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Bebo’s part in differentiation trend

Bebo stands out as a great example of how social sites are differentiating themselves. It's moving from being purely about social networking to being a social-media platform, as The Guardian puts it. For one thing, the site (based in San Francisco but huge in the UK, with 10.7 million "regular users" there), it's specializing in […]

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Sex-trafficking in Canada, US

This story about sex trafficking in the Edmonton Sun is not about teen social networkers, it's about adults. But I'm including it this week as an extreme example of how vulnerable young people whose brains aren't fully developed can be found online, then victimized (prefrontal cortexes, or the executive part of brains, aren't developed till […]

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Clear-eyed look at Net risks

Rarely do we see balanced reporting on the subject of children's online safety. So it was good to see USATODAY's Janet Kornblum looking at both the real risks and the misconceptions that have developed about how teens are victimized online. Not that dangers don't exist, but "some worry that parents are falling victim to 'predator […]

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Virtual vs. real: Line blurring

William Gibson – the one-time science fiction author who now writes about the present and coined "cyberspace" – had something to say about youth in an interview he gave Rolling Stone for the magazine's 40th anniversary issue. He said (and I think he's right) that "one of the things our grandchildren will find quaintest about […]

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Social networking: What cops know

Indiana State Police Lt. Charles Cohen's 16-year-old nephew "has seven MySpace pages, including one in which he and his buddies pretend to be Chuck Norris," the Associated Press reports. That's a great observation for parents to hear, echoed by many experts on Web 2.0 – that there are all kinds of blogs and social-networking profiles, […]

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Tragic school shooting in Finland

A high school student in Finland shot and killed himself, six other students, and the school principal yesterday "after announcing plans for the rampage on YouTube," the Financial Times reports. The FT cites a Reuters reports saying the boy's video was "called 'Jokela High School Massacre' and posted by a user called Sturmgeist89, meaning Storm […]

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‘Kickstart’ for students

Yahoo has a new niche social site for college students that's supposed to be more professional than social but not quite as professional as LinkedIn.com, a PC World blog reports. Apparently a profile on "Kickstart" is designed to be more like a resume than a place for friends' "pokes" and comments. The site's photo upload […]

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Child porn network shut down

European police arrested 92 people allegedly involved in a child pornography operation that sold videos to 2,500 customers in 19 countries "including teachers, doctors and lawyers," the Associated Press reports. "The alleged mastermind, Italian Sergio Marzola," and a Belgian man suspected of abusing his own children, were arrested last year. Marzola "allegedly made some 150 […]

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New virtual worlds for kids 6+

Close on the heels of her report that a "boomlet" of kids' virtual worlds was in the works, CNET's Stefanie Olsen blogs about toy company Playhut's two new online playgrounds, one for girls 6+, one for boys. Like ClubPenguin, it appears, "the free sites enable members to play games, dress up virtual characters and chat […]

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New book on cyberbullying

The good news is there are usually no physical scars from cyberbullying. The bad news is there are usually no physical scars to alert parents to what's going on. And that's not even the biggest problem with cyberbullying: "that children will not report it," reports CNET, citing a new academic book on the subject, Cyber […]

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