Here’s an innovative idea for parents (of girls 8-12) who are concerned about predators: My Secret Circle. It gives new meaning to the safe playground or walled garden idea, because – with this hardware product, the My Secret Circle Access Key (pictured here), which plugs into a computer USB port – groups of real-life friends can socialize online while being completely closed off from the Internet and vice versa. As the site explains it, “My Secret Circle Friend Code Generator generates a unique 12 digit number” that can only be exchanged through an “invitation system,” which allows the user to trade her code with a friend in person. “In order to become ‘friends,’ each girl must own an Access Key” and go through the code-exchange process herself. John Biggs at the CrunchGear blog seems to like it. The only problem is, the whole concept is based on the premise that the most common risk to online kids is adult predators. Research shows, however, that the most salient risk is cyberbullying and harassment – mean things peers say to each other; friends becoming ex-friends and violating trust; sharing passwords and impersonating peers; etc. Keeping adults out of girls’ “secret circles” could actually have the opposite effect to what its creators intended: completely safe socializing. Here’s the report of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force, which contains the cyberbullying finding among others in a full review of online-safety research thru 2008.
Subscribe to ConnectSafely Newsletter
Subscribe to our email newsletter. We publish about twice a month, you can easily unsubscribe and we won't spam you.
NetFamilyNews – by Anne Collier
- Zooming in on social norms (sidebar)
- Beginning of the end of #purge, revenge porn or social cruelty?
- For our kids & ourselves: Presence in a digital age
- Manage Net risk but focus more on opportunities: Researchers
- Proposed ‘rightful’ framework for Internet safety
- Social media in Saudi schools … sort of
- Textbook case of what NOT to do in teen sexting cases
- Breadth of videogames’ benefits to kids may surprise
Analysis & News – by Larry Magid
- Don’t let stalkers or abusers and creeps track your phone’s location
- Let’s stop persecuting ‘Auschwitz selfie girl’ for smiling at a camera
- EFF launches free Privacy Badger for Firefox and Chrome to block hidden trackers
- Privacy and security tips for newly-minted college students
- Google to stop labeling apps with in-app purchases as ‘free’
- Home automation and ‘Internet of things’ is great — but think about privacy and security
- Time for public to weigh in on ‘net neutrality’
- The ‘real world’ is a lot more dangerous than cyberspace