When a screen is their world

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that

Giving your child internet access isn’t damaging, but having no limits may be, writes Linda McSweeny.

Toddlers are navigating technology at a rapid pace, but left to their own devices, some of these tech-savvy kids could end up in a dark and possibly addicted head space by adolescence.

Psychologists say parents must pay attention to their children’s access to apps, online games and smartphones from a young age, to ensure they glean the benefits rather than the problems of our tech-heavy world.

Your children may have a problem if they:

  • Seem happy online but angry offline.
  • Focus on being online instead of doing homework or dining with family.
  • Spend more time online than with friends.
  • Refuse to admit how much time they are spending online.
  • Lose sleep to go online.

Although we know that technology is important to us all, the amount of time spent using it is one of the most important issues facing parents at the moment.. Read the article in its entirity here.

Australian Institute of Family Studies report on the role of emerging communication technologies in experiences of sexual violence

Recently the Australian Institute of Family Studies published a report entitled The role of emerging communication in experiences of sexual violence. They explain:

This research study investigates how communication technologies facilitate sexual violence against young people and what challenges this presents for the Victorian criminal justice system. Based on interviews with young people and professionals working with young people, it examines the effects of technology on the lives of young people, the interface between emerging communication technologies and experiences of sexual violence, and the factors that enable or hinder appropriate legal responses. Communication technologies such as online social networking sites and mobile phones are considered, and their use in identifying and grooming potential victims, blackmail and intimation, sexting, harassment, and pornography.

Contents include:

Please note

Some of the content in this report contains information that may cause distress to the reader. If distressed, please call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).

This report is certainly well worth reading. Although communication technologies can be used for amazingly creative purposes, like everything, they can be abused and put others at risk.

Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre Australia

The Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre is a relatively new organisation in Australia. It

explores the role of technology in young people’s lives, and how technology can be used to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people aged 12 to 25. The Young and Well CRC unites young people with researchers, practitioners, innovators and policy-makers from over 70 partner organisations across the non-profit, academic, government and corporate sectors.

They continue:

Over the next five years, our research will:

  • Enable young people to participate safely and confidently online;
  • Equip young people to shape their own futures and build the skills and personal networks to ensure they succeed in education, employment and volunteering;
  • Support young people within their families;
  • Empower young people to take part and be active in their communities; and
  • Strengthen early intervention and treatment to prevent mental health problems worsening.

This video explains more:

It looks like the Young and Well CRC will be an excellent advocate and resource for the wellbeing of young people.

Rethinking privacy in an era of big data

Recently the New York Times published a piece on privacy in the era of big data. Asking questions such as:

  • who owns email correspondence between two people? (as someone who has accidentally found that a friend routinely forwards my private emails to others, this is a real issue.)
  • can we control the way we’re portrayed if other people post photos of us?
  • why should we have to make an effort to keep conversations private that were formerly private by default?
Social media researcher danah boys says
 “Regulation is coming,” she says. “You may not like it, you may close your eyes and hold your nose, but it is coming.”

The issue is what the regulation looks like, and how well it is considered. “Technologists need to re-engage with regulators,” she says. “We need to get to a model where we really understand usage.” Right now, even among the highest geek circles, “we have very low levels of computational literacy, data literacy, media literacy, and all of these are contributing to the fears.”

As always, laws need to play catch-up with what is happening in the world of technology and regulation could be some time coming.

Read the whole article here.