It’s complicated by danah boyd

iQ was fortunate enough to hear internationally recognised social media researcher danah boyd speak back in 2012 (click here to access all of iQ’s resources on danah boyd). Now boyd has a book coming out entitled It’s complicated. The blurb from the book (via Amazon) explains what it’s about:

What is new about how teenagers communicate through services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Do social media affect the quality of teens’ lives? In this eye-opening book, youth culture and technology expert danah boyd uncovers some of the major myths regarding teens’ use of social media. She explores tropes about identity, privacy, safety, danger, and bullying. Ultimately, boyd argues that society fails young people when paternalism and protectionism hinder teenagers’ ability to become informed, thoughtful, and engaged citizens through their online interactions. Yet despite an environment of rampant fear-mongering, boyd finds that teens often find ways to engage and to develop a sense of identity.

Boyd’s conclusions are essential reading not only for parents, teachers, and others who work with teens but also for anyone interested in the impact of emerging technologies on society, culture, and commerce in years to come. Offering insights gleaned from more than a decade of original fieldwork interviewing teenagers across the United States, boyd concludes reassuringly that the kids are all right. At the same time, she acknowledges that coming to terms with life in a networked era is not easy or obvious. In a technologically mediated world, life is bound to be complicated.

This is not an advertisement for the book, just a pointer to a resource that many people may find useful. Public libraries may stock this book.

Social media app winning over kids, but police warn of its nasty Kik

On Sunday, The Age published a report about the social media app Kik.

NSW Police have described it as ”the number one social media problem involving teenagers” – but most parents would barely have heard of messaging app Kik before this week.

Kik’s popularity among young people was highlighted by the disappearance of Sydney teenager Krystal Muhieddine, who left her house early on Tuesday morning in a car with a stranger before being found in country Victoria on Friday.

The app can be installed on iPod touch and iPad devices as well as smart phones. Instead of using phone numbers or real names to contact each other, each Kik member has a user name. Conversations and images can’t be viewed publicly, which makes it much harder for parents to monitor Kik than Facebook or Twitter.

Cyber safety expert Ross Bark said Kik and Instagram were a ”dangerous combination” for teenagers, who post photographs publicly on Instagram and then invite viewers to ”Kik me” privately to chat.

”They’re literally promoting themselves, saying ‘come and talk to me’,” Mr Bark said. ”They can randomly chat with somebody and send images, and they don’t understand the consequences of who is using that information.”

Read the whole story here.

Knicks star fined for tweets

SBS online has reported that New York Knicks basketball player J.R. Smith was fined US$25,000 by the NBA after publicly threatening Detroit player Brandon Jennings on Twitter.

NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn said the fine was imposed “for directing hostile and inappropriate language to another player via his Twitter account, in violation of NBA rules”.

Interestingly, Smith was the target of a tweet back in 2009 that cost Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban a $25,000 fine. It’s a shame that Smith has joined the league of sports people who have fallen foul of public expectations via his ill-thought-out tweets.

Read about the NBA rules here. Read the whole report here.

You posted that on Facebook?

Ellen Degeneres has a segment on her show called You posted that on Facebook??

Knowing the names of her audience members, their public Facebook accounts are searched by researchers and the funnier and more questionable photos are then displayed on Ellen’s show. What never fails to amaze me is how embarrassed people are when their photos are displayed publicly. It seems that they’ve forgotten that they were the ones who uploaded the photos to a Facebook account that can be accessed by the general public.

NZ cyber bullies may face jail

The Age is reporting that the New Zealand parliament is working on a law where cyber bullies could face imprisonment of up to three years.

… the Harmful Digital Communications Bill, backed by New Zealand Justice Minister Judith Collins, [is set] to crack down on bullying via social networking, email, mobile phones and websites.

It creates a new criminal offence for sending messages or posting material online with intent to cause harm – including threatening and offensive messages, harassment, damaging rumours and invasive photographs – with penalties of up to three months’ imprisonment or a $NZ2000 ($1766) fine.

It also creates a new offence of incitement to commit suicide – even in situations when a person does not attempt to take their life – punishable by up to three years’ jail.

Read the whole article here.

Too much, too soon

The Age recently published an article looking at how parents can stop their children inadvertently viewing pornography online.

Statistics on pornography:

• 70% of boys and 53.5% of girls have seen porn by age 12; 100% of boys and 97% of girls have seen porn by age 16. (Source: The Sex Lives of Australian Teenagers by Joan Sauers.)

• 67% of teens have cleared out their browser history or cache to make sure their parents can’t view their online activity; 64% of parents do not use online parental controls or filtering software. (Source: Microsoft, 2011.)

• 88% of scenes in mainstream pornography contain some sort of physical or verbal aggression. Significantly, 94 per cent of that aggression is directed towards women. (Source: Aggression and Sexual Behavior in Best-selling Pornography Videos, University of Arkansas.)

• Porn sites account for 30% of all internet traffic. (Source: Google DoubleClick Ad Planner 2012.)

• The most popular porn site on the internet attracts 4.4 billion page views per month. (Source: Google DoubleClick Ad Planner 2012.)

Tips for parents include:

• Create individual logins, passwords and security settings for each family member. Microsoft recommends that passwords contain at least eight characters and be a combination of upper-case and lower-case characters, punctuation, numbers and symbols.

• Employ security filters, such as Net Nanny or Norton 360 Multi-Device.

• For Apple iOS devices (iPhones, iPads, iPod Touch) you can change and control settings in just three clicks. For more information on parental controls go to support.apple.com/kb/HT4213.

• The Parents, Tweens and Sex iPad app is available on iTunes. For more information, see ptsapp.com.au.

Read the whole article here.

Teen “Sexting” Behaviors

The US Department of Justice has recently released a report entitled Building a prevention framework to address teen “sexting” behaviours. Although a lengthy report, some pointers can be taken from the recommendations:

The focus group participants converged in the sentiment that parents and families play a central role in shaping teen values and decisions surrounding sexting and related issues. The participants also offered insights into both the necessity and challenges of engaging families and parents as part of our responses. Participants in the parent focus groups often lamented the laxness of standards and discipline exercised by other parents… we observed wide variation in participants’ level of atunement to, and understanding of, teenage social use of technology in general, and teen sexting behaviors in particular. Parents also regularly described teens’ use of digital communication technology as a source of tension and conflict, highlighting themes such as the costs of cellphone bills, challenges of enforcing and monitoring internet usage, and the negative and disruptive qualities of texting and social media.

Again, an open line of communication between parents and children is recommended as well as parents teaching their children about their expected values.

I need to know about online shopping

Today’s resource provided by the Australian Communication and Media Authority‘s Cybersmart website, looks at online shopping. The page looks at:

  • Will I get what I paid for
  • Know the basics
  • Protect yourself
Well worth a look for anyone who shops online.

You can access the whole page here.

Spying on shoppers?

Recently reported in the news is the UK supermarket Tesco and their plans to scan shoppers for advertising purposes. The Sydney Morning Herald explains:

British supermarket chain Tesco is installing hundreds of high-tech screens that scan the faces of shoppers as they queue at tills to detect their age and sex for advertisers.

The supermarket has signed a deal with Amscreen, a digital signage company owned by Lord Alan Sugar, in a move which drew concern from privacy campaigners about the growing use of ”invasive” technology in shops.

Cameras built into a digital advertising display above the tills identify whether a customer is male or female, estimate their age and judge how long they look at the advertisement displayed.

The ”real-time” data is fed through to advertisers to give them some idea of how effective their campaigns are and to enable them to tailor advertisements to certain times of the day

Not sure what this means for Australia and whether we can expect this soon. Read more here.

Hey, you with the phone, listen up!

Have you ever been a victim of ‘phubbing?’ I know I have. Maybe you were the perpetrator. What is phubbing? Wendy Squires wrote in an article in The Age on 2 November that phubbing is:

snubbing someone in a social setting by looking at your phone instead of paying attention.

She continues

here’s what’s not justified: checking what some friend you barely know said about a message you posted while bored on the cab trip over. Neither is digesting whether a text message from a new beau reading ”cool” means yes or maybe, or learning that your 17-year-old can’t find the Milo in the pantry.

Then there’s texting during a film (Madonna was recently booed by cinemagoers for this), while eating (manners, please!) and before or after sex (never a turn on – even if the phone is switched to vibrate).

Because what those things are is rude. Damn rude. As in ”do you think I’m so boring that reading inanities on a tiny screen is somehow better than my company?” inconsiderate.

Sometimes we all need to do a quick check of our phones for important messages, but what I’m talking about is extended distraction from the people in front of you – perhaps 10 or more minutes. We need to be mindful that if we make a commitment to see people in a social setting, then we need to spend time with them, not the people in our online world. They’ll still be there when you get back home. But your f2f friends may not.

I know that when I was phubbed, I was angry and annoyed that I’d bothered to go out with my friend. If she would have preferred to be online than see me and my friends, then perhaps she should have stayed home.

Read the whole article here.