Parents are over confident about internet safety

US author, educator and consultant Jeff Utecht has written an interesting post on how parents are dealing with the issues social media are bringing to the family home. He quotes the UK newspaper The Guardian:

Andy Phippen, professor of social responsibility at Plymouth University, said sexting – where schoolchildren are encouraged to take explicit photographs of themselves and send to other pupils – was a problem in most schools, despite the study revealing that 89% of parents believe their child has not been touched by cyberbullying or sexting.

“There is a disconnect between how safe parents think they can keep their children online and their actual ability to do that,” Phippen said. “Those conversations are not being had – we have a hell of a long way to go on internet safety. In schools we hear teachers unwilling to talk to teenagers about sexual images because they worry about their jobs, schools unwilling to record instances of cyberbulling because they are worried about their Ofsted reports.”

These statistics are of grave concern and demand us all to delve deeper into the way our children are using the internet. Read the whole blog post here.

Teens, kindness and cruelty on social network sites

Pew Internet (“The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan “fact tank” that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world.”) released a report on 9 November on Teens, kindness and cruelty on social network sites. Although interviewees were American, there are many conclusions the report makes that can apply to young Australians.

  • Fully 95% of all teens ages 12-17 are now online and 80% of those online teens are users of social media sites. Many log on daily to their social network pages and these have become spaces where much of the social activity of teen life is echoed and amplified—in both good and bad ways.
  • Facebook dominates social media use

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  • 88% of social media using teens have seen someone be mean or cruel on a social networking site
  • Only one in five teenagers say they were bullied in the past year. The most common occurrence was in person bullying
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  • Most teenagers say they just ignore the mean behaviour they see on a social media platform
  • Those who have had negative experiences are more likely to have public profiles
  • Parental monitoring: most parents prefer non-technical monitoring
  • Parents see the Internet and mobile phones’ role as a mixed blessing for their teenagers: tech helps their kids to be connected and it can bring distressing things into their lives.

Read the report summary here and the entire report here.

Internet safety presentation

Kew High School will be hosting a ThinkUKnow Internet Safety presentation on Monday 17th October, 2011 and all parents and carers are encouraged to attend.  The evening will commence at 7 pm in the VCE Centre.  The presentation will cover topics such as how young people are using technology, online grooming, cyber-bullying, inappropriate content and e-security.

ThinkUKnow is an internet safety initiative which aims to raise awareness of the issues which young people face online and whilst using mobile phones.  It is a partnership between the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Microsoft Australia, and is now proudly supported by ninemsn.

Please note the date in your diaries — it is an event that should not be missed.  We look forward to seeing you all at the presentation.  Please note that the session is tailored for an adult audience and we ask that young people are not present.