrating? How the huskie’s stretching her ability and testing her courage. How completely captivating they’re play is? How vulnerable she is … so how magically protective her courage and playfulness are to her and her fellow huskies who were chained up outside the shed? As I listened to this story, I thought, hmm, part of the definition of bullying is an imbalance of power, that it happens when somebody asserts power over the other. So play can level the playing field between two individuals, perhaps. Being playful can be protective. SO HOW USEFUL WOULD FEAR HAVE BEEN TO THAT HUSKIE? We teach our children to fear bullies and other types of victimization rather than give them strategies for protecting themselves, peers, and even bullies – who are typically putting their inner struggle and vulnerability on display more than their strength. I think that ultimately, as a society, we’ll discover that messages of fear don’t help – they can alert us, that’s fine, but they don’t make us safe. What increases safety in schools, the research shows, is a whole-school-community approach to creating and maintaining a culture of respect.
So everything we’re talking about today is not just about technology, not just about media, and not even just about humanity. It’s about all three together AND what Marty’s talking about: context. Cultural context, relational context, historical context, and environmental context. Why did Melvin Kranzberg, professor of the history of technology, say that about technology? He was emphasizing just that – how essential context is. An example he gave was DDT. Remember that? The technology was developed to increase agric. productivity by getting rid of mosquitoes. Then we discovered it threatened ecosystems and food chains. So we banned it, but India kept using it because it helped reduce malaria, which was a much greater threat there. The World Health Org. reported it cut the no. of cases from 100 million a year to 15,00 and the deaths toll from 750,000 to 1,500/yr.
Turning now to the youth-online-risk research. This was another task force I served on, the Harvard Berkman Center ’s Internet Safety Technical Task Force, which released its report just 6 mos. before the next one got under way. These were its key findings of the– the results of a full review of the youth-risk literature in North America up thru 2008. Harassment & bullying are the risk that affects the most youth. Not all young people are equally at risk online – those who are most at risk online are those most at risk in “real life” – they’re usually labeled at-risk youth or the more old-fashioned “troubled youth,” those who come from households where there’s conflict or abuse; young people seeking love or validation in high-risk places outside the home; those engaged in self-destructive behaviors such as substance abuse, gang activity, self-harm, eating disorders. There’s a lot of correlation between risky behavior offline and risky behavior online. We also found that a child ’s psychosocial makeup and home and school environment are better predictors of risk than any tech a child uses. What we found is age verification technology, which is what we were particularly charged with looking at, can ’t solve the very rare predator problem with which the state attorneys general who formed our task force were most concerned. And – with peer-on-peer harassment & bullying the most salient risk – separating youth and adults online, the aim of age verification, would only increase the Lord of the Flies conditions. Report: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/pubrelease/isttf/
But there’s more than one kind of online safety.... because online safety maps to “real life,” where there are many kinds of safety. Consider how the types of online safety begin to suggest rights and freedoms ˆ∫- the language of citizenship . HERE ARE THE FORMS OF SAFETY WE ALL DESERVE: Physical is essential but not the all of it, as with playgrounds, right? [See this from Barry Joseph of NYC-based NGO Global Kids (http://www.holymeatballs.org/2009/01/staff_on_plans_to_turn_second.html#more) and this about children hurting themselves more because, in playing on such safe playgrounds, they didn ’t know how to take calculated risks, at News.com.au (http://www.news.com.au/national/childrens-play-equipment-too-safe-for-their-own-good-expert-warns/story-e6frfkvr-1226065260649).] Psychological – we want children to have this freedom online just as much as we’ ve always sought it for them offline, and their behavior is a factor in their emotional well-being. Reputational and legal – we have a lot of work to do to develop awareness in this area, since users themselves are key to maintaining this freedom for themselves. Identity, property, and community – imposter profiles are a big one; we need to teach youth not only to protect their privacy & property but also their identity (first and foremost by protecting their passwords and not falling prey to manipulation, social engineering - like phishing scams).
Because not all young ppl are equally at risk online, we now know that Online Safety needs a layered approach. We need to adopt the public health field ’s LEVELS OF PREVENTION. PRIMARY means baseline, universal instruction, pre-K through 12, in what is protective of ALL young people: good citizenship online as well as offline and media literacy that teaches critical thinking in new as well as traditional media – about what is posted, texted, shared, and uploaded as much as what is read, consumed, and downloaded. We have always taught good citizenship and media literacy; now we embrace new media too. We know this is protective in the new media environment, because researchers have found that aggressive behavior online increases the aggressor ’s risk online. So civil, mindful behavior are protective in all environments. SECONDARY : More specialized or targeted prevention - mentoring (incl peer) & support for specific risky behaviors, such as bullying, self-destructive behavior, etc., that is reinforced online. SEC. also utilizes “teachable movements ,” when incidents in school occur (bullying, sexting, fights staged for YouTube, etc.), or perhaps annual anti-bullying empathy training for all students – a special assembly or unit in health class, when students learn about the law concerning transmitting sexually explicit images of minors. TERTIARY : Prevention AND intervention for youth with established patterns of risk behaviors. So the risk-prevention specialists, school counselors, social-service workers, and mental healthcare practitioners who work w/ at-risk youth already ... need to incorporate social media into their prevention and intervention work.
The socializing, the adolescent behavior and development, etc. haven’ t really changed with the advent of the social Web. Here’s how the Internet does change things, and how social Web users who are not thinking criticall y can get into trouble. We’ re all familiar with these, but they were neatly packaged in the Jan. 2009 PhD dissertation of social-media researcher danah boyd. We add Disinhibition , that lack of body language, facial expression voice inflection that makes us forget we ’re interacting with fellow human beings – that has the effect of removing empathy. New media literacy teaches us that those are human beings with feelings behind those profiles, avatars, screennames, and text messages. [ “Taken Out of Context: American Teen Sociality in Networked Publics” http://www.danah.org/papers/TakenOutOfContext.pdf]
This was a revelation to me back in 2007, when I first read it in the medical journal, ARCHIVES OF PEDIATRICS & ADOLESCENT MEDICINE. http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/161/2/138 [See also: “Digital risk, digital citizenship” <http://www.netfamilynews.org/2009/05/digital-risk-digital-citizenship.html>.]
[HERE ’S THE BAR CHART:] SEE THE BREAKDOWN HERE: aggressive behavior toward peers, embarrassing peers – but then not just peer on peer behavior but also the behavior associated with predation or sexual victimization. Interestingly, sharing personal information in blogs or SN profiles – which is what standard online-safety messaging has been telling kids NOT to do for years – is’ ’t itself inherently risky. http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/161/2/138 “ The researchers’ conclusions : Talking with people known only online ("strangers") under some conditions is related to online interpersonal victimization, but sharing personal information is not. Engaging in a pattern of different kinds of online risky behaviors is more influential in explaining victimization than many specific behaviors alone. Pediatricians should help parents assess their child's online behaviors globally in addition to focusing on specific types of behaviors.” THIS IS THE INDIVIDUALITY FACTOR – The basic message, here, is that people need to talk with their children about how they’ re socializing/behaving online.” To be relevant, the messaging can’t come from dire stories in the news media or law enforcement. General warnings and “be afraid” messages don’t change behavior.
Here’ s what you NEVER hear in the news media: Dr. Rosen’ s definition of “appropriate response” is: “ Telling the person to stop, blocking the person from commenting on their profile, removing themselves from the situation by logging off, reporting the incident to an adult or to site.” That’s what the vast majority of kids do. An earlier study by the Crimes Against Children Research Center found that most solicitations are from peers or young adults, not so-called predators, and can be characterized as flirting . You don’t hear that in the news either. And that’s only part of the disservice we’re doing to young people. [See http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/internet-crimes/factsheet_1in7.html] Dr. Rosen also found that fairly low numbers of social networkers were very or extremely upset by such behavior... sexual solicitation (19% upset) harassment (22%), and/or unwanted exposure to sexual materials (20%) Rosen study in Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, August 2008: "The Association of Parenting Style and Child Age with Parental Limit Setting and Adolescent MySpace Behavior" <http://www.scopus.com/record/display.url?eid=2-s2.0-55249108309&origin=inward&txGid=Gbg8Y8TEassAYHBNRquT4pY%3a2>.
And from the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire. [From a CACRC update we had been watching for since 2006: “Trends in Arrests of Online Predators,” by Wolak, Finkelhor & Mitchell at Crimes Against Children Research Center at U. of New Hampshire, March 2009 <http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/pdf/CV194.pdf> Going even further, USATODAY <http://www.usatoday.com/tech/webguide/internetlife/2009-04-02-online-friends_N.htm> later cited the view of study co-author Finkelhor that “ongoing studies show that being on a social network site doesn’t create risk of sexual victimization.” And, despite all the news about thousands of registered sex offenders being booted off MySpace, there hasn ’t been a single prosecution of an offender for contact with a minor on a social network site. If there had been, it would’ve been in the news. [One reporter who blogged about RSOs on MySpace had a screenshot of a so-called offender’s profile in her article. I looked at it carefully and found that it hadn’t been updated since it had been established – there had been no activity on the profile; it was dead. Anyone can grab a photo off a sex offender Web site and create a profile because anyone can create a profile with any photo. News reporters really need to understand the facts before reporting so-called news and misleading and scaring the public. http://www.netfamilynews.org/2009/03/major-update-on-net-predators-mostly.html ]
That chart ’s from the Crimes Against Children Research Center too, using data gathered at Cornell University. From 1990 to 2005 – the period of time that the Web was born and grew most rapidly – there was a 51% decline in overall child sexual exploitation – the chart ’s showing that : out of every 10,000 US minors, 23 were abused, with that no. going down to 11 in 2005. Down 9% more 2005-10, so a 60% decline (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/29/us/rate-of-child-sexual-abuse-on-the-decline.html). NCANDS = National Child Abuse & Neglect Data System at Cornell University [<18 per 10,000 children is less than 2/10 of 1%, I think] And the trend is continuing…
As for other risk factors online and offline ... Dr. Christopher Ferguson at Texas A&M wrote in the Chronicle of Higher Education, “The research on current youth is pretty clear that this generation of young people is actually one of the psychologically healthiest on record (since at least the 1960s).” And David Finkelhor at the University of New Hampshire said in a recent talk about these declines in all the social problem indicators for teens that “ I have this intuition that we ’ re going to look back on this period as one of major and widespread amelioration of social problems affecting children and families ” – not BECAUSE of the Internet of course, but certainly showing that the Internet has not increased social problems among youth. AND DECLINES IN 2 ONLINE RISKS: Sexual solicitations of minors – from 20% in 2000 to 13% in 2005 to just-released 2010 figure Unwanted exposure to online pornography – number of US 10-to-17-year-olds experiencing it decreased from 34% to 23% over the same period http://chronicle.com/article/Narcissism-Run-Rampant-Lets/123705/ http://christopher.ferguson.socialpsychology.org/ [See also “Juvenoia: Why Internet fear is overrated,” based on a talk given the following month by Dr. Finkelhor http://www.netfamilynews.org/?p=30220 .]
We could spend an hour just talking about this, so I ’ll just say that, as a society, we’ve expanded that definition. We’ve started throwing all sorts of mean behaviors into it – so it could be anything from a prank that turned out to be really hurtful to popular kids putting other kids down (social rivalry) to an angry reaction expressed online (conflict) to mean gossip. None of that is technically cyberbullying, but we tend to label it all as such – and then attach terrible outcomes to it. We need to calm down and think about all this – including how we adults are modeling social interaction and what the research is showing us bullying and what helps defeat it.
This technical (academic) definition usually applies to the most egregious cases, the ones in the news (remember, the news reports airplane crashes, not safe landings). So when KIDS are asked what they felt when cyberbullied, they said they’ d felt sad, upset, violated, depressed, hated, stupid & put down, annoyed, and exploited, they ALSO felt the bullies were stupid, pathetic, bored, and didn’t have anything better to do – which doesn’t sound like they were completely devastated by the bullying, right? 55% indicated that being cyberbullied had “no negative effect” on them . HOWEVER , these “attitudes of dismissal” were particularly common in cases of harassment rather than cyberbullying. -- “Victimization of Adolescent Girls” – Amanda Burgess-Proctor, Sameer Hinduja, and Justin Patchin http://www.cyberbullying.us/cyberbullying_girls_victimization.pdf See also: “Cyberbullying better defined” <http://www.netfamilynews.org/2008/09/cyberbullying-better-defined.html> 2009 ISTTF report, pp. 19-20 "With all three types of threats (sexual solicitation, online harassment, and problematic content), some youth are more likely to be at risk than others . Generally speaking, the characteristics of youth who report online victimization are similar to those of youth reporting offline victimization and those who are vulnerable in one online context are often vulnerable in multiple contexts (Finkelhor 2008).
But the numbers are all over the map. Some studies found only about 5.9% of teens had been cyberbullied, all the way up to 72% . But MOST were in the range of 15% to 35% of teens experiencing this kind of bullying, and Sameer Hinduja and Justin Patchin say on avg about 20%. It’ s important to note that it’s generally way under-reported . Kids say that’s because they feel they’re supposed to work these things out themselves (developmentally normative), but also that they fear getting an adult involved can make things even worse (fear of social isolation, a very real fear) – IMPORTANT. It’ s also important to see that it’s about relationships & behavior more than technology. Computers and the Internet are involved but are not the cause. They can amplify the problem quickly, though, as we all know. Can be anything, or set off by anything , online or offline or both (kids don’ t make distinction) – 1 person’s anger, an argument, general meanness, school drama, mean gossip, power-tripping, etc. Can be private that goes public. Psych. AND physical. Because of rapid distribution, hard to ditch (always newcomers to the issue) So the environment, or CONTEXT of cyberbullying is SCHOOL, not the Internet Cyberbullying is OUR adult term – pretty meaningless to them (boyd & Marwick on drama).
What the experts are saying – from all over the country – is that a whole-school approach is the only real solution.... Enlisting everybody ’s help – administrators, teachers, students, families – in building and maintaining a culture of respect and dignity, school community-wide. Profs. Yasdin and Rotella wrote: [“Whole school” tends to involve SEL for faculty/staff as well as students, student-implemented assessment surveys, multi-disciplinary teams for incident investig., policy consistent with culture of respect goals; parent involvement, etc. ] The APA Task Force on Zero Tolerance (2008) carefully reviewed the research literature and concluded: “Schools with higher rates of school suspension and expulsion appear to have less satisfactory ratings of school climate, less satisfactory school governance structures, and to spend a disproportionate amount of time on disciplinary matters. Perhaps more importantly, recent research indicates a negative relationship between the use of school suspension and expul. and school-wide acad. achievement (p. 855).” In an email from Dr. Patti Agatston in an Atlanta school district: “Sue [Limber] wrote about this in our book. Her main point was that 1 in 5 students report regularly bullying others with some frequency, so it doesn't make sense to suspend every fifth child from our schools. She also writes about how threats of severe punishment would discourage youth and adults from reporting. So you can cite our book if you like but I don't have a specific research study for you. But I can tell you anecdotally that Georgia had a three-strikes-you’re-out policy for bullying and so administrators found every possible way they could to record aggressive actions without putting it under the bullying policy. So our bullying discipline reports were almost nonexistent despite the fact that the Olweus bullying surveys showed fairly high rates of bullying in some of our schools. I am skeptical the new law will change that since they still have kept the suspension/expulsion piece in it, although perhaps the required reporting/investigation piece will make a difference.”
The vast majority, actually. Let’ s look at this chart for a moment. It’s the recent Cox Teen Online & Wireless Safety Survey <http://www.scribd.com/doc/20023365/2009-Cox-Teen-Online-Wireless-Safety-Survey-Cyberbullying-Sexting-and-Parental-Controls>. It’s a little hard to read on the screen, but it shows cyberbullying on computers in dark blue and on cellphones in light blue. Look how low the nos. are. The highest one is “seen or heard of a friend who was bullied.” Two of the US’s top researchers in cyberbullying, authors and profs. Justin Patchin and Sameer Hinduja tell us that about 20% of teens have ever experienced cyberbullying <http://cyberbullying.us/publications.php>. [When we hear about cyberbullying or bullying-caused suicide in the news, suicide-prevention experts tell us the reporting is almost always inaccurate because the causes of suicide are complex – multiple factors lead to suicide.] The point is, cyberbullying is NOT rampant. Most kids are decent to each other and this is not a big surprise, right? So why is it important to point this out?
So why are those numbers important to look at? Do they seem low to you? If you believe what you hear and see in the news, they should. The reason this is important is because research shows that perception actually predicts reality. Two profs. at Hobart/William Smith in upstate NY found that “The most common (and erroneous) perception among students in the schools they studied – the perception – not the reality – is that most kids engage in or support bullying.” The chart’ s impossible to read, so just look at the red and blue lines. Blue is perception – what students thought was going on with bullying. The red line represents the no. of bullying incidents. This was in 19 schools in New Jersey between 2006 and 2008. As the school started helping students see that most students don’t engage in bullying – sometimes with posters that say things “students in our school don’t bully” – the perception (misunderstanding that bullying was normative) went down and then bullying behavior also went down. It was already relatively low, but when students SAW that, it went down even more. [[Cyberbullying expert Sameer Hinduja, a prof. at FL Atlantic U.( & co-dir. of the Cyberbullying Research Center) wrote that... “ Schools must work to create a climate in which responsible use of Facebook ... Is ‘what we do around here’ and ‘just how it is at our school and with our students.’ This can occur by focusing attention on the majority of youth who do utilize computers and cell phones in acceptable ways.” http://cyberbullying.us/blog/social-norms-and-cyberbullying-among-students.html]] Source : “Assessing Bullying in New Jersey Secondary Schools: Applying the Social Norms Model to Adolescent Violence”: David W. Craig and Wesley Perkins, Hobart and William Smith Colleges 2008 http://www.youthhealthsafety.org/BullyNJweb.pdf
The NJ schools displayed posters like this all around the school – letting students know that taking CARE of each other is the norm. Of course it ’s not just about putting up posters around school. It’s modeling and demonstrating in multiple ways that “our community is a respectful one. This is just the visual representation of that ongoing messaging, which all community members, including and especially staff, are demonstrating throughout the day – based on stated policy.
OK, turning now to “sexting,” a term coined by a PR person. Despite a lot of scary news coverage, it ’s important to know that a recent study [by Pew/Internet in DC] found that 96% of teens DON’T send sexting messages.... “ Teen sexting: Troubling, but don’t overreact” http://www.connectsafely.org/Safety-Advice-Articles/teen-sexting-troubling-but-dont-overreact.html “ Sexting: The new ‘spin-the-bottle’?” http://www.netfamilynews.org/2009/06/sexting-new-spin-bottle.html “ Teaching about sexting: Social Web lesson plan” http://www.netfamilynews.org/2009/06/teaching-about-sexting-social-web.html “ Sexting overblown? Yes and *no*” http://www.netfamilynews.org/2009/03/sexting-overblown-yes-and-no.html “ Fla. teen a registered sex offender for sexting” http://www.netfamilynews.org/2009/04/fl-teen-registered-sex-offender-for.html
The latest – late last year (‘11) – data published in the medical journal Pediatrics shows that only 1% of US teens had created or appeared in sexually explicit digital photos (links at http://www.netfamilynews.org/?p=31028). Previous studies focused on various behaviors, some oddly blended sending and receiving, none on taking the photos: The range in past studies: Sending 4-10%; Receiving 15-17%; Forwarding 3%. The earliest study said 20% had either sent or rcvd a “sext.” The AP/MTV survey released in Dec. (12/3/09) was about digital abuse , not just sexting. Digital abuse is defined as ”spreading lies, violation of trust, and digital disrespect” – a much more important focus, because this is ultimately about trust and respect – for self and others – and violating that trust – something most of us want to address with our children. CCRC researchers also surveyed law enforcement agencies, so we have unprecedented findings about the kinds of that led to arrests. “Two-thirds of the [3,477] cases in 2008 and ‘09 involved an ‘aggravating’ circumstance – “either an adult was involved (36% of those cases) or a minor engaged in malicious, non-consensual, or abusive behavior (31% of cases).
I mentioned the legal consequences, though laws, prosecutors and juvenile judges are slowly getting up to speed on this, but here are some serious non -legal consequences. I suggest that school administrators and law enforcement take these consequences equally seriously – be sure that any students who do engage in sexting, many of whom see their mistake immediately and starkly, not be made an example of and taken out of school in handcuffs, as in a case involving 8 th graders in Washington State reported in the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/27/us/27sexting.html. Sometimes the way authorities handle a case increases a child’s victimization. Again, these are extreme cases, but they point to the need for great care in dealing with young people’s use of technology, with which the laws haven’t caught up. [[See also excellent coverage of a court’ s dilemma in Ars Technica <http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/03/14-year-old-child-pornographers-sexting-lawsuits-get-serious.ars>.]] Also “ Sexting: Advice from a criminology professor and cyberbullying researcher on what to tell a kid sent nude photos via cellphone ” http://www.netfamilynews.org/?p=30118 http://www.connectsafely.org/Safety-Tips/tips-to-prevent-sexting.html
So what might a school community focus on where youth online safety’s concerned? Citizenship, both digital and real-world. Because so much of our children’ s time is spent in school, school is a vital environment for them to learn and practice good citizenship online and offline. My blog post on the report (linking to it): http://www.netfamilynews.org/?p=29092 [[Here’ s what the OSTWG, which I had the honor of co-chairing, wrote to lawmakers: “We need to recognize that, by far, the most common risk to children stems from their own actions and those of their peers and that many of these risks are not new. It is the delivery mechanisms which are [new]. While technology can be used to amplify or facilitate bullying, for example, it is not the cause of the problem. In addition to sending a message that bullying and harassment will not be tolerated, work needs to be done starting in Kindergarten or earlier on “digital citizenship” – or rather a renewed effort to teach citizenship online and offline – encouraging children to respect themselves and others. This baseline (or “Primary”) online-safety education cannot take place in a vacuum – or only in a single sphere of youth activity – but must promote movement toward greater civility not just among young people but also parents, educators, youth workers and other role models..... The government can’t legislate civility, but it can encourage it. This will not be an easy fix but, like cutting down on smoking, racism, sexism and other social ills, it can be accomplished through awareness-raising over time.”]]
Need a pool to learn how to swim, so need social media environments to learn digital citizenship (develop social literacy and media literacy in digital media)!!! [[CIPA compliance – new requirement ( "This Internet safety policy must also include monitoring the online activities of minors and must provide for educating minors about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms and cyberbullying awareness and response” ). FCC rules are vague in specifying how to satisfy the new requirements. Schools are self-certified, so they decide how much red tape they want to create! [Required to certify their compliance once a year on FCC Form 486 <http://www.usac.org/sl/applicants/step06/form-486.aspx>.] A lot of schools/districts want plug-’n’-play – i-Safe (not free, questionable if research-based) or CSM claim to be (prefer the latter and it’s free) – but SO many options! Consider Our Space (also free and much more creative and research-based) or just teaching citizenship and literacy in digital environments! http://thejournal.com/articles/2012/05/16/the-new-cipa-deadline.aspx]]
[Updated 5/19/12] How do we do this? By encouraging the use of social media – or social learning tools – in school! Not in add-on courses sending the message that Net use is separate from everything else, but in core classes. Infrastructure – the infrastructure can be a classroom, a wiki, a lesson plan, a virtual world, a Google doc, a blog but must include a philosophy or set of values, e.g. creating together a class or school culture of respect or the educational VW Quest Atlantis’ s 7 Social Commitments Practice – Citizenship is a verb ; the more opportunities young ppl have to practicing citizenship online and offline IN SCHOOL, the better – in hallways, on sports fields, and in the classroom offline and in Google docs, wikis, and other collaborative projects and spaces. This is why so many experts call for a whole-school approach. Guidance/support/teaching/moderation – This role can be played by a teacher, peer mentors, and fellow classmates. Agency – This is what make the activity meaningful for students – KEY TO GOOD GAME DESIGN, KEY TO GOOD SCHOOL DESIGN. Their own work. They’re creators and producers, not just passive consumers. They’re full participants in the individual and collective learning process. Developing citizenship is developing safety, but… Benefits beyond safety – social competency or literacy, civic engagement, trust, collaboration, the comfort of community, being able to function well in community More than civic engagement – it’ s about civic efficacy , students feeling like they can make a difference
It’s important to see that citizenship isn’t just NICE – it isn’t a luxury for schools with unlimited budgets. It develops social literacy as well as media and digital literacy. [[1 st bullet: “Youth who engage in online aggressive behavior by making rude or nasty comments or frequently embarrassing others are more than twice as likely to report online interpersonal victimization.” – ARCHIVES OF PEDIATRICS & ADOLESCENT MEDICINE, February 2007 http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/161/2/138 ]] 2 nd – Critical thinking is itself protective - Learning how to assess risk = long-term safety, so students need opportunities to practice assessing risk 3 rd – Agency is the kernel and substance of citizenship; children treated as passive consumers & potential victims aren’ t given a good foundation for understanding that they are key to their own well-being and that of their peers and communities online and offline. THE GOAL : to support student self-actualization or agency by teaching students how they can be active agents for social good. [See also: “Digital risk, digital citizenship” <http://www.netfamilynews.org/2009/05/digital-risk-digital-citizenship.html>]
Let’s not make it ROCKET SCIENCE! Artist, writer, and SUNY Buffalo instructor) A.J. Patrick Liszkiewicz recently wrote about its most basic definition. This was confirmed by two psychology professors writing in the NYT: “ Our research on child development makes it clear that there is only one way to truly combat bullying.... As an essential part of the school curriculum, we have to teach children how to be good to one another, how to cooperate, how to defend someone who is being picked on and how to stand up for what is right.” <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/23/opinion/23engel.html> So we don’t really need whole curriculums about it or hours of professional development – better to spend that on social-emotional learning! It should be nothing special, like breathing, but we can’t get there if we don’t allow social media use in school. See also: “ Citizenship & the social Web mirror in our faces 24/7 “ http://www.netfamilynews.org/?p=28792 “ Next step: Crowd-source digital citizenship <http://www.netfamilynews.org/?p=30619> “ The goal for digital citizenship: Turn it into a verb” http://www.netfamilynews.org/?p=29268
BUT IF IT WOULD BE HELPFUL TO DEFINE IT A LITTLE MORE, FOR NOW –definition is a global work in progress – the human race in the process of figuring it out – but this is a draft that’s respectful of all users, including children, and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (http://www.unicef.org/crc/) OR: Full, healthy participation in the digital discourses of a networked world The goal is to support self-actualization or agency by teaching and modeling the literacies or competencies of successful use of digital media SO YOUTH SEE FOR THEMSELVES THE POSSIBILITIES AND BENEFITS OF BEING ACTIVE AGENTS FOR THEIR OWN AND THE SOCIAL GOOD. SO THEY CAN PRACTICE IT IN SAFE ENVIRONMENTS LIKE CLASSROOMS. Resources : For educator education: From Fear to Facebook: One School ’s Journey , by Matt Levinson http://www.amazon.com/Fear-Facebook-One-Schools-Journey/dp/1564842703 “ Moving Beyond One Size Fits All to Digital Citizenship,” by educators Matt Levinson and Deb Socia http://publius.cc/moving_beyond_one_size_fits_all_digital_citizenship) For parent education : A Facebook Guide for Parents , by Anne Collier and Larry Magid of ConnectSafely.org http://www.fbparents.org [See also: “Why digital citizenship is a hot topic (globally)” http://www.netfamilynews.org/?p=29466 and “Digital risk, digital citizenship” <http://www.netfamilynews.org/2009/05/digital-risk-digital-citizenship.html>.]
I think we have to ask ourselves this question – and ask young people!!! Here’s what I see them getting out of it so far. The bottom line: self-actualization for digitally informed life (online and offline) [And what’ s in it for adults? Eases the excessive – really unrealistic – sense of responsibility we’ve taken upon ourselves in today’s user-driven media environment. We base this undue burden on previous-generation media and the outgrown premise that youth safety is based on control. To conclude: Because safety, privacy, reputation protection – everything – is a shared experience in social media (on any device), users are in the driver’ s seat. IT is for the most part they – what they choose to say, do, post, share, produce – who determine how good or bad experiences in media are (their own and that of their peers and communities online and offline). So they’re not actually just users or even producers, but joint-stakeholders in how it all goes. They, like all of us, are helping to create the social norms of social media for the benefit of all.
Today’ s media give us and our children super powers compared to the days when we were mere passive consumers, so the bottom iine, really, is the Spider-Man lesson: “With great power comes great responsibility. ” USC media prof. and founder of the New Media Literacies Project Henry Jenkins sees Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, as an apt metaphor for today’s new-media-empowered youth. He cites the advice Peter’s Uncle Ben gave him as he was discovering his powers. This quote from Dr. Jenkins is in the Introduction of “Our Space,” a new literacy & citizenship curriculum created by the New Media Literacies Project and the Harvard School of Education’s GoodPlay Project to be released for the next (2010-11) school year. “ The product of a broken home, he currently is under the supervision of his aunt and uncle. Peter considers himself to be a master of the web, able to move rapidly from site to site and applying his emerging skills to promote social justice. Peter has engaged with typical identity play, adopting a flamboyant alter ego, an avatar which allows him to do and say things he would be hesitant to do otherwise. Peter belongs to a social network with kids from a nearby private academy who share his perception of being different ... . Peter uses FlickR to publish his photographs .... T he editor has been so impressed by Peter's work that he now lets him work freelance. Peter often interacts with adults who share his geeky interests online. Peter uses his computer to monitor suspicious activities in his community and is able to use a range of mobile technologies to respond anytime, anywhere to issues which concern him. He uses Twitter to maintain constant contact with his girl friend, Mary Jane, who often has to stay after school to rehearse for drama productions. ... Peter knows less than he thinks he does but more than the adults around him realize. While he makes mistakes, some of them costly, he is generally ready to confront the responsibilities thrust upon him by his circumstances. ”
SO WHAT IS Net safety 3.0 – HOW DO WE MAKE OUR MESSAGING RELEVANT TO THE NET ’s MOST AVID USERS? When you really think about it, how effective is it, really, to say to young people: “The media you find so compelling are bad ... A time sink, a waste of time, and rife with predators, cyberbullies, and other dangers” – you are a potential victim, and there’s little you can do about that? That’s the messaging our society has been sending for almost a decade and a half now. Well-known Canadian author and professor DON TAPSCOTT wrote in the Huffington Post in “20 big ideas for 2012” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/don-tapscott/20-big-ideas-for-2012-par_b_1194462.html: “ Today's youth were told that if they graduated, worked hard, and stayed out of trouble, they would have a prosperous and fulfilling life. But that's not happening. Around the world, youth unemployment is far higher than the national average. Young people are disillusioned, and their high unemployment raises the specter of a new youth radicalization. ” Unlike the ’ 60s anti-war mvt, “ today's radicalization is deeply rooted in personal broken hopes, mistreatment, and injustice ” while “ today's frustrated youth have at their fingertips the most powerful tool ever for finding out what's going on, informing others and organizing collective responses. ” So the Q he asks is, “ How can we engage youth in finding new solutions? ” We can start by embracing the new media environment around all of us, embracing the media tools that are meaningful to them and working with them on using these tools to enable their success and healthy, constructive participation.
A fresh look at digital safety, citizenship
Online SafetyReality Check Anne Collier Co-Director ConnectSafely.org Executive Director Net Family News, Inc.
Net safety as we know it is obsolete • One-size-fits-all; fear-based • 1.0 focused largely on crime & adult content • 2.0 added peer-related harm • Both present youth only as potential victims • Both present tech as both problem & solution • Not relevant to its “beneficiaries”
On Web 2.0... “...everybody knows you’re a dog.” --Michael Kinsley, Slate.com, 11/27/06
A triple media revolutionMedia shifts of past 500 years:• Printing press => 1 to many, 1 direction• Telegraph/phone => 1 to 1, 2-way, real time• Recorded media (photos/sound/film) => 1 to many, 1 direction, asynchronous• Recorded thru the air (radio/TV) => 1 to many, 1 direction, asynchronous then real time• Internet => 1 to 1, 1 to many, many to many (all directions); real time; pipeline for all other media; user-produced; social
What are they doing in there?Good or normative… Writing software code Hanging out Sharing/producing music “Social producing” Producing & editing Learning social rules videos Designing profiles (self- Discussing interests expression) Social/political activism Exploring identity Keeping in touch with friends long-term Risk assessment
What else are they doing in there? Neutral or negative… Damaging Seeking validation reputation Competing in a Pulling pranks popularity contest Getting even Venting Threatening Showing off Harassing Embarrassing self Bullying
Largely a positive experience • “People in social network sites are generally kind” – Amanda Lenhart of Pew/Internet • 95% of Americans 12-17 are online, 80% of them use social sites • 69% say their peers are mostly kind to each other in SNS, 20% say peers are mostly unkind, 11% that “it depends.” • 78% of SN teens report at least one good outcome and 41% report at least one negative outcome • 88% have witnessed others being mean or cruel
The under-age question • 7.5 million U13s in Facebook • FB removes upon detection, but can’t keep up • Parents not only not worried, they help • Facebook not designed for U13s… • But also not dangerous for U13s • Unintended consequencesSource: Pew Internet& American Life;Consumer Reports
2 types of social networking ...on all devices, fixed and mobile: • Friendship-driven (84% of 15-25 YOs in a qualitative study at Harvard School of Education) • Interest-driven (80% involved in “at least one such online community”) Source: Digital Youth Project, November 2008
Social networking’s progression• Hanging out – casual socializing• Messing around – collaborative tinkering with info, ideas, media• Geeking out – using media the way artists do, in a focused, professional way
Interest-driven communities“Were growing a bunch of [young] people who see what they do as social and collaborative and as part of joining communities...“They function quite naturally in ‘teams,’ where everybody is an expert in something but they know how to integrate their expertise with everybody else’s; they know how to understand the other person’s expertise so they can pull off an action together in a complicated world.” – author and professor James Paul Gee Source: Digital Youth Project, November 2008
Mobile social toolsCellphones are mobile computerswith... • Mobile social networking • Photo- & video-sharing • Web browsing • Texting • Gaming • GPS & social mappingMobile phones will be the “world’s primarytool for connecting to the Net” by 2020–Pew.
Teens prefer texting• 87% of teens text (80% use SNS)• 54% of all teens text daily (compared to26% who use SNS daily)• 1/2 send 50+ texts/day (1,500/mo.)• 1/3 send 100+/day (3,000/mo.)• Teens exchange an avg of 3,417 texts/mo.(7 per waking hour)
They’re intuitively, intelligently seeking happiness• “Our happiness is completely and utterly intertwined with other people…. Happiness is not a noun or verb. It’s a conjunction. Connective tissue.” – Author Eric Weiner• Greatest form of happiness: “intense, optimistic engagement” with the world and people around us … when we are “completely activated as human beings.” – Author & scholar Jane McGonigal
The importance of play Neoteny – “what makes young creatures stretch beyond their capacity ... just to see if they can. That stretching, that enlarging of ability and confidence, is the underlying motivation of all true play.” – Author & sociologist Martha Beck Safety – the polar bear & the huskie, “a marvelous example of how a differential in power can be overridden” by play – Psychiatrist Stuart Brown
So play… & protectsEngages, causes learning, aids mental health
Kranzberg’s 1 law st“Technology is neither good nor bad, nor is it neutral.” (He’s talking about context.)
What we now know...from youth-risk research:Harassment & cyberbullying = most common riskNot all youth are equally at risk A child’s psychosocial makeup & environment are better predictors of online risk than the technology he or she uses No single technological development can solve youth online risk
Types of online safety• Physical safety – freedom from physical harm• Psychological safety – freedom from cruelty, harassment, and exposure to potentially disturbing material• Reputational and legal safety – freedom from unwanted social, academic, professional, and legal consequences that could affect you for a lifetime• Identity, property, and community safety – freedom from theft of identity & property
OS 3.0: A layered approachPrimary: new media literacy & citizenship – all students, grade levels, appropriate subjectsSecondary: more focused prevention e.g., bullying, sexting; taught by experts as needed (situational) & developmentally appropriateTertiary: prevention and intervention for youth already at risk; done by social workers, mental health professionals, etc.
The ‘Net effect’ How the Internet changes the equation... • Persistence & searchability: Net as permanent searchable archive • Replicability: ability to copy and paste from anywhere, to anywhere • Scalability: high potential visibility • Invisible audiences: you never know who’s watching • Blurring of public and private: boundaries not clear AND • Disinhibition: Lack of visual cues reduces empathySource: danah boyd: Taken out ofContext, 2008
What else we know …from youth-risk research: “Youth who engage in online aggressive behavior … aremore than twice as likely to report onlineinterpersonal victimization.” – Archives of Pediatrics, 2007
W hat causes risk? 12 11.3X 10 8 4.6X 6 3.4X 2.3X 2X 4 2 0 ve s s r rs vio ay er he bo ng w ha ot fa ra e be pl g lo st sin e Al ith ul siv as m xw rr es in ba gr se ng Em Ag ng ee lki M Ta“Posting personal information does not by itself increase risk.” --Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 2/07
Teens’ response to strangers"For all Internet problems, the vast majority of [SN] teens either had appropriate reactions or ignored the behavior.” – Prof. Larry Rosen• 92% responded appropriately to sexual solicitation• 90% to harassment• 94% to unwanted exposure to sexual materials
As for predators in social network sites...“There is no evidence predators are stalkingor abducting unsuspecting victims based oninformation they posted in social sites.” – Crimes Against Children Research Center, 3/09
Clear downward trend 25Rate per 10,000 Children (<18) 60% Decline 20 (during the period of the 25 Web’s existence) 20 15 15 10 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 10 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 Confirmed cases of child sexual abuse Source: NCANDS / Finkelhor & Jones
As for other risk factors...“Youth violence is way down, as is teen pregnancy,smoking, alcohol and drug use, suicides, and highschool drop-out rates – whereas civic engagement hasimproved along with youth taking more AP classes inhigh school. Standardized educational achievementscores have either remained steady or improved slightly. Aside from obesity, perhaps, most trends in youthbehavior are moving in a positive direction.” – Prof. Christopher Ferguson, Texas A&M
Understanding ‘cyberbullying’ 1. Willful repeated aggression 2. Embedded in ‘real life’ 3. Power imbalance (sometimes anonymity) 4. Not arguments, angry posts, or drama 5. Bully & target often switch rolesSources: UNH CACRC, ‘07; Agatston, Kowalski, Limber,‘09; Burgess-Proctor, Hinduja, Patchin, ‘09
More cyberbullying facts • About 20% of US teens have ever experienced cyberbullying • Only 10% of cases get reported • Behavioral more than technological • Fluid, fast, hard to escape • Focus on environment: school, not technology • “Cyberbullying” is an adult termSources: UNH CACRC, ‘07; Agatston, Kowalski, Limber,‘09; Burgess-Proctor, Hinduja, Patchin, ‘09
Whole school approach needed “Because a bully’s success depends heavily on context, attempts to prevent bullying should concentrate primarily on changing the context rather than directly addressing the victim’s or the bully’s behavior.” This involves “the entire school community.” – Yale psychology Prof. Alan Yazdin and Carlo Rotella at Boston College
Most kids don’t cyberbullySource: Cox Communications Teen Online & Wireless Safety Survey
Perception => reality:The power of ‘social norming’ Source: Craig & Perkins, Hobart and William Smith Colleges 2008
Reinforcing social normsSource: Assessing Bullying in New Jersey Secondary Schools: Applying the SocialNorms Model to Adolescent Violence: Craig, Perkins 2008
‘Sexting’ defined• Nude or sexually explicit photo-sharing ortext messages• Usually via cellphones, but possible viaother devices and Web• Illegal when involving minors• Overzealous prosecutors have chargedteens with production, possession,distribution of child pornography–felonies
Sexting is actually rare• Teens engaging in sexting a lot less than previously thought• 1% of teens surveyed had created or appeared in sexually explicit pictures• 21% of that 1% reported feeling very or extremely upset, embarrassed, or afraid as a result• 7% have received “nude or nearly nude” photos• 25% of that 7% reported having those negative feelings• Arrest is not typical in youth sexting cases• Researchers’ conclusion: “Appearing in, creating, or receiving sexual images is far from a normative behavior for youth.”
Possible non-legal consequences• Emotional or reputational damage• School discipline• Invisible viewership – can be forwarded to anyone• Potentially searchable on the Web, possibly forever
Our report to Congress, June 2010...“Promote digital citizenship and newmedia literacy in pre-K-12 educationas a national priority.” – Youth Safety on a Living Internet: Report of the Online Safety & Technology Working Group
The pillars of citizenship learning • Infrastructure • Practice • Guidance • AgencyPhoto by Julian Turner
Why citizenship?• It’s protective• Fosters critical thinking• Promotes agency, self-actualization• It turns users into stakeholders – citizens• Supports community well-being & goals• Citizenship is a verb!
The most basic definition “The central task of citizenship is learning how to be good to one another.” – A.J. Patrick Liszkiewicz
Expanded definition (draft)Citizenship: the rights & responsibilities of full, positive engagement in a participatory world• Rights: access & participation, free speech, privacy, physical & psychological safety, safety of material and intellectual property• Responsibilities: respect & civility => self & others; protecting own/others’ rights & property; respectful participation; learning and benefitting from the literacies of a networked world
What’s in it for students?• Safety and support• Power – as agents for social good (online &offline)• Success in social media and life• Opportunities to collaborate with fellowchange agents• Opportunities to co-create the social norms ofsocial media• Professional training & leadershipopportunities online and offline.
‘With great power comes great responsibility’“ As a society, we have spent too much time focused on what media are doing to young people and not enough time asking what young people are doing with media. Rather, we need to embrace an approach based on media ethics, one that empowers young people to take greater responsibility for their own actions and holds them accountable for the choices they make as media producers and members of online communities. – Prof. Henry Jenkins, USC
So Online Safety 3.0 is…• Research-based, not fear-based, so relevant• Flexible, layered – not one-size-fits-all• Respectful of youth agency – stakeholders in making it good, not just potential victims• Positive, empowering: Not just safety from (bad outcomes) but safety for...• Full, constructive engagement in participatory media & society
Thank you! Anne Collier firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com://os3.connectsafely.org
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