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From child exploitation to bubble wrapped kids

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From child exploitation to bubble wrapped kids

  1. 1. From Child Exploitation to Bubble Wrapped Kids Larry Magid Co-Director Creative Commons images from Flickr Safer Internet Day Moscow, February 2012
  2. 2. We’ve come a long way in some countries, but … • There is such a thing as being “too protective” • Risk is inevitable, the question is how to manage it • We need to strike a balance between protection and freedom • Teach critical thinking so that people learn to manage their own risks
  3. 3. As we think about how to protect children, we need to consider the rights of the child "The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child's choice.” Article 13 of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child
  4. 4. We need to understand risk, not exaggerate it • Of course there are risks online, but they are not anything new or special • Pay attention to the research • Include children in the discussion • Understand the limits of regulation and the benefits of education
  5. 5. In the U.S., the rise of the Web has not resulted in increased victimization of children Blue line represents 58% decline in child sex abuse from 1992 to 2008. Source: Updated Trends in Child Maltreatment, 2008: Finkelhor, Jones and Shattuck: Crimes Against Children Research Center
  6. 6. Moving right along The Internet Safety Technical Task Force found that: “Bullying and harassment, most often by peers, are the most salient threats that minors face, both online and offline.” Which lead to …
  7. 7. Cyberbullying Panic!
  8. 8. Cyberbullying is a problem, but most children are neither victims nor monsters • Not every interaction that makes kids uncomfortable is bullying • While some are very vulnerable, most children are reasonably resilient • Across Europe, 6% of 9-to-16-year-old Internet users have been bullied online. 3% confess to having bullied others • Far more have been bullied offline, with 19% saying they have been bullied, and 12% saying them have bullied someone else* * EU Kids Online
  9. 9. Sexting Panic A 2008 survey found that 20% of teens had sent or posted “nude or semi-nude images of themselves” Which led to stories like this:
  10. 10. But a 2011 U.S. study found • 1.3% sent an image where they showed breasts, genitals or someone’s bottom • 2.5% sent an image where they were nude or partially nude Source: Crimes Against Children Research Center, Dec , 2011
  11. 11. Ultimately, the best filter runs between the child’s ears, not on a device or a network Protection that lasts a lifetime Training wheels for young kids
  12. 12. Talk with your children • Parents should talk with their children. Ask the kids about what they do online, what they consider to be the risks and what strategies they’re already using • Don’t overreact if your child tells you about problems online. You want them to feel comfortable bringing issues to your attention
  13. 13. Basic advice for kids & teens Be your own person. Don't let friends or strangers pressure you to be someone you aren't. Be nice online. People who are nasty and aggressive online are at greater risk of being bullied or harassed themselves. Think about what you post. Sharing provocative photos or intimate details online, even in private emails, can cause you problems later on. Passwords are private. Don't share your password even with friends Don't talk about sex with strangers. Don't lead them on - you don’t want to be the target of a predator's grooming Avoid in-person meetings. The only way someone can physically harm you is if you're both in the same location Be smart when using a cellphone. All the same tips apply with phones. Be careful who you give your number to and how you use you’re phone’s camera, location services, apps, and other features Adapted from ConnectSafely’s Social Web Tips for Teens
  14. 14. Thank you! Larry Magid For more see, These slides are online at

Editor's Notes

  • Civilized countries have a long history of protecting children against exploitation and neglect but sometimes they can go too far
  • Harvard Law Berkman force found that the #1 risk peer harassment and bullying. Law enforcement dominates the discussion
  • THESE ARE ALL IMPORTANT BUT VERY GENERAL – CERTAINLY EACH INCIDENT IS UNIQUE AND NEEDS CARING INDIVIDUAL TREATMENT - a full, nonconfrontational, child-caregiver discussion that looks at the situation’s circumstances. The psychological damage can be considerable – some kids have suicidal thoughts.School counselor I spoke with several years ago would find out all the parties involved, get them in a room, and do bully-victim reverse role-playing (empathy training). In families and schools, some of these incidents can be turned into TEACHABLE MOMENTS (maybe anonymized?) for all parties’ benefit.