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Online Safety 3.0

Online Safety 3.0



A talk I gave at the 2010 National School Boards Assoc. conference. The tagline for Online Safety 3.0: Empowering and Protecting Youth

A talk I gave at the 2010 National School Boards Assoc. conference. The tagline for Online Safety 3.0: Empowering and Protecting Youth



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  • 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, covering kid-tech dev ’ts since ‘97. Co-director of ConnectSafely.org Served on the Harvard Berkman Center Task Force of 2009 This past year, co-chaired the first online safety task force under the Obama administration, the Online Safety & Tech Working Grp The NSBA asked me to talk with you about Online Safety 3.0, which is the latest, research-based thinking on youth safety on the fixed AND mobile social Web, what our Working Group called the LIVING Internet. SO let ’s start this journey with the media shift we’re experiencing right now and where I’m coming from….
  • 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 .
  • This was the mid- ’90s, more than a decade and a half 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 RL. 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 knows 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.” If we adults feel uneasy, it ’s understandable ... we’re in good company. Prof. Shirky said the INTERNET does two revolutionary things: 1) blends real-time two-way conversation and one-to-many mass media to create real-time, many -to-many media, moving in all directions and USER-produced ... and 2) this Internet is the distribution pipe and platform for all media. But I'd say it's a triple revolution . Because, in addition to Shirky ’s 2 revolutions the third is that media are now SOCIAL – or behavioral . [ If we ’re nervous about these changes, we’re not alone. Technophobia goes WAY back: Socrates had a phobia about new media. He was bothered by the invention of books , which he thought would ‘create forgetfulness ’ because we would rely on ‘external written characters’ to remember.” . So of course new-media phobia & resistance to change are nothing new!] ["How social media can make history" ]
  • 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.” [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
  • That was the title of the report we sent to Congress last June: “Youth Safety on a Living Internet” (http://www.netfamilynews.org/?p=29092) – the report of the task force I co-chaired this past year, the Online Safety & Technology Working Group. Why did we call it the living Internet? • “ Content" on today's Internet is entirely different from what it was in the media environment where we grew up . [[[[[[SIF in LUX: It ’s behavioral, or social – a living thing because it mirrors, in realtime, 24 hrs/day, 7 days/wk around planet , a significant proportion of humanity’s learning, production, sociality, and behavior , as people update it millions of times a day . Just the Facebook – the 600 lb gorilla of the social Web – now with more than 500m users in every country in the world – users add more than 30 billion pieces of their lives every month (in the form of comments, photos, Web links, blog posts, videos, etc.), Facebook told me. That’s just 1 example of why the Internet is now a living thing. Mobile phones, now as full-blown computers and social tools with much more uptake globally, only make it more so. ]]]]]]] But it ’s not just “out there,” mirroring everyday human life, and not just all around us on a growing variety of mobile devices. Our online experiences are embedded in everyday life, not something separate or added on. Young ppl – especially – make less and less of a distinction between online and offline. It’s all just life . • What that means is a very different notion of risk and safety than what parents heard in the first 10+ years of online safety. Because young people ’s online experiences are grounded in real life , the online risk spectrum matches that of real life.
  • 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, really, 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. (More on flexible and layered later.) 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. [OPTIONAL: In both Germany and Italy, I learned last fall, when I attended the Safer Internet Forum in Luxembourg – where I ’m headed right after this talk, actually - 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!!]
  • 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 more than three years ago, 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.... [OPTIONAL:] 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 -gradecommunic.-arts 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” “ 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 social networking, but social producing and creative networking, not just playing games & navigating virtual worlds but conducting meetings, negotiating, strategizing, community building, learning economics.... 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. [OPTIONAL:] 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....
  • ...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 .] [OPTIONAL:] 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 -- 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 in the cultural environment around them.
  • 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.] 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)
  • It ’s a mistake to think social networking is either a single activity and even more of a mistake to think it’s a waste of time, as many people of my generation seem to believe. According to a 2010 German study, although many teens can have Facebook running in the background all day long, it hasn’t replaced offline interests http://www.netfamilynews.org/?p=29448 ). 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) “ Youth engage in peer-based, self-directed learning online. In both friendship-driven and interest-driven online activity, youth 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. Through trial and error, youth add new media skills to their repertoire, such as how to create a video or game, or customize their MySpace page. 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. Contrary to popular images, 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. Geeking out in many respects erases the traditional markers of status and authority” (Digital Youth Project summary http://digitalyouth.ischool.berkeley.edu/files/report/digitalyouth-TwoPageSummary.pdf and a review of it ).
  • 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.” [NEXT SLIDE] [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.”]
  • Of course YP ’s social tools include a lot more than social networking! KZERO (VW mkt researchers in the UK) just announced there are more than 1 billion VW accts worldwide, half of them held by people under 16 http://www.betterverse.org/2010/10/kzero-over-1-billion-virtual-world-users-half-under-age-16.html Other research found that... 39% of 3 rd -grade girls are in VWs (Webkinz, Poptropica, BarbieGirls.com, StarDoll.com, and Disney ’s ClubPenguin and Pixie H.) 2009 FTC report on VWs: “ Although little explicit content appeared in child-oriented virtual worlds, a moderate to heavy amount appeared in virtual worlds designed for teens and adults ” http://ftc.gov/opa/2009/12/virtualworlds.shtm .
  • This is graphic from KZERO http://www.kzero.co.uk/blog/?p=4471 is hard to read , but NONE of all those colorful bubbles represents a virtual world with fewe r than 1 million users. It does show the top virtual worlds for 10-to-15-year-olds worldwide right now (3rdQ 2010): Stockholm-based Stardoll is No. 1, with 69 million registered users worldwide. Nickelodeon ’s Neopets is No. 2 at 63m and Disney’s Club Penguin third with 47m. LEGO Universe is the newcomer everyone’s watching (Helsinki-based Habbo is No. 1 among 15-to-25-year-olds).
  • 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, 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%). PEW: “Beyond the cell phone, teens have other arenas for digital communication with their friends. More than a quarter of all teens (26%) reported using social network sites such as Facebook or MySpace to socialize or communicate with their friends daily, while another 38% of all teens never use this form of interaction. Social network sites are used for interpersonal interaction, but also to organize larger events, while the cell phone is for more personal interaction. One high school girl in the focus groups said, "I think Facebook is really [more] dominant than the phone for like, big activities. For just hooking up with friends, I’m on the phone." Pew/Internet: April 2010
  • There are more than 300,000 apps for the iPhone now – productivity apps, game apps, shopping apps, news & info apps – ...and more than 100,000 for phones with Google ’s Android OS [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 . ]
  • So given how mobile the social Web is – how it can be accessed from a pocket ... Given what Rosalind Wiseman said about filtering in school ... do we give up on filtering? Of course not. But let ’s think about where the focus needs to be! WE ’RE ALL IN THE FILTER DEVELOPMENT BUSINESS!! We’re developing the best filter of all – the cognitive filter between students’ ears! A 2010 study by the British gov ’t education regulatory body, Ofsted found that children’s have greater online safety in the long term when school filtering is more managed than locked-down and they focus on helping students do their own critical thinking and risk assessment. The cognitive filter that media literacy develops is not just for academic success. IT’S PROTECTIVE in today’s very mobile, highly interactive media environment. http://www.netfamilynews.org/?p=28736
  • 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/
  • 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.
  • But not just levels ... Also KINDS of online safety.... because online safety maps to “real life,” where there are many kinds of safety. Look at 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).
  • So we ’ve all heard, “IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A CHILD.” Well, because online experiences are embedded in real life, Internet safety takes a village too. This is just a partial list. I think it ’s important to understand now that, if “Internet safety” is itself a field of expertise (and you heard it right – the online-safety advocate questioning whether this is really a field of expertise) – if it is, it’s certainly not the only expertise needed, because the Internet is not some sort of new, separate thing added onto the rest of their lives. [See “Online Safety 3.0” http://os3.connectsafely.org “ It takes a village...” is widely cited as an African proverb; it was popularized in the United States by First Lady Hillary Clinton when her book, It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us, was published in 1996.]
  • 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. This is when I realized 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. Here ’s the chart.... http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/161/2/138 [See also: “Digital risk, digital citizenship” .]
  • [The risk affecting the most youth:] Note the breakdown, here: aggressive behavior toward peers, embarrassing peers – but then not just peer-to-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 – isn ’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 – that’s like saying “be careful, be afraid about what can happen in your social life.”
  • 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 CACRC 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. 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" id=11e993adec902c4f&a=v&pli=1>.
  • 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 
Going even further, USATODAY 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 ]
  • So here ’s the question that has been on a lot of parents’ concerned minds....
  • 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. 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…
  • When they added in the latest figure (2008), the downward trend in overall child sexual victimization – which includes Internet-related cases – continues, with a 6% decline from 2007 to 2008, making the overall decline from 1992 a very substantial 58%.... “ Updated Trends in Child Maltreatment, 2008” More on the long-term picture at CACRC site
  • 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).” He said in an email to me that “All [the above] compared to scores from 15-20 years ago when it might have been reasonable to worry greatly about youth.“ 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 .]
  • First, what is it? The technical definition is: 1) It ’s digital aggression related to "real life” or school life, 2) it’s not a single action, but repeated aggression (one-on-one or many-on-one), and 3) there’s a psychological or physical power imbalance between the bully and the targeted kid. 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 to anybody who tries to make someone else feel bad about themselves. The thing is, all of this behavior can be made much worse if expressed online, where it can have a huge audience, instantly. [Very dramatic 10.5-min. UK version (CEOP) here ]
  • This technical (academic) definition usually applies to the most egregious cases, the ones in the news. 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” 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. It ’s important to see that it’s generally way under-reported . Kids say that’s because they feel they’re supposed to work these things out themselves, but also that they fear getting an adult involved can make things even worse (fear of social isolation, a very real fear). It ’s also important to see that it’s about behavior, not technology. Cyberbullying is not a problem because of computers and the Internet. It’s a behavioral problem. The Net can amplify things, though. 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, and look how little WE understand it? A few years ago it was meaningless to them; now they ’re hearing us use it, and they’re smart – they hear our fear and concern.
  • 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: [READ SLIDE] 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 expulsion and school-wide academic achievement (p. 855).” In an email from Dr. Patti Agatston in an Atlanta school district: “Sue 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 if 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.”
  • Let ’s look at this chart for a moment. It’s the recent Cox Teen Online & Wireless Safety Survey. It’s a little hard to read on a big 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.” 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?
  • Because perception affects – 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 and 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, actually, 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”: Profs. 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.
  • Canada now has a national day, Feb. 23, because of two good guys. In 2007 at their high school in Nova Scotia, Travis Price and David Shepherd. Who were. seniors, noticed a freshman boy was being picked on for wearing a pink shirt – they figured “ that ’ s enough … gotta help the kid out, ” David told NBC News. So they went out and bought a whole bunch of pink shirts and started wearing them. Soon hundreds of students at their High School were wearing pink too. Then – if it wasn ’ t already viral – the idea spread to more than 60 schools in Nova Scotia and then all over Canada. Even early in that process, though, once the story was online, Travis and David were getting emails from other countries, including Germany, Spain, and Taiwan. [NBC 2006 story 2:50 – (comes w/ ad, can ’t convert) http://dai.ly/aJX4fc ] http://www.pinkshirtday.ca/ http://www.youthhealthsafety.org/BullyNJweb.pdf
  • From Bulgaria ’s “Think B4 You Post” campaign Shows how universal youth online risk is (you don ’t need to speak Bulgarian to get the message!). [Very dramatic 10.5-min. new UK version (CEOP) here ]
  • 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
  • Here ’s the data picture after several studies. 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” – what we really need to focus on in online safety going forward. This is about trust and respect – for self and others. Pew – which looked only at sexting as photos shared on phones – also found that 1) older teens are more likely to engage in sexting, 2) there was no gender difference, 3) more intense cellphone users are more likely to receive sext messages, and sexting is higher among kids not on family cellphone plans (e.g., who pay for their own phones or have stealth phones a boy or girlfriend gave them). How young people view sexting is complex & individual: those who ’ve engaged in it see it as everything from "hot” ... and "trusting”... to "uncomfortable”... and "slutty," and those who don't engage in it call it "gross," "uncomfortable," and "stupid.” A STUDY BEING UNVEILED IN EUROPE LATER THIS WK FOUND THAT ABOUT THE SAME % OF YOUNG NET USERS IN 23 EUR. COUNTRIES HAD RCVD. SEXTING IMAGES (15%) AND ONE-EIGHTH OF THOSE YP HAD BEEN “FAIRLY OR VERY UPSET” BY SEXTING IMAGES. http://www.netfamilynews.org/2009/06/sexting-picture-bit-clearer-maybe.html , links to Cox/Harris Interactive survey 12/09 AP/MTV study on digital abuse that includes sexting: http://www.netfamilynews.org/2009/12/new-study-on-digital-abuse-youth.html (links to study exec summ) 12/09 Pew study http://www.netfamilynews.org/2009/12/sexting-new-study-truth-or-dare.html
  • 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 the 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 this case reported in the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/27/us/27sexting.html . The story does a good job of showing the difficulty schools, courts and lawmakers have in dealing with this broad range of motivations and outcomes appropriately! See also excellent coverage of a court ’s dilemma in Ars Technica . http://www.connectsafely.org/Safety-Tips/tips-to-prevent-sexting.html
  • The range of motivations – from developmentally normative adolescent behavior ... to malicious intent ... to criminal intent E.g., “Revenge porn” in UrbanDictionary.com – “Homemade porn uploaded by ex-girlfriend or (usually) ex-boyfriend after particularly vicious breakup as a means of humiliating the ex or just for own amusement” E.g., “Truth or Dare” – remember that classic middle school rite-of-passage sort of game? Rosalind Wiseman of Queen Bees & Wannabes tells of how, up until a few years ago, when 7 th and 8 th grade girls played it at slumber parties, there were no serious consequences, but now – when it’s “I dare you to take a naked photo of yourself and send it to the boy you like” and the girl does it because of all that peer pressure from their homies – the consequences can be very serious! In its study, the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that sexting is more common among older teens and usually occurs between romantic partners to start or maintain a relationship, less frequently as a “joke” or “for fun.” [NEXT SLIDE] My blog post: http://www.netfamilynews.org/2009/12/sexting-new-study-truth-or-dare.html Annie Fox interview of Rosalind Wisemand http://blog.anniefox.com/2009/12/07/podcast-queen-bees-go-hi-tech/ “ Sexting: The peer pressure factor”
  • 90% of teens surveyed who ’d sent sext messages said “nothing bad happened” as a result, so It’s helpful to keep in mind that – though the potential impacts can be horrendous (from serious emotional harm to sex offender registries) – the vast majority of incidents had little impact, thank goodness. At the conference, someone asked if kids always knew if something bad happened. I ’m not sure the research went into that, but I think they would know. It would get back to them if the consequences were bad.
  • What does the school community need to focus on? Citizenship, both digital and real-world. Because so much of our children ’s time is spent in school, school is the 2 nd most important environment (after home) for them to learn and practice good citizenship online and offline. 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.”
  • 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. Anyway, in school, citizenship and literacy learning have... 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. the educational VW Quest Atlantis ’s 7 Social Commitments Practice – Citizenship is a verb; the more opportunities students 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 Guidance/support/teaching/moderation – This role can be played by a teacher, peer mentors, and fellow classmates Children need safe, supervised spaces for practicing good citizenship, respect for self and others, civility – how to function well in community Developing citizenship is developing safety. Benefits – core values => social efficacy, civic engagement, trust, collaboration, the comfort of community, being able to function well in community More than engagement – it ’s about civic efficacy, feeling like they can make a difference It ’s about developing dispositions (e.g., a disposition toward math, so math empowers them). Our aim is to develop a disposition toward citizenship.
  • NOT JUST NICE. 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’re key to their own well-being and that of their peers and communities online and offline. 4 th – stakeholders, citizens, agents for social good 5 th – Citizens are invested in the community, and in community, anonymity goes away and accountability takes hold. But it ’s tough to learning online citizenship without opportunities to practice it, and digital citizenship needs a digital – a social media environment (wikis, blogs, VWs, etc.) to be practiced in – which is why we at ConnectSafely strongly advocate the use of educational social media in school. 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” ]
  • BUT LET ’S NOT MAKE THIS 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.” IT ’S SO IMPORTANT NOT TO COMPLICATE THIS. Digital citizenship is not a brand-new, daunting thing requiring professional development for teachers and a whole new course or curriculum for students. Parents and educators have all actually – truly – been teaching it for generations in homes and schools all over the world! [See also: “Digital risk, digital citizenship” .]
  • As for the DIGITAL kind of citizenship, that shouldn ’t be complicated either. Here’s a suggested definition.... When we talk about citizenship, people often reflexively, rightfully say “rights and responsibilities.” So in this case, we’re talking about the rights and responsibilities of full, constructive engagement in participatory media. I talked earlier about the rights part [SLIDE 24] – freedom from physical and psychological harm online, for example. Here are some of the responsibilities [on slide] Do you see media literacy playing a role here? Media literacy and digital citizenship are melting into each other now – because media are behavioral, or social, and digital citizenship, by definition, occurs in media....
  • 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. ”
  • S o, to summarize, a Version 3.0 school board …. http://os3.connectsafely.org Respectful safety tips available free for downloading and printing out, left-hand side of this page: http://www.connectsafely.org/safety-tips-and-advice.html

Online Safety 3.0 Online Safety 3.0 Presentation Transcript