Today's story about the Abbotsford teen charged with child luring, extortion, making child pornography and sexual interference, brought several reporters to my office for my views on the situation. Our interviews were brief and to the point, but I would like to more fully express some of my ideas and concerns. First, with this story and many others, I feel we have a confusion of definition. This incident will be called 'cyberbullying' by some. It wasn't. As the criminal charges that were laid against the Abbotsford teen illustrate, this case involved child luring, extortion, making child pornography and sexual interference. Internationally, between 7% and 79% of children report 'being cyber-bullied' because it is a vague term. When youths see this, or other local cases in the media labelled as 'cyberbullying' they think, "nothing like this has happened to me" or "cyberbullying is this extreme". The case in Abbotsford is about cyber abuse. We need to be clear with our youth that while they may experience online drama...regular peer negotiations that don't need to be reported to adults...when they do experience something of an exploitive, sexual, threatening or emotionally distressing nature they do need to come to us. It's abuse, it's illegal and they have the right to protection and safety online. It's important to be very clear when we label online activities so that our youth and children, in turn, are able to identify exactly what they are experiencing. Secondly, many youth report that they don't tell adults about online concerns because they fear losing their technology. This is a tough one for parents but essentially this means that you need to reassure your children that they won't lose their devices if they tell you [...]
When 'A Platform for Good' asked me to write a post for their blog, we were thrilled. Choosing a topic wasn't easy though. So many worthy subjects that we could choose from in our field - Internet Safety. I chose to write about our Youth-2-youth Program, one near and dear to my heart, especially because it incorporates so nicely restorative justice principles.
Life online in the late-nineteen-nineties was fluid. I could be anyone, i could talk to anyone, argue any point of view. They called it the "information superhighway" then and I was working with 'street kids'. My frustration as a youth worker then was that the only people youth seemed to meet online were predators or or pedophiles. The people who care most about youth where NOT the early adopters of the Internet.
I spent fifteen years as a youth worker and when I wrote my first article about children, youth and the internet, the prevailing concerns were about online sexual exploitation and the vulnerabilities inherent in letting children loose in the un-restricted wild west show that was the internet. Then, we were concerned about MSN instant messaging and pedophiles who might lure young people out of their homes to be sexually assaulted.
"Wow! It was a great talk. I wish even more parents had the opportunity to see hear/see it. I hope we can get them to come in to present to our students (at least the older ones)." Toni.
WebweWant was/is published in part, with participation from the European SchoolNet and InSafe, both of which have excellent reputations and track records in this field.
Amongst the sincere sentiments today will be some girls and boys who know that they have sent hurtful or untrue text or humiliated someone online or forwarded a personal message to the whole school or re-shared nude pictures of one of the girls in their school. They too will wear their pink shirts.
Peter Nowak has a great review of the big tech stories in Canada in 2012, including UBB, throttling, the CRTC, lawful access, and copyright reform.
"Is digital technology the savior of education? Or is it the destroyer of education? Or is it both . . . and neither?" Interesting article by Mark Roberts
Whether you've noticed it or not, Facebook has likely changed your brain. You get a rush of dopamine - that same chemical that kicks in when you're rewarded - when you see a notification. An interesting infographic from Best Masters in Psychology details the social network's effect on the brain.