Online child safety


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Presentation at Hong Kong Child Safety Conference Feb 11 2012

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Online child safety

  1. 1. Online Child SafetyAn ICT Practitioner’s Perspective Charles Mok Internet Society Hong Kong Feb 11 2012
  2. 2. Online Child Safety 1.0 -> 2.0• Web 1.0 – Top-down content-based – Crime, illegal content, pornography – Solutions: primarily by filtering• Web 2.0 – User-created content, social media – “Peer-related harms” – Filtering is not “enough” – Children/youth: from potential victims to possible aggressors/predators
  3. 3. Our Net TodayToday’s Internet Typical RisksSocial media services Privacy concerns- Facebook, Twitter, Weibo, etc. Human flesh search- Forums such as HKGolden- YouTube etc. Cyber-bullying/harassmentSmartphones and Tablets Intellectual property violationsThe Ubiquitous Net- Faster, wider, everywhere Other crimes
  4. 4. How bad things really are?• Some think that the Internet has made everything worse. – E.g. The Police keeps reporting that the number of Internet related crime is rising every year – But what does that prove? • Nothing, except more people use the Internet• The Dilemma of the Digital Native vs. the Digital Immigrant – A matter of power balance and different vantage points – By whose standards?
  5. 5. Myths? Reality?• Example: number of actual confirmed cases of child sexual abuse declined between 1990 and 2005 by 51% in the US* – Growth in young people’s use of the Internet has not coincided with any rise in sexual abuse against young people * NCANDS/Finkelhor & Jones 2006
  6. 6. Can we accept that…• …young people today are smarter than before• …not all young people are equally at risk• Not to understate the problems either – Reach of the Internet – Speed and irreversibility, just to name a couple• How do we tackle the problem areas / individuals but not overstate the issue or adversely affect the proper and positive use of the Internet by the rest of the majority?
  7. 7. “Teach Your Children Well”• Students “given a greater degree of freedom to surf the Internet at school are less vulnerable to online dangers in the long- term.”** UK government watchdog Ofsted (officialbody for inspecting schools)
  8. 8. “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 responsibilities for their own actions and holds them accountable for the choices they make as media producers or as members of online communities” - Prof Henry Jenkins, USC media scholar
  9. 9. Possible Way to Go• Media Literacy and Digital Citizenship – Rights and responsibilities of using the Internet – Our general studies subject is already out-of-sync at its start? – Does teachers, parents, and other stakeholders truly understand what to do to help children? – The very nature of the Internet calls for citizenship • Bottom-up • “No one owns the Internet” (we all own the Internet) • Internet governance model is based on multistakeholderism
  10. 10. The ICT Industry Perspective• 1.0: Passive – Driven by liabilities and short-term cost considerations – Corporate social citizenship is almost by nature passive and even forced by regulations• 2.0: More active – Reputation risks (partly as a result of social media) – Short- to Long-term cost consideration, partly due to more regulatory requirements • Evident in intellectual property regulations
  11. 11. What are the Gaps?• Understanding what online child safety is – Regulation vs Education?• Dr Fu mentioned Multistakeholderism – Experience from IGF Rio de Janeiro• Roles and engagement of: – Parents and Teachers – Policymakers and Government – Industry – NGOs – Last but not least: Children themselves!
  12. 12. Thank you!Charles MokInternet Society Hong Kongmok@isoc.hkFacebook: Charles Mok BTwitter: @charlesmokSina Weibo: