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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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Nothing complicated about this: Read ‘It’s Complicated’!

Why is the title of social media researcher danah boyd’s new book “It’s Complicated“? Not just because “the social lives of networked teens” are complicated (the book’s subtitle), but growing up in a networked world is too. And I’d add that it’s further complicated when the adults in a teen’s life don’t have any idea […]

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In defense of Internet safety education

There has been some discussion lately over whether there is still a need for Internet safety education. I say yes. It’s true, as some argue, that safety messages from the 90′s are way out-of-date. We no longer need to dwell over the highly exaggerated risk of child predators or the panic over Internet pornography. While […]

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Confessions of a binge viewer

I don’t mind admitting that, for the past few days, I’ve been a binge TV viewer. That’s because Netflix released the second season of its hit show “House of Cards” and, unlike traditional TV networks, the company released the entire 13-episode season all at once. In theory, it would be possible to turn on the […]

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Timely for Safer Internet Day: Game-changing insight into Internet risk

One of the milestones of Internet safety was the distinction between risk and harm made by the pan-European researchers of EU Kids Online back in 2011. “Risk must be distinguished from harm,” they wrote in a report based on surveys of more than 25,000 9-to-16-year-olds in 25 countries. “As with riding a bike or crossing […]

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