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 [...]
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
According to Jim Gibson of the Victoria Times, cyber-bullying is in deed on the rise. In a recent article Jim sites the New York's Mediamark Research and Intelligence (media-mark.com) which reported cellphone use by children has increased by 68 per cent since 2005. An estimated 36.1 per cent of 10-and 11-year-olds have cellphones. Most use them for basic communication tasks, such as calling parents (88.1 per cent), calling friends (68.1 per cent), emergency purposes (55.7 per cent) and text messaging (54.1 per cent). Technology has changed the way kids interact. Today's children are far more electronically connected -- and computer savvy than their parents, Laur says. To read the full article click the link provided here http://www.canada.com/life/Cyber+bullying+rise/2915031/story.html To book a classroom or parent or teach presentation click the green button to your right >>>>
Savvy web users have known the addictive popularity of reaction videos for quite some time, not always in the name of constructive causes, but in the wake of the Amanda Todd tragedy, the Fine Brothers decided to put this knowledge to good use by filming a reaction video of their own.
And right on cue after that last post, here's another reason to be concerned about this recent trend of outing bad behaviour online, this time right here in Canada. Turns out some teens are mad at their teachers. Um, this is news? Apparently, yes.
In the sobering wake of Amanda Todd's tragic story, it's unsurprising and yet every bit as disturbing that kids are still taunting their peers online in some pretty destructive and brutal ways.
Since this could be the last blog post for the foreseeable future, I thought it might be a place to drop those smaller stories about Facebook that pop up now and again, stories which on their own are not quite deep enough for a full blog post, but might be interesting to readers presented as a kind of odds and ends thing.
All too often, stories about kids on Facebook tend toward the gloomy and the disapproving. And that's all well and good when, for example, we hear stories about a single 6th Grader being harassed by 57 classmates via the social network. So, that's 58 kids interacting on a platform they're not allowed to sign up for. Hmmmm.
More from the UK. This time: pornography. Something we haven't actually talked about a great deal in this blog. And we don't mean child porn, here, but the regular internet porn that makes up a certain unknown percentage of the internet (fluctuating extremely wildly somewhere between 4% and 80%, with some observers believing many of the figures to have been inflated by web filtering companies and conservative groups with political agendas). Whatever the numbers, though, it's a fact that porn, and some pretty hardcore stuff at that, exists on the internet and is pretty accessible to young people. With that in mind, a group of children's charities across the pond are accusing the British government of overcomplicating initiatives to block online pornography, going so far as allegations of deliberate sabotage on the part of government politicians. This coalition is comprised of the NSPCC, the Children’s Society, the National Children’s Board, Action for Children and the child abuse pressure group Stop It Now. An important caveat to this story is that it is being reported in the notoriously handwringing tabloid, The Daily Mail, which is actively involved in a campaign for—in their own words—"an automatic block on online porn, with over-18s only able to see adult images after having specifically opted in and after having gone through a strict age verification process." They even handed in a petition calling for this so-called "opt-in" system at No 10 Downing Street, signed by over 100,000 people. It's easy to question or even dismiss the aspects of this that resemble previous moral panics, and some degree of skepticism is probably required, but Childline itself recently reported a threefold increase in the numbers of children calling the helpline after viewing [...]
SOLOS has always had a focus on youth, and given their particular vulnerability in the face of technology we've barely had time to assimilate, rightly so. But another group who struggle mightily in a digital world also need the occasional helping hand. No, not parents—seniors and the elderly. If parents are sometimes all at sea without a lifeboat when it comes to staying current, this group is often clinging to a piece of driftwood. And there are numerous ways in which seniors find themselves at a disadvantage, from identity theft, phishing scams and other online fraud, to an inability to locate services, to finding it difficult to afford the internet at all. But the focus of two recent articles is on another area altogether: for grandparents who occasionally or perhaps even permanently care for their grandchildren, a lack of knowledge about the digital world can also endanger those vulnerable young people in their care. Agencies in the United Kingdom in particular seem to be alert to this problem. This first article highlights a YouGov poll in which half the parents surveyed were concerned about their own parents' unfamiliarity with the technology, which can in turn lead to young people taking advantage of more lax controls and an overall lack of vigilance when staying with their grandparents. And, significantly, the same proportion of grandparents agreed the concerns are valid. A third of them worried about their grandchildrens' internet use. Annie Mullins, a representative of Vodafone, who commissioned the study, said: "With more grandparents helping with childcare, they are keen to do their part and set the same rules as those set by the children's parents. "The digital grandparenting poll shows that many grandparents who look after [...]