It kind of surprised me seeing this coming out of Britain, that "the specter of the predatory pedophile is everywhere." I thought it was everywhere only here in the US, where we've had a predator panic going for some time and it has subsided somewhat (see "Predator panic," which I wrote back in May 2006). It doesn't surprise me, however, that this good question is coming out of the UK (in the same BBC blog post): "Have we got our response to child sex abuse in proportion? Or … are we in danger of destroying the very thing we aim to protect – a trusting relationship between adults and children?" I wish blogger Mark Easton had answered or at least expanded on that theme. Instead, he makes a different but related valid point about the sheer numbers of child abusers ("The NSPCC [National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children] estimates that at any one time, 1 million children are suffering sexual abuse") and how most are people the children know (and still more are never found out). But I do think that question about society's response deserves serious consideration on both sides of the Atlantic. Heightened fears lead to strong reactions, often overreaction, which reduces trust and communication between parents and children. When parents act out of fear and get categorical, teens tend to seek even more distance from them than normal adolescent development would call for and go "underground," where – not necessarily but possibly – they could be at greater risk. I think working through the risks and adult fears together, openly and calmly, is a more effective approach at both the household and societal levels.
NetFamilyNews – by Anne Collier
- A positive, insightful new book for schools on bullying
- Students called heroes in this 6th-grade class
- In the face of school violence, what do we default to?
- Popularity: The other kind of vulnerability
- FB & Oculus VR: The potential of a virtual-reality platform
- What’s (importantly) different about Snapchat
- We ‘like’ faces in social media: Study
- Yik Yak update: How the app came to geo-fence off US schools
Analysis & News – by Larry Magid
- Anonymous apps and services are not synonymous with ominous
- Facebook’s ‘Nearby Friends’ feature: What you need to know
- Identity theft a problem from cradle to grave — Kids most vulnerable
- How to protect your family from Heartbleed security flaw (slideshow)
- Beware of Heartbleed inspired phishing scams
- Are sites you use vulnerable to Heartbleed security flaw?
- Microsoft ends support of Windows XP: Machines highly vulnerable to security risks
- The evolution of online safety: Lessons learned over 20 years