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Swedish kids upset over parents’ internet use June 25, 2008

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Children, Internet, Parents.
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I just read an interesting article about how Swedish children are upset over their parents’ use of the internet – in particular, if the parents are visiting pornographic web pages. It is the recent report from the Swedish organisation BRIS (Children’s Rights in Society) that documents the worries that children have when it comes to their parents’ online habits.

Besides the pornographic webpages the children are also worried that their parents gamble or shop too much online. Also, it seems that many children find that their parents spend too much time in front of the computer screen.

I find it interesting that we often talk about how parents should keep an eye on their childrens’ internet habits, when – apparently – it also goes the other way around 🙂

Read the Swedish report from BRIS (which also entails other interesting points) here.

PhD defence: In the Eyes of the Beholder June 24, 2008

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Academic, PhD.

My colleague and friend Anders Albrechtslund will be defending his PhD dissertation next Monday. The dissertation is called In the Eyes of the Beholder: Introducing participation and ethics to surveillance and is a collection of seven published papers.

Anders writes about his dissertation:

The main focus of the dissertation is to understand surveillance, and participation and ethics have been ways to grasp the concept. I introduce the concept “participatory surveillance” to emphasize aspects of surveillance practices which are not adequately expressed in the current surveillance studies literature… […] This way of grasping surveillance might be in stark contrast to the everyday understanding of something unpleasant and unwanted, which terrifies and controls its passive victims, a description we know so well from depictions in books, films and TV series. However, when certain everyday social relations are studied, e.g. online social networking, these practices can be described as active, positive engagements with surveillance. Consequently, there seems to be more to surveillance than meets the eye.

Especially, I find Anders’ paper on “Online Social Networking as Participatory Surveillance” interesting. Here, the practice of online social networking is conceptualised in relation to the social and playful aspects of surveillance.

I wish Anders the best of luck with the defence and look forward to attending the event.

Online predators and moral panics June 11, 2008

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Arto, Internet Safety, Moral panic, MySpace, News media.

The past couple of weeks the Danish social network site for teenagers, Arto, has repeatedly appeared in the news media. This is due to the fact that a journalist from the Danish tabloid newspaper Ekstra Bladet created a false profile on Arto where she pretended to be a 13 year old girl and got into contact with a number of older men. During a year the undercover journalist communicated through MSN Messenger with four older men (from the age of 35 – 72) who all had a keen interest in meeting the girl IRL. The correspondence between the men and the apparent 13 year old girl had many sexual undertones and some of the men openly indicated that they wanted to have sex with, what they believed was, the 13 year old girl.

When the physical meetings were finally arranged the news paper revealed the truth and the following days they published a number of articles where they – one by one and with video documentation – exposed the men as predators and child molesters.

We have previously seen similar stories in the Danish news media, and the purpose of this blog post is not to comment on these specific news stories, which are part of the ongoing moral panic, which I commented on in an article I wrote in October 2006. However, the public debate that follows sensational cases like these is interesting. (more…)