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Working with opportunities and risks for CSE in a digital age


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Working with opportunities and risks for CSE in a digital age

  1. 1. Working with opportunities and risks for CSE in a digital age Dr Bex Lewis Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing, Manchester Metropolitan University Director, Digital Fingerprint Tweet @drbexl 111/05/17 http://bit.ly/CSEOpps
  2. 2. Published by Lion Hudson February 2014 *Italian (Nov 2015) *Chinese (awaiting notification) http://j.mp/RCIDAge Dr Bex Lewis @drbexl
  3. 3. Technological Changes 11/05/17 Tweet @drbexl 3
  4. 4. 11/05/17 Tweet @drbexl 4 Is it the end of the world as we know it?
  5. 5. Tweet @drbexl 5 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/12103150/Rembrandt- The-Night-Watch-The-real-story-behind-the-kids-on-phones-photo.html 11/05/17
  6. 6. The Myth of the Digital Native Image Credit: Stockfresh Read more: http://drbexl.co.uk/2014/02/11/digitalparenting-the-
  7. 7. DigitalFingerprint Dr Bex Lewis @drbexl https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0033/93984/Charts-Section-5-YouTube,-social-media-and-online-gaming.pdf
  8. 8. Tweet @drbexl 811/05/17
  9. 9. Identifying Vulnerable Users 11/05/17 Tweet @drbexl 9
  10. 10. Vulnerable children and young people are not a self-contained or static group. Any child/young person may be vulnerable at some time depending on any one, or a combination of, the risks or challenging life events they face and their resilience (Cross et al, 2009, p.9) http://www.cwrc.ac.uk/projects/documents/OnlinevulnerabilityReporttoDFE-Final-October2011.pdf See also: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/44222 and https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-abuse-and- neglect/online-abuse/who-is-affected/ 11/05/17 Photo: Unsplash Tweet @drbexl 10
  11. 11. Who sees this? 1. Parents 2. ‘Kids’ 3. Newspaper 4. Enemy Image Credit: Stockfresh Dr Bex Lewis @drbexl
  12. 12. Stranger Danger 07/06/16 Tweet @drbexl 12 http://www.dayprogramme.org/
  13. 13. Addiction? 11/05/17 Tweet @drbexl 13
  14. 14. Sexualised Imagery 11/05/17 Tweet @drbexl 14
  15. 15. The Bullied The Bully The Bystander Image Source: Stockfresh See more: http://www.slideshare.net/drbexl/bullying-for-yc14 and http://emdp.org/wp- content/uploads/2014/01/Safe_from_Bullying- Youth_Activities.pdf
  16. 16. Adoption & Fostering “Users need to be particularly careful about the information that is shared, whether by themselves, or by their friends, and all users need to look out for clever tricks, such as ‘viral’ missing person posts, whether for partners, or for children. Some are a hoax, others are for people in hiding or under police protection, and others are for children who have been adopted because of the risk of significant harm. If you are even thinking of sharing, check with police or Interpol records, but in any case, notify the police, so that they have the opportunity to offer safeguarding protection if required.” Chapman, K. (2015), ‘Be careful about “missing person” posts’, Google+. Retrieved from: https://plus.google.com/+KimberlyChapman/posts/gn8ZrgGnMXK, and Barefoot Social Work (2015), ‘The Dangers of Social Media for 'Missing' Children’. Retrieved from: http://barefootsocialwork.weebly.com/blog/the- dangers-of-social-media-for-missing-children Dr Bex Lewis @drbexl11/05/17
  17. 17. Developing Resilience 11/05/17 Tweet @drbexl 17
  18. 18. Understand! “If we want resilient kids we need to understand what young people’s experiences are online, listen to their concerns, and intervene with their best interests in mind.” Jane Tallim, Co-Executive Director, MediaSmarts, Canada, January 2015 http://mediasmarts.ca/research-policy/young-canadians-wired-world-phase-iii-trends-recommendations Dr Bex Lewis @drbexl
  19. 19. Social Media or Society? Dr Bex Lewis @drbexl “If we don’t like what social media is presenting us [with], we should look at society instead, not just the tool they communicate with.” Caroline Criado-Perez, 2013 Source: http://www.interhacktives.com/2013/12/04/5th-hackney-debate-social-media-blessing-curse/
  20. 20. Increased time spent online will most likely increase exposure to negative experiences – but also the positive opportunities. Nancy Willard, a cyberbullying expert, calls for us to work on the “understanding that the vast majority of young people want to make good choices, do not want to be harmed, and do not want to see their friends or others harmed”. We can’t control their whole environment, online or offline, so parents need to give their children the capability to deal with problems as they come across them. Raising Children in a Digital Age, p.63
  21. 21. BBC: Be Smart “We’re doing this because all the research tells us that children and young people respond best to their peers. Whether they’re under pressure to take part in a dangerous prank, or to victimise someone, or whether they’re an online bully themselves, stories told by other young people are most likely to resonate and to help them cope, or change their behaviour.” Andrew Tomlinson, Executive Producer, Media Literacy, BBC Learning http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/aboutthebbc/entries/f1f50247-4902-4998-bf58-3e2d3c007587 Dr Bex Lewis @drbexl
  22. 22. DigitalFingerprint Dr Bex Lewis @drbexl
  23. 23. Tweet @drbexl 23 11/05/17 http://drbexl.co.uk/2017/05/07/media-contribution-re- teenagers-mental-health-churchtimes/
  24. 24. HTTP://BIT.LY/CSEOPPS Q&A 11/05/17 Tweet @drbexl 24

Notes de l'éditeur

  • Dr Bex Lewis, Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing, Manchester Metropolitan University (confirmed) “Working with opportunities and risks for CSE in a digital age” As technology moves at pace young people and children are having to face ever more complicated risks – how can support networks identify the most vulnerable and most at risk? What action can be taken to develop the resilience and knowledge to combat bully, sexual grooming, violence and personal safety?

    *Child Sexual Exploitation
  • So, that book, which is partly what brings me here today, and written partly because in running workshops for those working with the church, was getting more and more questions about what to do with children they were working with … seemed an important area, so read my way through many books/articles

    Raising children, not ‘parenting’ because think we all have responsibility – government, companies, parents, voluntary organisations
    Am not trying to give parenting advice, but help people understand the digital environment so that people can make informed decisions – and have positive conversations with kids.
  • We tend to think that in the digital age, everything has changed… but as a historian, I’m a big believer in the fundamental basic human nature, technology has given us new ‘affordances’ and ‘constraints’, which we need to understand, which software companies, government, educators, youth workers and parents need to work within – take responsibility where necessary, but don’t fear it … fight for what we want!
  • Early research concentrated on online identity and was heavily focused on the loss of face-to-face clues, and on deceit - these academic attitudes have filtered down into everyday thinking and continue to feature in the press, and help us understand why online identity remains such a huge concern to society. If we were to rely upon newspapers’ headlines in relation to people online, particularly children, they are full of disaster: children are addicted to screens, being abducted via Facebook, giving away all their information, sexting, running up bills, becoming couch potatoes, watching porn, meeting strangers and bullying and trolling at every opportunity - although of course this is happening to other people and their children not ours! This is an exaggeration, but then so is the news, which by its nature is focused on the new and the unusual and has left many people with a feeling that there’s very little that they can do. As a result, users may end up compromising their safety by going online without an understanding of steps that can be taken to protect themselves, or may be left feeling that the safest option is to go offline altogether…. This kind of image was common amongst articles about children and the internet when I wrote the book, and I wanted to encourage a sense of optimism, but with a recognition as with the rest of our lives – life is not risk free!

    With digital technology - we need to cultivate an attitude of respect, rather than of risk-avoidance. The digital is a part of our everyday lives, and it’s not going to go away. There are huge opportunities available for those who have learnt how to be critical, constructive, and confident inhabitants of the digital environment. 42% of the world’s population is online, with that increasing to around 80% in developed nations. Ofcom demonstrated in 2014 that within the UK, 83% of adults were already online, amongst 16-34 year olds that increased to 98%, with those aged 65+ the fastest growing area of take-up with digital technology, especially via tablet devices – or smartphones. The most obvious elements of digital culture are social media – sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat, but emails, texting and tools such as Skype still have an important role to play, particularly in more sensitive situations where private discussion is preferable means of communication than public broadcast.

    Prepared for Abuse, Addiction and Difficult Behaviour in a Digital Age- chapter coming out later this year..

  • Hear a lot about teenagers being engaged in their phones ALL the time – lots of debate about whether it’s because they are limited by living inside (outside world not safe), by parents spending too long online, etc… (typical media headline, look behind the picture… )
  • The ‘myth’ of the digital native .. They are not so very different – still human beings – are not beyond our reach, just need some time to understand (avoid technological determinism re ‘the machine forces them (us) to behave in particular ways….

    Where do kids turn to for advice, how ensure there are safe spaces for conversation with their friends, their family – rather than random people online… but once see online connections being made, how do we ensure that they are good ones (rather than banning any possible online connections)?

    Talk about what life is like online, what are the positives, what are the challenges, get people to think ab out how they can respond (peer pressure, as always = going to be problematic) if know others might be going to respond in that way – can help ... A really good activity = find ‘current’ newspaper stories re digital and discuss them... They, typically, will be quite negative, so ask them to look out for positive things happening online.

    One thing that can really help is offering up spaces for children/parents to discuss use of social media – e.g. introduce ‘social media contracts’ that children have had an input into, offer a FB group for the parents to talk to each other… (feel more confident in the decisions they can make)

    Back in 2012, a mobile phone ‘contract’ went viral … and demonstrates a good awareness of tech, and of parenting – so far as I can see:

    It finishes “You will mess up. I will take away your phone. We will sit down and talk about it. We will start over again. You and I, we are always learning. I am on your team. We are in this together.” …
  • Social media use by children 12-15, this from latest Ofcom report – released Nov 2016 – can see Facebook is still strong, but dropping off, Instagram, Whatsapp and Snapchat growing, YouTube pretty steady (used even more by younger children for viewing), Twitter never particularly popular and dropping off (see this with uni students), and a mix of other platforms.

    Need to remember ‘social media’ refers to a suite of tools, all with different purposes/characteristics, etc. rather than ‘one thing’, so need to understand what each is good for, that each is different, some are private/public, etc..

    Facebook (since 2004) – rather like an address book with everyone in it – can be like sitting in a pub chatting to friends, and other friends might join in
    Instagram – heavily reliant upon photographs with beautiful filters, and strong hashtags to theme conversations
    Snapchat – person to person (although now can have ‘my story’) – content disappears after 24 hours – liked by those whose every move may have been documented online
    YouTube – good for watching others, watching ‘how to’ videos, and also sharing own content (good creative space)
    Whatsapp – bit like texts, except free on wifi – group chats/video/photos … note not public
    Twitter – good for building a reputation/short content ... Finding people with similar interests
    Google + - pfft
    Tumblr – students seem to love this so clearly a later boost – scrapbook like blogging
    Pinterest – also seems to take off later – can share weddings/house plans, etc.
    Vine – 6 seconds videos, now closed...
    Doesn’t mention Reddit – news stories voted up … (Ask me anything), and e.g. X-Box, etc.
  • We need to avoid what’s known as ‘technological determinism’ – that technology is changing everything, and we have no choice but to give into it,and think more about the ‘social shaping’ of technology – in which technology offers us new opportunities, but we have choices in how we engage with those choices – e.g. Like a brick – chuck it through the window, or build a wall with it.
  • Rebecca Ang wrote in ‘Aggression and Violent Behaviour Journal’ in 2016: “I argue that adolescents are particularly vulnerable, more so than children and adults. Adolescents are not so young that they need constant guidance by parents and they are like adults in some ways, yet, they are not fully capable of completely understanding the relationship between behavior and consequences. Research shows that the prefrontal cortex governing higher-order cognitive functions such as rational thinking are not fully developed until early adulthood and could possibly explain the increased likelihood of adolescents' engaging in risk-taking behavior (Dahl, 2004). At the same time, adolescents exhibit egocentric thinking and construct personal fables — this thinking that the world revolves around them and that their life experiences are unique gives them a sense of invulnerability to the risks that threaten others (Reyna & Farley, 2006). Given that adolescents are vulnerable, it is crucial that parents work closely with schools and the community to provide the necessary support for adolescents. Adolescents too should be equipped with a wide-range of important life skills to navigate increasingly challenging social interactions on the electronic platform.” http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1359178915000968

    Continuing with Livingstone – she highlights the fact that although there is a risk of encountering negative incidents online, those with pre-existing psychological difficulties are more likely to experience intense or longer-lasting harm. Those who are resilient offline are more likely to adapt well online, whereas those vulnerable offline are also more vulnerable online, and need extra support. Group spaces in which conversations about what is ‘normative’ are powerful, sharing stories of case studies, actions that have helped, considering how individuals can be helped, and the wider group encouraged to take responsibility. Livingstone, S., Haddon, L., and Gorzig, A. (2012), Children, Risk and Safety on the Internet: Research and Policy Challenges in Comparative Perspective, Polity Press, p. 208
  • https://unsplash.com/collections/382233/vulnerable?photo=DAHUS8W4rNE

    The NSPCC has a number of particular factors that they identify:
    AGE: From 11-12 start to experiment online, but haven’t recognised what is a danger.

    Summarising Byron within RCIDA - p84
    Eleven to fourteen years: This is typically an era characterized by hormones as puberty strikes, and the emphasis for children moves largely from home and the family towards the external world, their peers, and “idols” in the quest to become “independent”. This means a shift from parental identification to peer identification, requiring a degree of experimentation that may involve taking risks. Brain changes cause an inherent drive to seek out social experiences: “these are more likely to be sought in the digital world as we restrict children’s and young people’s access to outdoor, offline socialisation.” Children and young people may start to actively seek out age-restricted material and games that are designed for adults, so keep the communication channels open for discussions of risk and challenging content.
    Fifteen to eighteen years: In Western culture this is officially the last stage of “childhood”, when young people are still the responsibility of their parents but take increasing responsibility for their own decisions and identities. Abstract thinking is likely to be well developed, and evaluation of information and making judgments is becoming more balanced as young people develop their own set of values and beliefs (which may be different from their parents’), for which space should be allowed. This is a good opportunity for young people to experiment with different roles and identities, and make decisions for themselves.

    GENDER: Boys look for more violent/porn material, meet someone offline, give out personal info; Girls – be upset by porn info, chat online with stranger, receive unwanted sexual comments, be asked for personal info, more likely to be involved in cyber-bullying…

    PRE-EXISTING vulnerabilities: (e.g. disabled, in care, already experienced abuse, ethic minorities; living with domestic abuse, drugs/alcohol, learning disabilities & mental health)

    FAMILY PRESSURE/POVERTY – including disruption/evictions, lack of access to digital, etc.

  • A piece of advice I give often… The One Show got v excited about this. Think before you post … does this truly represent what you want to say – and are you happy for all these people to see it?

    Remember that anything that you write online – even in private messages, etc. are easy to copy & paste – and out of your control once you write them down… quite a good benchmark is thinking of these people who might read it … it may place limitations on what you write – being open and authentic does not mean shove it all out without filters!!

    You may still post, but at least you will post with awareness that you may attract kickback, etc..
  • This is one of the things that most people fear – although the numbers are still very low, and remember that every negative of technology, there’s a possible benefit – e.g. location identifiers, opportunities to meet the person ‘online’ (as their responsible adult) before they might meet offline, ability to keep in contact, etc. etc.

    As with ‘traditional’ child maltreatment, sexual or emotional abuse, the internet offers further opportunities to reach out to children, but with the added risk that children may not see those that they connect with online as the ‘stranger danger’ that they have been warned about, especially if they believe the person at the other end to be a child, or has been introduced electronically by a friend. As ever, sexual offenders often target children with particular characteristics, including “children in the care of the state; children who have experienced prior maltreatment; emotionally immature children with learning or social difficulties and problems with peer friendships; love or attention deprived children; children with strong respect for adult status; children from single parent families; children who will co-operate for a desired reward (such as money, computer games); and, children with low self esteem.”

    Natalie Collins, who runs the DAY programme, explains that a perpetrator of child sexual exploitation may buy a smartphone for a young person, paying the bill or offering pay-as-you-go vouchers in exchange for sexual or other coerced activity, or as a way of building a relationship with the young person, which can then be exploited.  The smartphone also serves as a way of controlling the young person, taking inappropriate images which can then easily be shared, or exposing them to unsuitable images. Legitimate chat sites and apps such as Skype are used for live-streaming child sex acts, using hard-to-trace virtual currencies such as Bitcoin. Collins created The DAY Programme, a youth domestic abuse education programme and trains practitioners across the UK to use the material with young people. She explains that the internet makes it easier to share resources, either openly, or as part of a password-protected package.


  • https://unsplash.com/collections/379314/addiction?photo=xsGApcVbojU

    From my book chapter awaiting publication: We have heard of four-year-olds addicted to iPads, requiring expensive detoxification therapy, Chinese children sent to military boot-camps for addiction therapy, but the 2012 EU Kids Online project discovered that nearly half of the children questioned were happy to describe themselves as addicted (if no specific definition was offered), as in many ways the term is seen as a “badge of honour”. It was also found that only about ten per cent demonstrated true signs of addiction. It can be an unhelpful term to use, for children and adults, in the same way that we wouldn’t describe most of those who drink alcohol as alcoholics, even if they drink to excess on occasion. Those who do tend to struggle with digital technologies are those who are likely to struggle no matter what – their addictive personality is more likely to be at the root of the problem, rather than the technology itself. With the ubiquity of digital, in the same way as police crime figures are noted as containing more references to Facebook and Twitter – because more people are using them – increasing addiction to technology, or the material that it gives access to is incredibly unsurprising.

    Antony Mayfield, a digital consultant, notes that we like to believe that we’re in thrall to our devices (2010): “Oh, I must take this call”, but the machines don’t care what we do. Signs of true addiction will be the same as for any other addiction, increasing activity to get the original ‘high’, withdrawal symptoms when disconnected, increasing conflict or disconnection with those in the social circle, the likelihood of relapse, and evidence of the ‘sunk cost’ fallacy: not wanting to abandon something after so much time has been sunk into it. It is interesting to note that we’ll frequently talk about internet addiction, but this accusation is not made at those whose noses are buried in a ‘good book’, or a newspaper. There’s something about the digital that attracts particular criticism, and we need to consider whether it is valid condemnation, or whether any of our habits or lifestyles, when viewed as a whole, require more consideration. In contemporary society, the outside world can feel unsafe, particularly for children, and therefore, we spend more time inside our homes, where it becomes natural to pick up our mobile devices and engage with our online connections. We regularly hear in the news that melatonin production is being affected by the lights on our electronic devices as kept in our rooms. It’s worth keeping up to date with the debates on the latest health discussions relating to technology, experiment with, for example, leaving your phone out of the room, and see if life changes for the better.
  • Also from my book chapter: A study by London School of Economics highlighted how the ubiquity of pornography, both men’s and women’s, has warped people’s ideas of body image, sex and sexuality- - all becoming increasingly unrealistic”. Increasingly younger children are exhibiting more extreme sexualised behaviours. Childline, in launching the app ‘Fight Against the Porn Zombies’ to help children, highlighted how over 1,000 children had contacted them between 2013 and 2014 about porn, about the fact that they enjoyed it, felt worried or pressurised by it, and worried that they are addicted. The numbers are high - young people searching for adult material of a sexual nature has been common for years; in many ways it’s a “rite of passage”. The core difference is that until recently it took some effort to acquire printed pornographic material, whereas huge amounts circulate freely online, much of it more hard-core and violent in nature than before. A study by digital analysts Juniper Research concluded that adult smartphone users would each watch an average of 348 porn videos on their devices in 2015. A key issue identified is the lack of ‘reality’ that is seen online, and that this is changing expectations about what people (particularly women) will do. In 2010, a Home Office report warned that the “drip-drip” exposure to sexual imagery – including pornography, “lads’ mags”, and sexual imagery in advertising – was warping young people’s perceptions of themselves; “encouraging boys to become fixated on being macho and dominant, and girls to present themselves as sexually available and permissive”. Too much emphasis in porn on “the perfect body” is leaving people unhappy when their own bodies don’t match up.


    Dealing with online pressure comes in many forms, of which sexting is a particularly prominent in many minds. A widely used definition of sexting is: ‘The act of sending sexually explicit messages or images, primarily between mobile phones.’ With easy access to mobile technology, images can speedily spread, with emotional, social, and criminal consequences. Those who send these messages probably want desperately to fit in, to ‘prove’ they are ready for a relationship, and, being impulsive, don’t consider the consequences of their behaviour. The development of apps such as Snapchat has given the illusion of control, as the image “disappears” after a few seconds, but users must understand that copies of it could be made, and are stored on servers on the way through. There is increasing social pressure to provide sexts, but in many ways it is simply the technological development of that old chestnut “If you loved me, you’d sleep with me”, with threats made that relationships will be broken off, or previous photos circulated, if photos are not provided. For those struggling to understand notions of sexual consent, sites such as Pause, Play, Stop can help users through interactive material. The biggest danger point for sexted photos comes when a relationship ends, when photos may be shared in revenge. For every photo shared, work on the assumption that there is a good possibility it will not remain private. Once out in the public domain, it can quickly multiply and never be taken back. If you receive a sexting image, you should remove it quickly - Police can access a data trail in search of “proof” as to what you did with the image.
  • Cyberbullying – huge issue – speed, constantly, digital pile-on are core – the 3 roles – bullied, bully, bystander.. (Nancy Willard – is not something kids HAVE to live through…)

    Bullied – likely to spend excessive time online, or avoid it – maybe interactive nervously, numbers involved vary, but more ‘reliable’ research indicates about 20% affected in some way). Spend extra time with them, develop confidence, don’t remove devices, listen to them, not their fault. // Think about IF/how to respond, keep copies of messages, may be able to block a/cs

    Try to keep the communication channels open, but also understand that many children will seek support from their peers if possible. Those who are enabled to deal with the problem, rather than retreat from it, gain confidence to deal with any further incidents. Those who are very upset, are already self-confident, or are long-term victims (so are fed up) are the most likely to head towards action. The most vulnerable are likely to just stay offline, feeling unable to talk to anyone, or to take any action that will make the situation better, and thereby reducing their capacity to cope even further. P117 RCIDA

    The Bully – Disinhibition. Any solutions? Not easy ones, and part of a bigger attitude change – look at advice re bullying in general, but this is where removing access, and encouraging them to understand the harm/take responsibility = key.

    The Bystander – the importance of stepping in, rather than standing back … digital allies… the need for ‘digital allies’ prepared to step in …

    Cyberbullying is a major concern for many, particularly with regards to children, although it is present across all age-groups. The core difference between “traditional” bullying and “online” bullying is the pervasive nature of it – in all locations and at all times of the day and night, leaving a feeling of no escape. Online, it is also much easier for others to get involved fast – for good and for bad – and for an issue to resurface long after the initial incident, potentially prompting another episode of bullying, with accompanying public humiliation. Cyberbullying can take a range of forms, including threatening or hateful texts, email or chat messages. Pictures or video clips, including “happy slapping”, silent or abusive phone calls, stealing a phone, and using it to harass others, nasty comments posted on websites or social media, creating internet polls such as ‘Who’s hot’, blogging to damage the reputation or privacy of others, including sharing personal data, or forcing users to share messages, threatening “social isolation” for non-compliance. As with all forms of abuse, the risk factors are typically the same as those offline: those who are most vulnerable will again be the most likely to be affected. Extra factors in identifying those being cyberbullied include particularly secretive computing use, extreme possessiveness of phones, to which nervous looks are directed in expectation of the next message. Good communication is key to help those affected to understand that this is not their fault, they shouldn’t respond, but should save copies of messages, search websites for how to block users, whilst wider cultural change is required to help bullies understand the harm they are causing. The role of bystanders is often ignored in discussions about online bullying, but they can play an important role in encouraging others to take action. Don’t forget the famous saying attributed to Edmund Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” When a situation is already difficult, the real-time nature of social media can feed the situation, but it can also be used to ease tension and allow friends of the victim to declare themselves as “digital allies”. If someone spots a hurtful comment, others can pre-agree to come in and protest against the posting. There are many books addressing this topic in more depth and The Guardian has an entire category on the topic.
  • One final set of vulnerable users I wanted to mention – children who have been fostered/adopted – like to look into this more, but this a group that particularly need to ensure that photos/details are not shared online. These children are already more vulnerable, and often have been rescued from difficult situations – so, as with all children, make good use of privacy settings, think about the kind of content you share (lots of information in the press recently re sharenting, possible legal contestation of what parents have shared) to protect particularly vulnerable users (who can also include:children in the care of the state; children who have experienced prior maltreatment; emotionally immature children with learning or social difficulties and problems with peer friendships; love or attention deprived children; children with strong respect for adult status; children from single parent families; children who will co-operate for a desired reward (such as money, computer games); and, children with low self esteem).

  • Some of the more positive sides of sharing online include the ability to keep logs of abusive materials, obtain professional counseling online, which allows full control of what is being shared offender’s access to victims can be restricted (with expert help), and victims can be kept involved in any legal processes and connected with appropriate organisations.

    As highlighted earlier, few of these issues are specifically created by technology, but they do add extra dimensions. One aspect to be aware of is disinhibition, which occurs when the technology appears to offer a buffer from traditional consequences, because the face of the ‘victim’ has been lost behind a screen, or the abuser is disguised behind a false identity. People will say and do things online that they would not otherwise say or do, because they have lost the visual clues of the feedback cycle. Disinhibition can have positive consequences, enabling those who are shy or unable to speak up in person a space to ask questions that would otherwise be too difficult to ask, especially via online forums such as those available on Mumsnet or via Women’s Aid, where users are advised to be careful with the information shared, assuming that it is public.
    Women’s Aid, Survivor’s Forum. http://www.womensaid.org.uk/page.asp?section=0001000100080021&sectionTitle=Survivors+Forum
  • Important = can bounce back, etc. seems to have been an increasing number of events about resilience – or maybe I’m just being invited to them… but is also something we’re noticing at university level – kids are struggling with anxiety/depression, etc more than ever before, and needing a lot more reassurance re grades/being told what to do – afraid to make mistakes – don’t blame the kids – blame our culture/society (and can we change things at an earlier stage) …

  • Importance of not seeing ‘online’ as ‘virtual’ – then people seem to think different rules apply, but it’s a part of our whole lives/society, and should be treated as such… remembering ALWAYS that there is a human being on the other side of the screen (disinhibition)

    Within this, want to think how we stand as role models… and encourage everyone to think about what they share... Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should! One friend uses the acronym ‘HALT’ – if you’re Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired, step away from the keyboard/pad and deal with that issue first ... And/or .. Learn how to use the private spaces such as PMs/DMs/Groups, rather than public messaging

    Understand the pressures that they are under – FOMO, value of friendship tied to speed of response, the pressure to accept friendship with anyone they already know offline, etc., ubiquity of smartphones, fact that despite age 13 being the ‘appropriate age’ for pretty much every social media platform (US legislation) most younger are on one or more...

    Another bit from book chapter: To any concerned with any of these possible addictions, whether digital, gaming or porn we would emphasise the importance of conversation, and a consideration of the bigger picture. These particular addictions don’t occur in a social vacuum, the fact that pornography and violent games are considered forms of entertainment are problematic and need to be addressed by wider conversations regarding cultural change. Internet filtering is often presented as a solution, particularly to pornography, but these don’t tend to deal with the root problem, and there are many workaround solutions. Accountability options can be more productive, whilst Johann Hari’s TED talk encourages us to look at how we can reconnect people with society, so that people fell less driven to addictive practices.
  • Often kids don’t understand – especially as online = “disinhibition” = sometimes being exposed to what they’ve done is ‘enough’ – if not, then there’s a bigger problem there, which the digital is just part of … exercise is saying some of that stuff out loud to others can make it “real”...
  • Note – very interested in who takes responsibility for all this – here we have the BBC, but I think we all have responsibility TOGETHER – schools, parents, researchers, churches – you name it – we can’t just make stuff and not think about how/why it might be used…

  • Use these kind of statements to discuss = a really good starting point…
  • Just last week – in The church Times… guidance for digital for kids to keep them mentally healthy… trying to summarise the thinking from my book re building up resilience – understand values, talk, and then we as bigger organisations keep researching & sharing that knowledge + challenging the companies, etc.