Internet safety – what are the real risks? Raw Notes.

Presentation by Greg Gebhart.
Works @ Moana College in Melbourne and part-time for NetAlert. Netalert established in 1999. Can be booked for schools. Broadband and dialup converge by 2008 - latest study said that very few kids access from a bedroom. Predators can lure someone in 7 or 8 minutes before they can be in a private chat and exposed to something undesirable. Chat windows open - 10 - but one girl had 730 or so names on her buddy list. 89 % of access is at home, not at school. Some kids playing a lot of dangerous games. Girls more likely to use chat technology - wireless networking is making online access easier. Used Netstumbler in hotel room and found 33 unsecured wireless points. Touched on the practice of wardriving and then ipods and podcastirg technologies. A risk factor is inappropriate material as podcasts (suicide, mutilation, bodcasts) - trading of inappropriate material that isn't part of the school network. Camera phones where images are uploaded to the net - children don't understand the consequences. A simple technique is to downgrade the image so that is not of use for child pornographers. Porn generates ten times the revenue that eBay does. Sophisicated scams targetting banking log ons, gambling - phishing. Very cleverly designed websites that capitalise or misspelt domain names. The issue of cyber-bullying is growing - bullying webpages, now a court case involving a teacher being bullied by students. Showed us the site called - a form of cyber bullying. 65% of Cyberbullies are girls. Walked us through MySpace and Bebo - so much personal information out there. We need to educate our kids as to what is appropriate to post online. Greg then showed us some case studies then a video from the US called "Predator". Good news is that over 80% of kids have only known friends and family members on their lists. Warning signs are kids who are "glued' to the screen because they are scared of losing their new friend or missing out on conversation. Great to be at a session that was super informative but advocated education, not banning stuff.

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2 thoughts on “Internet safety – what are the real risks? Raw Notes.

  1. Bill Kerr

    hi graham,

    From reading your report the emphasis appears to be on the risks rather than a risk / benefit analysis of the two way web. Was that the emphasis of the talk, or the way you reported it, or my misreading of your report?

    Danah Boyd:
    “The fear of predators has regularly been touted as a reason to restrict youth from both physical and digital publics. Yet, as Barry Glassner notes in The Culture of Fear, predators help distract us from more statistically significant molesters. Youth are at far greater risk of abuse in their homes and in the homes of their friends than they ever are in digital or physical publics….”
    There is a link to the original interview at my blog link.

    I think we need some balance in this discussion.

    The fear based filtering currently in place in SA schools is far more about the right to control (including control of adults) than protection of children

  2. Graham

    Post author

    No, Bill you didn’t misread my notes. It was emphasised at the end that NetAlert is about education, not banning but there wasn’t a lot about changing anything in terms of our filters. I think the stats quoted would be fodder to “prove” that the filters used are providing a “safe” environment at school. (We know that isn’t necessarily true – kids can hack the system, but maybe more an indicator of how little time kids are allowed online in classrooms!)The vast majority of the presentation was on the dangers and the cases that have occurred in Australia (for illustrative cases.) Interestingly, every time there was a conversation in a workshop or presentation about the read/write tools that could empower student learning (i.e. edublogs, wikispaces, flickr) it was just suggested “talk to your administrator to get it unblocked”. That’s hardly a long term solution but then again, the major decision makers weren’t really at this conference, so the other side effects of the current filter system (blocking access to tools that kids use freely in the real world) aren’t really the focus here yet. There was a lot of focus on web based learning this year so maybe awareness is building momentum.

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