Posts tagged: Digital Responsibility

What is your Digital Birthday?

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By , October 7, 2010 1:32 pm

It might increasingly be about 6-7 months before your biological one, if you are still in diapers today, according to a study commissioned by AVG that came out today (can’t find the actual study yet). And it seems obvious to me, but maybe not to others, that parents should start thinking about what they post before their kids are even old enough to sit up on their own, much less start banging on a keyboard/panel/iPad…

No hugs, no harm…

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By , October 7, 2010 10:35 am


Over the Hedge

I’m sure there are many people out there who feel the same way as Sammy and RJ – that the studio is a soul less entity. But even if you buy into those “set painter” PSAs that the studios ran a while back, reminding us that there are real people impacted by piracy. It seems that in light of ACTA and the feeling that many, including myself, get that this agreement would further remove the finished product from those that create it… it would almost seem laughable to think that piracy impacts the “boots on the ground” in any real way anymore.

The wrong and the horrible

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By , September 21, 2010 1:05 pm

I think one would have to be living under a rock, or listening to nothing by satellite (more on that later… it’s been bubbling in my head for a while, but this is one of the reasons why it is bad) or top40 radio not to have heard about this atrocity in BC.

Now, while social networking has helped perform surgery, helped after having been arrested or been taken captive, it has also been used to propagate crimes as in this case where photos of the incident have spread onto Facebook and from there… not even Mark, Sergey or Larry know where. If you are one of the many who don’t understand take a look at this earlier post or this video:


What happened in BC certainly goes beyond what the previous worry of sexting ever could have been and into the criminal. But can anything good come of this? Well perhaps. It looks like the school board(s) that are involved will be looking into putting something regarding this new reality into the curriculum. The only problem I see is that they are waiting until grade 10 to talk about this, when they should be starting to talk about responsibility and the use of digital media much earlier… say in kindergarten. We should be teaching the mantra of “Think before you post” right from the start. Perhaps starting with ideas about controlling what information is safe to post… essentially the modren equivalent of “don’t talk to strangers”.

Vanity searches now not so vain, rather becoming par for the course

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By , May 28, 2010 9:47 am

PEW has just released a new report looking at how people manage their online identity and they found:

When compared with older users, young adults are more likely to restrict what they share and whom they share it with. “Contrary to the popular perception that younger users embrace a laissez-faire attitude about their online reputations, young adults are often more vigilant than older adults when it comes to managing their online identities,”

I think the vigilance isn’t that surprising as young adults are the ones who are out there trying to define their identity so it makes sense that they are hypervigilant.

LG and txt education

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By , February 25, 2010 10:57 am

It is nice to see when a company tries to get out ahead of an issue that it knows could be problematic with it’s products. The brewers and distillers do this with drinking and driving, the pharmaceutical companies do this with drug interactions and now cell phone makers are starting to do it with txting. It might not be all of them, but LG has a new part of it’s site – Text Education. While the article titles are problematic – the “download” on sexting and mobile teasing/harassment – the tags are correct – sexting and cyberbullying. The bullying articles are written by Joel Haber who is an expert on the topic and Charles Sophy is an expert on family relations who writes on sexting. Both seem to give good (common sensical) advice and offer a starting point to learn more about dealing with these age old challenges that have new vehicles for propagation.

Cyberbullying isn’t only intrademographic

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By , August 19, 2009 1:40 pm

TR has a story of an adult that got involved in bullying a child. I’m sure it’s not the first time that a parent has put their nose into a child’s affairs, but where as in the past it might have only been a parent being an accessory (which adult would be able to really hold their head up after picking on a kid?… ok don’t answer, the world is a nasty place), now everyone can be cloaked by the same perceived veil of online privacy. Thankfully this case was solved, but there are likely many more out there where parents are the ones who are bullying on behalf of their child(ren).

Cox surveys teens on technology

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By , June 25, 2009 1:49 pm

Cox Communications has released it’s own survey (PDF) on teens and online safety in partnership with National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. It found that generally teens in the US are well connected with their own email address and cell phone and spend a substantial amount of time online via one device or another. 75% or teens have personal information posted on a social networking site. Most teens understand that this is not safe and one quarter know someone who has had “something bad” happen to them because of what was posted online. One third of students have either experienced (first hand or through a friend) or participated in cyberbullying. Those participating in bullies have often been bullied themselves. Cyberbullies think that it is easier to bully (and get away with it) online. A substantial number of those bullied say that it is worse to be bullied online than in person. 20% of teens have engaged in sexting and 10% of the recipients are unknown to the senders. Most teens think that sending sexts of under 18s is wrong, even though the vast majority of teen sexters are under 18 (this is expected isn’t it? most teen ages are under 18) and many teens think that people their age are too young to sext, but half believe that they are old enough to decide for themselves if it is alright or not. Teens understand that sexting is dangerous and most agree that adults over-react to sexting. Finally, while the majority of parents have talked to their kids about desk/laptop based connectivity, barely any supervision/guidance/advice has been given to handheld devices.

This seems to fall inline with many other surveys and studies that have been done on bullying and sexting, though it is interesting that this one came from a telco. The PDF has some very interesting numbers and surprisingly has among the other concluding points, three very important ones.

  • While the media love the sexting stories, that isn’t the larger problem – it is cyberbullying. More teens have engaged in one side of bullying online than sexting yet that gets lost in the sex story.
  • The normal picture of a menacing boy bullying others does not apply in cyberbullying – girls are more likely to have engaged in cyberbullying than boys have – meaning any campaign targeted towards stopping this needs to look at it from the girls’ eyes.  While girls are probably more likely to be cyberbuillies because size doesn’t matter there, there may be other reasons as well.
  • Parents may think they are engaged in their children’s online behavior, but the teens do not see it that way – a plurality both say they parents know nothing or very little about what they do online and have not limited their online activity at all.  The time is also ripe for someone to talk to and educate parents about what they have to do with regard to Internet safety.

Stay safe online – Access is a right, so is free speech

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By , June 11, 2009 12:46 pm

Some interesting articles came across my screen this morning while I was working on some podcasts. The first was a story from RRW that Trent Reznor is kinda quitting Twitter along with other celebrities who are also jumping off the Social Networking bandwagon. The second was from the Times, on how Les sages have ripped the heart out of France’s proposed Internet piracy law.

The first article brought up some of the issues around the realities of the ‘net that were formerly limited to the geeks using boards, but that are now an issue for the lay user, trolls. For those who have been online for a long time and have used public message boards or chat systems, trolls are a common and generally identifiable annoyance. But for people jumping onto Twitter, especially those who are used to the “walled garden” of Facebook, trolls are a new annoyance that are stealing all the fun. The closest these new users have come to trolls in the past might have been spammers, but even then, Social Networks are believed by many to be “safe and personal”. Certainly not a place for spammers and other floatsam and jetsam. Toward the end of the article it brings up the reason why these two beasts have been with the online user for so long – for the longest time, anonymity was the fact of the ‘net and this was as much due to there being no systems for validating the nature of the agent behind a user. This lead to an effort to try to educate kids and others about all manner of evil doers that might lurk online and no matter how “we” might try, there will never be a way around the fact that people who want to raise trouble will lie, cheat and steal (as is their nature) to create a false identity for themselves. This means we will never really be able to get people to stand behind what they say because there will always be a chance for them not to be who they say they are. And we have to ask ourselves, do we really want to be in a world that allows only one identity? Many of us have multiple identities… we are a different person on the playground, kitchen and in private as adults. Teens, who are trying to define themselves are just as likely to have as many identities as there are hours in a day. Both are natural, neither are trying to deceive.

The second article raises an interesting point in law… at least for those countries that have some manner of constitution that is similar to France, that:

free access to public communication services online” is a right laid down in the Declaration of Human Rights, which is in the preamble to the French constitution

Seeing as industry types (aka RIAA and their ilk) were watching it set a precedent, it now seems that this ruling sets the ball rolling around the world for users to have far more rights, at least with regards to how they might get their hands slapped should they get caught with their hand in the digital cookie jar. This seems to follow

So it seems that you can’t cut users off for pirating (we’ll leave what pirating is and isn’t up in the air for now, especially with the Pirate Party winning a seat in the European Parliament), as access to the ‘net is a right and you can’t ever expect people to be who they say they are online and in an increasingly public online world, this means that there are many more nasty users out there who we can’t expose. It seems that the ‘net is going to be a wild and potentially dangerous place for some time to come and we need to make sure we teach new users, be they 2 or 200, how to stay safe and be responsible online.

Sexting vs “Spin the Bottle”

By , May 27, 2009 2:16 pm

It seems that there is quite a bit of coverage in the news media about a paper being presented Peter Cummings at the 78th Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences that sexting is no worse than the old fashion spin the bottle. Cummings says:

Technology does change things, and there can be very serious consequences.

But that obscures the fact that children and young people are sexual beings who have explored their sexuality in all times, and all cultures and all places.

[also arguing]

such online activities are safer than traditional sexual games because there is no immediate physical contact and thus are less likely to lead to pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.

While the negation of the risk associated with physical contact is eliminated, it doesn’t (from what I can see) take into consideration what happens to these txts and images after they leave the privacy of the two people involved. These situations are what seem to be at issue in the US with kids being prosecuted for transmitting child porn. To me it seems that the harmful elements of sexting go far beyond what might have happened as a result of spin the bottle (assuming there was also no physical contact there as well). In an innocent spin the bottle episode, all that might escape are stories that will fade over time. If an image escapes from a sexting exchange, that could be used to exploit either individual (just use the incredible hoopla that goes up when a celeberty tape goes up into the ‘net) or indivduals involved for musch longer because those images and messages will never fade (though interest in them may, the image will still be there should someone wish to exploit it). Kids – and everyone else sending notes online – should remember that one should always think (Youtube) before they post anywhere.

Cyberbullying on the rise in Canada

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By , February 26, 2009 12:09 am

There are few ‘net related studies for Canada, so when they come out it is usually a good thing. Not to say that this is bad, but the news certainly is. Microsoft and Youthography have released a survey that suggest that cyberbullying is on the rise in Canada. Along with the bullying stats, they found:

  • 53% of males play games online, between 24% and 44% of those online players had participated in harassing, or been harassed by other players
  • 60% of kids who get up in the middle of the night use the ‘net to talk to someone, this impacts their ability to function the next day
  • 1/3 males used the ‘net to search for adult material
  • 60% of kids said that there was no consequence to cyberbullying, even thinking that it is “cool” and half said that they bully because they have been bullied in the past
  • females use the ‘net to socialize, males use it to play games (still socialization in a way is it not??)

I’ve pulled out some of the more alarming points here, but there are many good points, if the survey is to be believed:

  • 86% of kids asked their parents before joining social or gaming sites
  • 1/4 kids use an avatar, 12% change their age or gender (hopefully for the right reason)
  • 76% are careful about what information they give out.
  • 84% of respondents have had a discussion with their parents about the dangers of the Internet, and 86% of youth have punishments for not following household rules for Internet use.

Interesting stuff.

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