net generation

Taking a pulse in roiling online world - article on @zephoria

Some form of privacy regulation is inevitable, in Boyd’s view. Yet she also cautions that once enacted, laws are difficult to repeal. One example is the 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which Congress is considering renewing. The law restricts websites from collecting data from anyone under 13 years old. As an unintended consequence, said Boyd, parents now coach their kids to lie about their age so they can visit the Skype website to video chat with their grandparents.

danah boyd, one of my go-to people when it comes to kids online, is featured in the Boston Globe's technology section. They mention her upcoming book (which I can't wait to read) and some of the issues she'll be covering including busting myths about kids and online realities. We are so in need of that with all of the fears that are swirling around out there.

Some things I am thinking about:
What do parents and schools really need to be concerned about?
What is the best way to educate our kids for safe, healthy lives online?
Is there any trustworthy research out there that we can rely on?

Thanks, @zephoria for keeping young people's best interests at heart.

An interview with John Palfrey: Rumors, Cyberbullying and Anonymity

David Pogue interviewed John Palfrey, co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society about online rumors, cyberbullying, and more. It's worth a read if you work with children or have children of your own. On a side note, I've been following John Palfrey for years after I met him at the 2005 NYSAIS tech/library conference (which I now co-chair). My blog post about it here. His blog post about meeting me is here. One of the other directors of the Berkman Center is Jonathan Zittrain who is also a Shady Side Academy alumnus, like me.

Posted via email from arvind's posterous

Facebook Privacy: A Bewildering Tangle of Options - NY Times Graphic

As usual the New York Times provides an elegant summary via an infographic - in this case, of Facebook's privacy options. If you're a Facebook user, you've probably stumbled through much of this before, but I bet you haven't seen it all! Sadly, I think I have in my quest to remain somewhat private in parts of my online footprint.

Coming soon, my guide on how to wean yourself from Facebook's grip

Via my school's webmaster

Posted via web from arvind's posterous

Blaming websites like Formspring for a young girl's suicide totally misses the mark

My head of school passed Rachel Simmons' blog post, What Every Parent Should Know About Formspring: The New Cyberscourge for Teens, to me. I read it, found it troubling, and had to write a response.

I had a great conversation with our 7th and 8th graders about formspring a few weeks ago, which I blogged about here. I thought that the article by Rachel Simmons was pretty poor. She starts with, “Last week, a Long Island high school senior committed suicide, and the website is suspected as a cause.” She links to an article which says just the opposite! See these quotes from the article she linked to:

“Alexis' parents downplayed the Internet role, saying their daughter was in counseling before she ever signed up with, a new social site, where many of the attacks appeared.”

"I believe in my heart that cyberbullying wasn't the cause of Lexi's death," said her mother, Paula Pilkington. "This is a mistake."

It also didn’t recognize what the site is capable of in a positive way. For instance, I purchased a new dining table that is unfinished wood, and wasn’t sure how best to treat it. So, I went to this wonderful design bloggers website and asked her a question about wood treatment via her formspring. She replied to me within an hour. Problem solved. By an expert. There is a place for every technology tool, and there’s a poor way to use all of them, too. That’s what parents and students have to negotiate.

The bigger issue here is talking to students about “anonymous” behavior on the Internet, and what it entails. I gave the girls a guiding principle that anonymous places on the Internet tend to encourage bad behavior and discourage good behavior. We want them to learn that lesson because formspring will be passé tomorrow (it actually sort of already is), and they have to be able to apply the same principles to the next new thing.

Rachel Simmon's gut instinct reaction and advice to parents is summed up in her point:

So what to do? Here’s what I suggest. Start a conversation with your daughter about Formspring. Ask her if people at school use it (don’t start off by grilling her about what she does or she may scare and fly away). Ask her what she thinks of it. Then ask her if she uses it.

If she says yes, tell her she’s banned for life from the website. Period.

This completely misses the mark. If you think you can solve problems by banning use, you're in for real trouble when kids experience the same problems in new venues - they won't tell you when they stumble into a mess for fear that you'll ban them from it. Prepare them for the world they are living in. Teach them about how it works. Set family expectations and guidelines. Connecting the tragedy of a girl with serious psychological issues to a website is hyperbole, and won't get you very far in setting your kids up for success.

Ms. Simmons, if you're reading, I'd love to talk to you more about this.

Posted via web from arvind's posterous