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How Safe Are Our Kids Online?

Fall 2010 talk for parents and school community in Chicago

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How Safe Are Our Kids Online?

  1. 1. How Safe Are Our Kids Online? (and what does ‘safe’ mean , anyway?) Anne Collier Co-director, ConnectSafely.org Editor, NetFamilyNews.org
  2. 2. Net safety as we know it is obsolete <ul><li>Negative and fearful </li></ul><ul><li>One-size-fits-all </li></ul><ul><li>Young people as potential victims </li></ul><ul><li>Technology as problem & solution </li></ul><ul><li>New media a problem too </li></ul><ul><li>Not relevant to “beneficiaries”: kids!! </li></ul>
  3. 3. A living Internet <ul><li>Content is behavioral and... </li></ul><ul><li>Updated in real time by users </li></ul><ul><li>Mirrors real life </li></ul><ul><li>Embedded in “real life” </li></ul><ul><li>Everywhere (not just on computers in controlled spaces) </li></ul><ul><li>Same risk spectrum </li></ul>
  4. 4. Students ’ perspective ‘ Joe’s Non-Netbook’ Science Leadership Academy Philadelphia
  5. 5. What we now know from...
  6. 6. What are they doing in there? <ul><li>Good or normative… </li></ul><ul><li>“ Social producing” </li></ul><ul><li>Learning social rules </li></ul><ul><li>Designing profiles (self-expression) </li></ul><ul><li>Exploring identity </li></ul><ul><li>Writing blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Writing software code </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing/producing music </li></ul><ul><li>Producing & editing videos </li></ul><ul><li>Discussing interests </li></ul><ul><li>Social/political activism </li></ul><ul><li>Keeping in touch with friends long-term </li></ul><ul><li>Risk assessment </li></ul>
  7. 7. What else are they doing in there? <ul><li>Neutral or negative… </li></ul><ul><li>Seeking validation </li></ul><ul><li>Venting </li></ul><ul><li>Showing off </li></ul><ul><li>Embarrassing self </li></ul><ul><li>Damaging reputation </li></ul><ul><li>Pulling pranks </li></ul><ul><li>Getting even </li></ul><ul><li>Threatening </li></ul><ul><li>Harassing </li></ul><ul><li>Bullying </li></ul>
  8. 8. Online socializing reflects ‘real life’ <ul><li>82% of teens 14-17 use social sites now, 55% of 12-to-13-year-olds –Pew, 9/09 </li></ul><ul><li>91% use social sites to stay in touch with friends they see frequently (usually school-related) –Pew, 9/07. </li></ul><ul><li>82% to socialize with friends they rarely see in person (friends & relatives out of state). </li></ul><ul><li>72% to make plans with friends. </li></ul><ul><li>49% to make new friends. </li></ul><ul><li>17% to flirt. </li></ul>Source: Pew Internet & American Life survey 9/09 & 1/07
  9. 9. 2 types of social networking <ul><li>Friendship -driven (84% of 15-25 YOs in a qualitative study at Harvard School of Education) </li></ul><ul><li>Interest -driven (80% involved in “at least one such online community”) </li></ul>Source: Digital Youth Project, November 2008 ...on all devices, fixed and mobile:
  10. 10. Social networking’s progression <ul><li>Hanging out – casual socializing </li></ul><ul><li>Messing around – collaborative tinkering with info, ideas, media </li></ul><ul><li>Geeking out – using media the way artists use their media; more “professional” </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Cellphones are mobile computers with... </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mobile Facebook & MySpace </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Photo- & video-sharing </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Web browsing </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Texting </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Even less adult supervision </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>GPS & ‘social mapping’ </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Mobile phones will be the “ world’s primary tool for connecting to the Ne t” by 2020–Pew. </li></ul>Mobile social tools
  12. 12. Teens prefer texting <ul><li>Texting : 54% of all teens text daily </li></ul><ul><li>Social networking: 26% daily </li></ul><ul><li>1/2 send 50+ texts/day (1,500/mo.) </li></ul><ul><li>1/3 send 100+/day (3,000/mo.) </li></ul><ul><li>Most prolific: Girls 14-17 (100/day) </li></ul><ul><li>Least prolific: Youngest teen boys (20/day) </li></ul>
  13. 13. In other words... © 2010 Columbus Dispatch
  14. 14. Virtual worlds too <ul><ul><ul><li>Global VW population: over 1 billion and half are under 16 – Kzero/10 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>10-15-year-olds the biggest sector (468m) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>15-25-year-olds are No. 2 (288m) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>12/09 FTC report : Little explicit content in child VWs, moderate-to-heavy in teen & adult worlds </li></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 15. What we now know <ul><li>Harassment & cyberbullying = most common risk </li></ul><ul><li>Not all youth are equally at risk </li></ul><ul><li>A child ’s psychosocial makeup & environment are better predictors of online risk than any technology he/she uses </li></ul><ul><li>No single technology can solve youth online risk </li></ul>
  16. 16. Types of Online Safety <ul><li>Physical safety – freedom from physical harm </li></ul><ul><li>Psychological safety – freedom from cruelty, harassment, and exposure to potentially disturbing material </li></ul><ul><li>Reputational and legal safety – freedom from unwanted social, academic, professional, and legal consequences that could affect you for a lifetime </li></ul><ul><li>Identity, property, and community safety – freedom from theft of identity & property </li></ul>
  17. 17. The ‘ Net effect’ <ul><li>How the Internet does change the equation... </li></ul><ul><li>Permanent searchable archive </li></ul><ul><li>Anything can be copied & pasted from anywhere, to anywhere </li></ul><ul><li>High potential visibility </li></ul><ul><li>Invisible audiences: you never know who ’s watching </li></ul><ul><li>Blurry line between public and private </li></ul><ul><li>“ Disinhibition” or anonymity: No visual cues, less empathy </li></ul>Source: danah boyd: Taken out of Context, 2008
  18. 18. What else we know <ul><li>...from youth-risk research: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Youth who engage in online </li></ul><ul><li>aggressive behavior by making rude or nasty comments or frequently embarrassing others are more than twice as likely to report online interpersonal victimization.&quot; </li></ul>
  19. 19. 3.4X “ Posting personal information does not by itself increase risk.” --Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 2/07
  20. 20. Teens ’ response to strangers <ul><li>&quot;For all Internet problems, the vast majority of MySpace teens either had appropriate reactions or ignored the behavior. ” </li></ul><ul><li>– Prof. Larry Rosen </li></ul><ul><li>92% responded appropriately to sexual solicitation </li></ul><ul><li>90% to harassment </li></ul><ul><li>94% to unwanted exposure to sexual materials </li></ul>
  21. 21. As for predators in social network sites... “ There is no evidenc e predators are stalking or abducting unsuspecting victims based on information they posted in social sites.” – Crimes Against Children Research Center, March ’09
  22. 22. Question Has the growth in young people ’s use of the Internet correlated with a rise in sexual abuse against children?
  23. 23. SA Sub 1990-2005* Rate per 10,000 Children (<18) Source: NCANDS / Finkelhor & Jones, 2006 51% Decline ( during the period of the Web ’s existence) Answer: No Confirmed cases of child sexual abuse
  24. 24. Source: FBI & CACRC, 2009 & ‘10 The trend continues <ul><li>“ Substantiated cases of child sexual abuse declined 58% from 1992-2008.” </li></ul><ul><li>Latest data : Child sexual abuse in 2008 was down 6% from the previous year. </li></ul><ul><li>The 2008 figures “add to an already substantial positive long-term trend, especially for sexual and physical abuse.” </li></ul>
  25. 25. As for other risk factors... “ Youth violence is way down , as is teen pregnancy , smoking , alcohol and drug use , suicides , and high school drop-out rates – whereas civic engagement has improved along with youth taking more AP classes in high school. Standardized educational achievement scores have either remained steady or improved slightly.  Aside from obesity, perhaps, most trends in youth behavior are moving in a positive direction.” – Prof. Christopher Ferguson, Texas A&M
  26. 26. What is cyberbullying? <ul><li>Willful repeated aggression </li></ul><ul><li>Associated with real life </li></ul><ul><li>Power imbalance (sometimes anonymity) </li></ul><ul><li>Not just harassment, conflict, or drama </li></ul><ul><li>Bully & target often switch roles </li></ul>Sources: UNH CACRC, ‘07; Agatston, Kowalski, Limber, ‘09; Burgess-Proctor, Hinduja, Patchin, ‘09
  27. 27. More cyberbullying facts <ul><li>Studies all over the map: from 5.9% of teens cyberbullied to 72% (most 15%-35%) </li></ul><ul><li>Only 10% report to adults </li></ul><ul><li>Developmental more than technological problem </li></ul><ul><li>Blurry line between online and offline </li></ul><ul><li>The main environment is school, not technology </li></ul><ul><li>“ Cyberbullying” is an adult term </li></ul>Sources: UNH CACRC, ‘07; Agatston, Kowalski, Limber, ‘09; Burgess-Proctor, Hinduja, Patchin, ‘09
  28. 28. Causes of bullying/cyberbullying <ul><li>Desire to dominate peers </li></ul><ul><li>Need to feel in control </li></ul><ul><li>Deficient sense of remorse </li></ul><ul><li>Refusal to accept responsibility </li></ul><ul><li>Family and/or parental problems </li></ul>
  29. 29. Signs of cyberbullying <ul><li>Loss of friends </li></ul><ul><li>Depression </li></ul><ul><li>Anxiety </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of sleep </li></ul><ul><li>Doesn ’t want to go to school </li></ul><ul><li>Secretive about online activity </li></ul>
  30. 30. What to tell kids facing cyberbullying <ul><li>Don’t react (usually the bully wants) </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t retaliate (could get you in trouble too – or just you) </li></ul><ul><li>Block the bully </li></ul><ul><li>Save the evidence </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to a friend or trusted adult </li></ul><ul><li>Work together to find solutions </li></ul>
  31. 31. ‘ Sexting’
  32. 32. ‘ Sexting ’ defined <ul><li>Nude or sexually explicit photo-sharing or text messages </li></ul><ul><li>Usually via cellphones, but possible via other devices and Web </li></ul><ul><li>Illegal when involving minors </li></ul><ul><li>Overzealous prosecutors have charged teens with production, possession, distribution of child pornography–felonies </li></ul>
  33. 33. How common is sexting? Earliest study reported that 20% of US teens had sent a sexting message. The latest study found 4% had. Received: 15-17% Forwarded: 3% Sources : Harris Interactive/Cox/NCMEC 5/09; AP/MTV 12/09; Pew 12/09 Sent: 4-10%
  34. 34. Possible non-legal consequences <ul><li>Emotional or reputational damage </li></ul><ul><li>School discipline </li></ul><ul><li>Invisible viewership – can be forwarded to anyone </li></ul><ul><li>Potentially searchable on the Web, possibly forever </li></ul>
  35. 35. Why do some kids ‘sext’? <ul><li>Teen “romance” – expression of shared intimacy with partner </li></ul><ul><li>Flirting or relationship currency </li></ul><ul><li>“ Truth or Dare” (normative game gone very wrong) </li></ul><ul><li>Peer pressure </li></ul><ul><li>Revenge ( “revenge porn”) </li></ul><ul><li>Bullying or intimidation ( “pranks”) </li></ul><ul><li>Blackmail </li></ul>
  36. 36. The sexting messages went to... <ul><li>Boyfriend or girlfriend 20% </li></ul><ul><li>Someone had a crush on 21% </li></ul><ul><li>Ex-boyfriend/girlfriend 19% </li></ul><ul><li>Best friend 14% </li></ul><ul><li>Friends 18% </li></ul><ul><li>Someone I don ’t know 11% </li></ul><ul><li>Classmates 4% </li></ul><ul><li>Someone else 14% </li></ul><ul><li>Declined to answer 3% </li></ul>Source: Cox Communications Teen Online & Wireless Safety Survey, 2009
  37. 37. 2% – “Photo was forwarded to an authority figure and I got in trouble.” 1% – “Photo was posted online where many people could see it.” 4% – “The person I sent the photo to threatened to send it to someone else.” 2% – “I accidentally sent the photo to the wrong person.” 2% – “The person I sent the photo to made fun of me.” 2% – “The photo was forwarded to someone I didn't want to see it” Did bad things happen after sexting messages were sent? Source: Cox Communications Teen Online & Wireless Safety Survey, 2009
  38. 38. What should a parent do? <ul><li>Have a family discussion, explain consequences </li></ul><ul><li>If happens... </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Stay calm </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make sure they stop immediately </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If image received, tell them to delete it! </li></ul><ul><li>Talk about whether appropriate to discuss with other parents & teens involved </li></ul><ul><li>Think carefully before involving police (could implicate your own child) </li></ul><ul><li>More advice at ConnectSafely.org/sexting </li></ul>
  39. 39. Whole school approach needed <ul><li>“ 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.” </li></ul><ul><li>– Yale psychology Prof. Alan Yazdin and Carlo Rotella at Boston College </li></ul>
  40. 40. The Illinois approach <ul><li>New law decriminalizes voluntary sexting between minors (passed spring 2010) </li></ul><ul><li>AG’s office launched statewide online-safety training for educators </li></ul><ul><li>AG’s office promoting restorative justice instead of punishment for cyberbullying </li></ul><ul><li>AG’s office is now developing a P2P mediation program </li></ul>
  41. 41. “ 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 Our report to Congress, June 2010...
  42. 42. The most basic definition “ The central task of citizenship is learning how to be good to one another.” – A.J. Patrick Liszkiewicz
  43. 43. Digital citizenship’s... <ul><li>Goal: Full, constructive engagement in participatory media, society and democrtacy </li></ul><ul><li>Responsibilities (besides respect toward others): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Active critical thinking & ethical choices about </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The content and impact of </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What one sees, says, and produces on </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Oneself, others, and one's community. </li></ul></ul>
  44. 44. Net safety from the inside-out <ul><li>3 key takeaways: </li></ul><ul><li>Don ’t let the news scare you. </li></ul><ul><li>Talk with your kid(s) about how they use the Net & phones. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep talking! </li></ul>
  45. 45. Thank you! <ul><li>Anne Collier </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>

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Fall 2010 talk for parents and school community in Chicago

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