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FB privacy & the social media ‘collective unconscious’ (so far)

Some people read Facebook’s near 180-degree change in how new users experience privacy as a response to pressure from privacy advocates and policymakers. I don’t think so. It’s largely a response to something even more powerful: changes in how users are using social media – all kinds of social media, not just Facebook. We’re seeing […]

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Net safety’s ‘3 alarmist assumptions': Researcher

This is news, and not just for the Internet safety field. It’s important for policymakers, parents, educators, researchers, healthcare providers and journalists to know about: In the Journal of Child Psychology, sociologist David Finkelhor, one of the US’s most prominent experts on child victimization, challenges the “alarmism reflected by so much of the scholarly and […]

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Remember: The ‘right to be forgotten’ is shared

A lot has been published and broadcast about Internet users’ “right to be forgotten,” long before and since last week’s ruling by a high court in Europe (see the BBC), including the important points that… Scratching the surface. Suing a search engine to take down links to offending content doesn’t mean the content itself gets […]

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The videogame discourse: Default to open-mindedness!

My heart sinks when I see uncritical thinking in commentaries from Internet safety advocates about the media young people love – thinking that defaults (and contributes to a society-level default) to fear that new media’s harmful and young users are either potential victims or up to no good. Take videogames, for example. We know that… […]

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Cross-cultural in so many ways: Insights from ‘Digitally Connected’

It was a small but mighty gathering at Harvard’s Berkman Center this week – mighty in diversity of geographical, personal and professional perspective (40% of the participants were from the global South). It was called “Digitally Connected,” but it was about a more inclusive and, I think, more lasting, holistic sense of what “connected” means. […]

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Do kids need special protections or do we all need them?

We have always taken child safety more seriously than adult safety, even where children are not necessarily at greater risk than adults. It’s probably instinctual. As every parent knows, protecting one’s offspring is not something we even have to think about. We just do it. Children not always a special case But when it comes to risk, children […]

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A taste of Turkish Internet censorship

This column first appeared in the San Jose Mercury News ISTANBUL, Turkey — Today’s column was supposed to be about alternatives to the broken user-name and password systems, but as I was doing my research, I hit upon an obstacle that required me to change topics. I had planned to comment on a report about a security […]

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Anonymous apps and services are not synonymous with ominous

I’ve heard a lot of consternation about apps and sites that let users post anonymously and, indeed it is possible to use services like Whisper, Ask.FM, Secret, and Yik Yak to be annoying, mean, or downright cruel. But the same can be said for any tool that enables social interaction, whether it’s a social network, […]

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The evolution of online safety: Lessons learned over 20 years

When I wrote the original version of Child Safety on the Information Highway (click here for 20th anniversary updated version), in 1994, “online safety” was largely defined as keeping kids away from porn and predators and the solution was pretty much focused on parental controls. But, over the past two decades, there have been a lot […]

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Calling our children narcissists on ‘a sociopathic scale': Really!?

A column in The Guardian’s Web site called “Comment is Free” (I guess you get what you pay for) starts off with an anecdote that reads like the heart-stopping opening scene of a new Netflix crime drama. Nothing wrong with that; grab a few more readers, sell a few more newspapers. What’s fatiguing is the […]

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