More Internet Safety

Further reading on the issue of Internet safety has lead me to a transcript of a panel discussion at the Just The Facts About Online Youth Victimization – Researchers Present the Facts and Debunk Myths conference.

One panelist, Dr. Michele Ybarra, president of the Internet Solutions for Kids, states:

We assumed that if young people are posting and sending personal information to other people, this must place them at greater risk for victimization.

The data suggest that the vast majority of young people who are meeting adults online are not deceived and instead, knowingly, at least as knowingly as a young person can, consent to this relationship. And we’re learning that it’s not the sending and posting of personal information that increases one’s risk for victimization online…

This highlights to me the misconception that we do have in our society. That is, by posting personal information, even as simple as a student photo captioned with their name, will lead on to negative and inappropriate consequences. It doesn’t.

Let me reinforce that I am not saying that the Internet is a safe place that students can post information and surf without reservation or concern.

What I am saying is that in the context of a school web site or an ePortfolio, opening these up to the local (and global) Internet audiences will not have associated risks. The research clearly shows this is not how Internet predators operate.

More discussion on Dr Ybarra’s research can be found here.

Parents, if you would like more information about what to do and talk about with your children regarding Internet safety, please go to netsafe.org.nz or Hector’s World where you will find a wealth of information and practical ideas and activities for children.

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