This has long been the approach of Safe Online where we appraoch the Internet and Internet Safety from a place of possibility and positivity rather than negativity and scare tactics. Heres a great article from the Independant.ie that delves a little deeper. Parents should try to encourage conversations about what sites and apps their children access and who they're connecting with. This dialogue is essential to keeping our kids safe online. We need a more balanced and less fear-based approach to internet safety, writes Dr. Rachel O'Connell. - Read the full article
Today, Merlyn Horton, our ED for SOLOS, was asked to do an interview with CTV News at Six, as a breaking story emerged regarding online predators and internet luring of children. In the following interview with CTV reporter Julia Foy, Merlyn speaks about protecting children from internet luring and gives advice regarding the dangers of accepting friend requests online from unfamiliar or unknown people. http://bc.ctvnews.ca/convicted-child-lurer-caught-with-phony-facebook-account-1.914449
Giving is Receiving is a Vancouver, BC-based blog dedicated to shining a light on the numerous non-profit and charitable organizations in the Metro Vancouver area. Recognizing the spirit of generosity in most of these organizations, the author behind the blog—retired lawyer Patricia Sandberg—aims to make use of her newly-found time by acknowledging the often-unheralded work people do to make our communities better. Paying it forward, in other words. With this in mind, she recently discussed the Safe Online Education Associates. In a fairly lengthy overview of SOLOS's work, Ms Sandberg begins with a quote from our website: “Predators online are actively recruiting young people for exploitation in the street sex trade as well as manipulating young children into producing digital images of themselves which are then used as stimulation for pedophilic fantasies. All British Columbian youth are at-risk due to the newness of the medium, the lack of parental knowledge about online risks and lack of training to professionals about this emerging form of exploitation”. She then goes on to link to her own recent articles about Canadians who wrestle with child exploitation both home and abroad. The rest is her summary of a conversation she had with Merlyn Horton. Among other things, they discuss the unique challenges the internet poses for First Nations youth, and the insidiousness of newer recruiting methods in which youth in very small communities can be more easily targeted and groomed for the sex trade than ever before. Isolation and social deprivation, as well as the relative lack of visibility compared to the street trade makes these young people especially vulnerable. They also cover sexting, with the following pragmatic advice highlighted: Don’t talk about sex online. Don’t send racy photos. [...]
The Society for Children and Youth in BC has launched a new public awareness campaign to promote child and youth rights in everyday life in BC. This PSA was written and recorded by BC youth who experienced discrimination first hand. Listen for it on radio stations throughout the province. Youth and non-discrimination "One of the more negative effects of prejudice and discrimination that children and youth face as a daily part of their lives is the power of stereotypes. Stereotypes are in simple terms, an over-generalization, a “snap shot” perspective frozen in time and place that superimposes a perception of someone solely based on their group membership or outwardly attributes. Stereotypes denies our individual character and uniqueness. It ties us to a perception that prejudges us before we can make our true selves known to others." (SCYBC) Please take the time to listen to this new PSA in support of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and show your support for the SCYBC.
As usual, it seems many of the adults entrusted to care for and educate our children and youth are hopelessly behind when it comes to the technological aspects, resorting to pre-digital, pre-social network and frankly bizarro-world Chicken Little type reactions in order to deal with the nuances of social media behaviours and activities. First off, there's the story of Indiana high school student Austin Carroll who used a profanity in a tweet posted to his Twitter account. His personal Twitter account. Now, there is some confusion as to whether he tweeted it at school or at home, an uncertainty that makes it even less excusable that the school expelled him. Yes, expelled. Not suspended, expelled. Just three months before he was due to graduate (this story broke at the end of March). The confusion here, incidentally, was caused by the fact that if a student logs into their account at the school itself, the school tracks all the tweets on that account. So a tweet from home would still register at the school's system. This seems to be eminently fixable. IP number, anyone? But either way, a student expelled for using the f-bomb (and in a fairly creative way, at that) in 2012 seems incredible excessive. A poll on Mashable returned nearly 75% of readers outright disagreeing with the school's reaction, with another 15% voting for suspension and only 2.5% fully behind the school's actions. The heavy-handedness even led to police involvement when there were fears that students were going to protest Carroll's expulsion. It also led to much handwringing over the issue of free speech, with First Amendment Center scholar David Hudson opining that the school's actions were "an incredible overreach and overreaction that [...]
Here's a little piece of usable research you may have missed from last winter. Teenagers Tell Researchers It's a Cruel, Cruel Online World - NYTimes.com.
Vancouver Sun review of Canadian documentary about youth sexting. Dangers of young love in the age of sexting. The entire documentary is online as well at the CBC site. **hat-tip to Cathie at Heartspeak Productions for the great links she sends me.
If you will forgive the repost, here is a link to an article from the Vancouver Sun. So many parents are struggling with teen porn viewing habits and this is a topic we are covering more and more in our SOLOS presentations for youth and parents. Parent Trap: Teen’s porn habit stresses mom.
Canada has been lagging behind when it comes to copyright laws. The Copyright Act of Canada , introduced in 1921 and last amended in 1997, is in dire need of an upgrade, considering the 1997 amendment was made in the last century—before (as the Canadian government itself points out) "before the 'dot-com' era, before social media, and before tablet computers and mobile devices allowed us to access thousands of songs, movies, and applications at the touch of a button or the swipe of a finger" . The question is: in what ways should it be refashioned for this digital, post-millennial age? First, a very short history lesson: there have been three attempts to update the Act since 1997—Bill C-60 in June 2005, Bill C-61 in the summer of 2008 and Bill C-32 in June 2010. All three fell by the wayside due to political upheavals during those times. Which brings us to Bill C-11. Introduced in September 2011, and titled the Copyright Modernization Act, it is, for all intents and purposes, identical to the last failed attempt, Bill C-32. The Canadian government promises that the new Act will: implement the rights and protections of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Internet treaties; give copyright owners the tools they need to combat piracy; clarify the roles and responsibilities of ISPs and search engines; promote creativity and new methods of teaching in the classroom by providing greatly expanded exceptions for education; encourage innovation in the private sector through exceptions for technical computer processes; provide legal protection for businesses that choose to use technological protection measures or "digital locks" to protect their work as part of their business models; and, give consumers the ability to, among other things, [...]
This sounds like it was a memorable event for those present. Forum paints pretty picture of men who buy sex. It's a very lively piece of journalism. I'd be interested to hear the comments of anyone who was there.