WELCOME! A little bit about who I am and why I ’m here.... Editor & founder of Net Family News, Inc., which I started in 1999. Co-director of ConnectSafely.org Co-chaired the first online safety task force under the Obama administration, the Online Safety & Tech Working Grp, in 2010 Served on the Harvard Berkman Center Task Force of 2009 Online Safety 3.0 represents the most current, research-based thinking on youth safety on the fixed AND mobile social Web, what our Working Group called the LIVING Internet.
Let ’s take a quick look at what we know now from the youth-online-risk research. A task force I served on in 2008, the Harvard Berkman Center’s ISTTF, released its report (http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/pubrelease/isttf/) just 6 mos. before the next one got under way (these were the 1 st national-level panels in the US that examined youth risk other than exposure to inappropriate content). These were the Berkman task force’s key findings after a full review of the youth-risk literature in North America thru ‘08. Harassment & bullying are the risk that affects the most youth. High overlap between online/offline harassment, with high frequency of targets and aggressors switching roles & 2 types of “bullies”: socially marginalized and socially connected. [Bullying not to be confused w/ conflict .] 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. High correlation between risky behavior offline and risky behavior online; online risk spectrum maps to offline one. 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 I,s age verification technology, which is what we were charged with focusing on, can ’t solve the very rare predator problem on which the state AGs who formed our task force focused. And – with P2P harassment & bullying the most salient risk – separating youth and adults online, the aim of age verification, would only increase Lord of the Flies conditions.
This was a revelation to me back in 2007, when I first read it in the medical journal, ARCHIVES OF PEDIATRICS & ADOLESCENT MEDICINE. Of course this is true of adults as well. This is when I realized, well before the ISTTF’s lit review, what a big risk factor young people’ s own behavior is – in the contexts of both bullying and predation – how they are necessarily stakeholders in their own well-being online, as well as that of their peers and communities. 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>.]
I talked about this a bit yesterday, so if you were in that session, pls bear with me…. “Safety” is being redefined by today’s Net and media environment. What we know from the social-media body of research (which informed the OSTWG task force, 2009-’10): Content is social / behavioral &… Updated in real time by users Internet is everywhere (fixed and mobile, on multiplying types of devices) Mirrors real life – self-expression, sociality, communication, entertainment, research, creativity, etc. Embedded in “real life” Risk spectrum same as offline’ s In Facebook alone – now with more than 600m users in every country in the world, 30 billion pieces of content are posted by its members every month (comments, photos, Web links, blog posts, videos, etc.) and 100 million photos a day . These are pieces of everybody ’s live, shared as they live them. Implications : –Very different notions of media use, of content, and of risk and safety than what parents heard in the first 10 years of the Web and OS. –Users themselves are their own and each other’s best safeguards – stakeholders in their own, each other’s and their communities’ well-being –Safety/privacy are, by the Net’s nature now, shared responsibilities, sometimes a negotiation, and young people have to understand these properties of OS in order to exercise their powers and responsibilities, and.... –Digital, social, and media literacy become paramount (dig cit as umbrella for these).
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. Let ’s 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 [os3.connectsafely.org]
Online safety is not monolithic, any more than the safety of offline life is. HERE ARE THE FORMS OF SAFETY WE ALL DESERVE (you may think of more, so let us know what they are!): 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). [Note how these freedoms suggest the rights of citizens (digital or not).]
SO WHAT IS Net safety 3.0 – HOW DO WE MAKE OUR MESSAGING RELEVANT TO THE NET ’s MOST AVID USERS? By basing it on research – on REALITY, how they actually use these tools in their lives – NOT just their social lives.... How effective is it to say to young people: “The media you find so compelling are bad ... rife with predators, cyberbullies, and other dangers” – you are a potential victim, and there’s little you can do about that? No. We need to help them understand how civil, respectful behavior protects and empowers them as well as supports their communities, online and offline. Our messaging really only makes sense to them when put in the positive context in which they view new media – not always safety FROM bad stuff but safety FOR the outcomes you (young people) want : Safety maximizes your full, constructive, successful participation in an increasingly participatory culture, society and democracy. [See “Online Safety 3.0: Empowering & Protecting Youth,” summer 2009 http://os3.connectsafely.org .] [In both Germany and Italy, I learned, when I attended the Safer Internet Forum in Luxembourg in 2009 – teaching Internet safety = teaching “tech skills, media skills, and life skills.” We can also think of it as tech literacy, media literacy, and life literacy – pre-K thru 12!!] “ Full, positive engagement in participatory media, culture, and society” is where digital citizenship comes in….
In a study of all parties involved in school bullying – aggressor, target, and bystanders – Dr. Ian Rivers at Brunel University in the UK found that just witnessing bullying at school predicted risks to mental health over and above the risks to students directly involved in the bullying, that powerlessness is a significant predictor of mental health risk, and suggests that “whole school” (involving the full community) is more effective than localized or individual interventions.” “ Observing Bullying at School: The Mental Health Implications of Witness Status” < www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/spq-24-4-211.pdf>, Ian Rivers, Brunel U., Nathalie Noret, York St. John University, V. Paul Poteat, Boston College, Nigel Ashurst Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust in School Psychology Quarterly 2009 While probing for ethical thinking in a study of young people aged 15-25, some Harvard University researchers heard this sobering comment from one young respondent: “Most of the time when people see something online, their main reaction is to laugh because most of the stuff on the Internet you have no sway over at all, so you just laugh and move on.” That, said Carrie James, the Harvard GoodPlay Project’s research director at this week’s Social Good Summit (see the video at Mashable , sums up “two sentiments we heard from a lot of young people”: 1) “the Internet is simply for fun” (therefore inconsequential, that teen is saying), and 2) “they feel a lack of efficacy online – if they see something unsettling they tend to ignore it or move on because they don’t feel they can change anything online.” [I believe that's partly a by-product of constant messaging from adults in households, schools, and the news media that youth are potential victims of online dangers, rather than active agents for change and social good online. It's also a by-product of blocking new media from school and leaving young people largely on their own in new media.]
Perception not only affects but predicts reality , two profs. at Hobart/William Smith, David Craig and Wesley Perkins, found. They wrote 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 and support bullying.” 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…. [ next slide ] 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”: Profs. David W. Craig and Wesley Perkins, Hobart and William Smith Colleges 2008 http://www.youthhealthsafety.org/BullyNJweb.pdf
This is one of the posters used in the N.J. schools Profs. Craig and Perkins studied – not as the total solution but to reinforce what students were helped to see: most kids aren ’t mean to others. Instead of allowing the misunderstanding that bullying was normative or an “epidemic,” as we hear too much in the news, students were told the truth. And as the misunderstanding went down, so did bullying behavior. It was already relatively low, but when students SAW that, it went down even more. Posters like this remind everybody that taking CARE of each other is the norm. Of course just putting up posters does nothing if everybody in the community – administrators, staff, and students – isn ’t encouraged to model and demonstrate throughout the day that “our community is a respectful one.”
Digital citizenship is certainly not the all of Internet safety. There are LEVELS of online safety – or online risk prevention, callibrated to levels of risk, individuality of Net use, and different cases or situations. Digital literacy and citizenship is BASELINE (PRIMARY) online-safety instruction for all youth, pre-K-12. It embraces online safety – teaches the baseline literacies (tech, media & social literacy) that help prevent online dangers – and lay the groundwork for the targeted prevention and intervention needed for risky situations or at-risk youth (Secondary and Tertiary levels). What the risk-prevention community in the US (researchers and practitioners focused on bullying and cyberbullying prevention) is finding is that, because online risk maps to offline risk, online safety needs the same Levels of Prevention that the fields of (offline) risk prevention and public health have in this country. Online risk is part of the spectrum of risks that the public health field needs to address. Online safety is logically a public health issue. So digital citizenship (which includes new media literacy) is baseline – or universal PRIMARY – prevention and protection for all youth. The other levels: SECONDARY : More specialized or targeted prevention that focuses on specific risks such as bullying, eating disorders, substance abuse, etc . Secondary is also situational – specific education applied, for example, when there ’s an incident at school. TERTIARY : Specialized prevention AND intervention for youth with established patterns of risk behaviors that are already disrupting their lives. So the risk-prevention specialists, social workers, and mental healthcare practitioners who work with at-risk youth need training in the social media and technologies young people use so they can do their prevention and intervention work with the communications tools young people use all the time.
The OSTWG, which I had the honor of co-chairing, aimed to raise awareness in Congress of the important protective features of digital citizenship to active young users of participatory media and technologies – and the need to teach and model it in school. Because so much of young people ’s time is spent in school and focused on school work and sociality, school is a key environment for learning and practicing good citizenship online as well as offline. Here ’s what the OSTWG 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” <http://www.ntia.doc.gov/reports/2010/OSTWG_Final_Report_060410.pdf> This recommendation is partially based on this finding in Archives of Pediatrics in 2007 ( http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/161/2/138 ): Youth who engage in aggressive behavior online are more than twice as likely to be victimized online.
NOT JUST A NICE ADDITION to online safety or extra layer – in the same way that online activity, to youth, is not just an add-on to life. 1 st bullet: Protective because it promotes civility, while disrespect and aggression have the opposite effect – that Archives of Pediatrics finding again ( 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 & privacy (see 2010 Ofsted study linked to here <http://www.netfamilynews.org/?p=28736). 3 rd – Agency is the kernel & substance of citizenship &civ. engagement. [See: “Why digital citizenship is a hot topic” http://www.netfamilynews.org/?p=29466 and “Digital risk, digital citizenship” http://www.netfamilynews.org/2009/05/digital-risk-digital-citizenship.html] 4 th – In a highly interactive, participatory environment, users are necessarily stakeholders & citizens, not just passive consumers and potential victims. 5 th – Citizens are invested in the community; anonymity goes away and accountability takes hold. Digital citizenship is a verb - students need opps to practice assessing risk and acting as citizens online as well as offline – which is why we at ConnectSafely strongly advocate the use of educational social media in school. THE GOAL : to support youth self-actualization/agency by helping them see the power they have to protect themselves & their public image online, to collab. in better collective experiences online & to help peers improve their experience . Youth as active agents for their own and the social good (career training!) .
It can and should be just that simple, which is why this is actually NOT hard to teach and practice (contrary to what the online-safety field tends to suggest). Parents and educators have always taught citizenship, respect for self and others, pre-K-12 and at home, online and offline. The basic message being: THIS IS ABOUT BEHAVIOR – HUMANITY – NOT TECHNOLOGY. Two psychology professors at Williams College wrote recently: “ 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> [See also: “Digital risk, digital citizenship” <http://www.netfamilynews.org/2009/05/digital-risk-digital-citizenship.html>.] Quote linked to here: artist, writer, SUNY Buffalo instructor) A.J. Patrick Liszkiewicz in a talk about a social game in Facebook (Farmville) <http://www.netfamilynews.org/?p=28792>.
BUT IF IT WOULD BE HELPFUL TO DEFINE IT A LITTLE MORE, here’s one possibility: Online citizenship is the rights & responsibilities of full, successful engagement in an increasingly participatory media environment, culture, and world. OR: Full, healthy, meaningful participation in the digital discourses of a networked world The rights might include (above)… The responsibilities might include… 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. 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>.]
So what are the conditions needed for instruction?... Infrastructure – the infrastructure can be physical or online: 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. the educational VW Quest Atlantis ’s 7 Social Commitments (children need safe, supervised spaces for practicing good citizenship, respect for self and others, civility – how to function well in community) Guidance/support/teaching/moderation – This role can be played by teachers, librarians, peer mentors, parents, church/synagogue/mosque leaders, fellow classmates Practice – Citizenship is a verb ; the more opportunities students have to practice citizenship online and offline in and out of 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 MORE than engagement – it ’s about civic efficacy, gaining the understanding that we can make a difference and learning how.
Here are the five aspects I’ve seen discussed in a number of countries, forums, and research studies: Participation or civic engagement – including social or community activism online Norms of behavior, often called &quot;good citizenship&quot; or etiquette Rights and responsibilities – what immediately comes to mind for a lot of people when they hear the word “citizenship” A sense of membership or belonging (not Net as whole but one’s comm.) [LITERACIES:] I first heard this trifecta talked about at the Safer Internet Forum in Luxembourg in 2009, and it made huge sense to me. I see these literacies, really, as melting into each other in a digital age, where sociality happens in digital media supported by digital technologies: digital or technical literacy, media literacy, and social literacy. I suggest these amount to much greater safety and lower risk for individuals of all ages, communities, personal property (intellectual, software, hardware), and networks. These literacies apply critical thinking about the use and impacts of technology, information, and behvavior. But I think many people don’t feel they would provide children with enough protection. I’ll leave that question with you.
… They ’re learning how to function well in community – social efficacy, the importance of respect and trust, collaboration, and finding the comfort and support of community. The bottom line: self-actualization for digitally informed life (online and offline) [And what ’s in it for adults? Eases the excessive sense of responsibility we’ve taken upon ourselves, based on the outdated (in today’s media environment, increasingly unsupported) 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. They – what they choose to say, do, post, share, produce – determine how good or bad the experience is (their own and that of their peers and communities online and offline). So they’re not actually just users or even producers, but 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.
YOU can’t have citizenship without the citizens – people who desire to be such. They have to own it. So I agree with Drs. Amanda Third & Jess Strider that… [ draft report (as yet untitled) emailed as a Word doc 9/1/11 by Amanda Third, senior lecturer, School of Humanities and Languages, Centre for Cultural Research, University of Western Sydney] Janice Richardson of European Schoolnet said on our panel at the IGF that students deserve more exposure to human rights and citizenship – and I would add Internet governance – in school so that they are prepared for the growing global discussion as adults. I wholeheartedly agree.
Digital citizenship, briefly Anne Collier Executive Director, Editor NetFamilyNews.org Co-director ConnectSafely.org
“ Promote digital citizenship in pre-K-12 education as a national priority.” – Youth Safety on a Living Internet: Report of the Online Safety & Technology Working Group To U.S. Congress, June 2010...
“ If the notion of digital citizenship in policy discourse is to have traction with its constituents and prove effective, it is vital that our understanding and use of the term be directly informed by young people ’ s
values and insights. ” --Third & Strider, University of Western Sydney