Three kinds of online safety May 6, 2009Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Internet Safety, Talks, Youth.
During the past few weeks I have been giving a couple of public talks at different conferences in Denmark, all focusing on youth and digital media. Even though my talks usually don’t include many perspectives on online safety and focus more on communicating my research results and giving a general introduction to how Danish youth use social network sites, I know that many of the participants (often teachers, social educators, parents, librarians etc.) are interested in knowing how to teach kids about safety issues.
In this regard I recently read an interesting post from the NetFamilyNews blog. Here, Anne Collier offers three perspectives on online safety and internet literacy:
- Physical safety – the one we have focused on the most, freedom from physical harm by predators and bullies
- Psychological safety – freedom from cruelty, flaming, and other forms of harassment and cyberbullying involving ex-friends, mean kids, bullies, colleagues, etc. […]
- Reputational and legal safety – these can overlap with the psychological kind, where, for example, online defamation can harm someone’s reputation; they provide for freedom from restriction or repercussion as a result of online communication or production by one’s self or others […].
She argues that US kids “have practically tuned out the term online safety” because of a strong focus in US society on the first perspective. The term “can’t really help them deal with the complexities of their online/offline social lives, it’s in danger of becoming irrelevant to them”, she writes. I agree very much with Collier and her point is quite similar to what I was trying to argue in this article on Nettendenser in December. I think it is important to focus not only on the threats and risks (and thereby treating children and young people as victims) in order to get them to listen to advice on online safety.
Read the post from NetFamilyNews here (which also includes many relevant links) .