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> "We have met the enemy and he is us." --Pogo, Harvard scientists confirm what we all know about WikiCulture
Moulton
post Sun 25th January 2009, 11:24am
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From the Los Angeles Times

Greatest Internet threat to teens may be teens themselves

Teens are relatively safe from adults cruising online for sex with minors, a Harvard-led investigation finds. But beware the bullying and harassment by peers.

By Melissa Healy, January 26, 2009

Since emerging from the primordial ooze, parents have wrung their evolving appendages over ways to shield their offspring from hungry predators, lurking maniacs and strangers from without.

Again and again, they've learned, the threat to their children lies uncomfortably closer to home: Lion fathers would sooner eat their unprotected young than hunt wilier quarry; children pictured on milk cartons were more likely to have been snatched from home by an embattled parent than by a stranger; day-care providers were less intent on molesting a child in their care than was, say, a live-in partner, Uncle Wilbur or a trusted family friend.

It was a lesson brought home again earlier this month, when parents learned that the roughly six in 10 adolescents who socialize on the Internet have relatively little to fear from the faceless pervert lurking in the anonymity of cyberspace.

In an authoritative report almost a year in the making, a Harvard University-led task force on Internet safety, ordered by the nation's attorneys general and meant to expose the full extent of the danger, found instead that kids trading gossip, photos and plans on social networking sites such as MySpace are relatively safe from adults cruising online for sex with minors.

The perpetrators of psychological wounds and the stalkers who would steal their kids' innocence are probably not strangers, the study reported; more likely, they are the spiteful, sulking or silly friends the kids hang out with. And their own offspring may play a significant role in the misbehavior too.

Bullying and harassment, most often by peers, "are the most frequent threats that minors face," the report says.


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luke
post Sun 25th January 2009, 1:18pm
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Barry - Thanks for that. It was also reported in the NY Times on 13 January.

Some other links - Internet Safety Technical Task Force (ISTTF) ; slashdot discussion on their report ; audio discussion with John Palfrey (chair of the Task Force) and Dena Sacco (one of its co-directors)
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Moulton
post Sun 25th January 2009, 1:30pm
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QUOTE(luke @ Sun 25th January 2009, 8:18am) *
Barry - Thanks for that. It was also reported in the NY Times on 13 January.

Some other links - Internet Safety Technical Task Force (ISTTF) ; slashdot discussion on their report ; audio discussion with John Palfrey (chair of the Task Force) and Dena Sacco (one of its co-directors)

There is also a very nice discussion about it on NPR's On the Media, broadcast this weekend. You can listen to the segment, anchored by host Brooke Gladstone, via streaming audio. (The transcript will be up tomorrow afternoon.)

Here's the blurb on the segment...

QUOTE(On the Media on NPR)
Peer to Peer
January 23, 2009

Last year, 49 state attorneys general created The Internet Safety Technical Task Force to study the problem of how to keep kids safer online. A year later, the task force's findings have caused some controversy. Namely that the biggest threat to kids on the internet comes from their peers. Task force member and CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute Stephen Balkam discusses the study.
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dtobias
post Sun 25th January 2009, 2:38pm
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A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy.

One can also see the Twilight Zone episode The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street, or look at the Milgram Experiment or the Stanford Prison Experiment to see how easy it is to find (or become) enemies within a group.

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Moulton
post Sun 25th January 2009, 3:05pm
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QUOTE(dtobias @ Sun 25th January 2009, 9:38am) *
A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy.

One can also see the Twilight Zone episode The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street, or look at the Milgram Experiment or the Stanford Prison Experiment to see how easy it is to find (or become) enemies within a group.

This is related to the Jujitsu notion of letting the adversary destroy himself with his own arrogant power. To pull this off, it's important that the snare which trips up the superpower be one that even the lowliest and most powerless agent could trivially put into place, and one that anyone with their eyes wide open could spot a mile away and easily avoid.

I think it's fair to say that anyone can write an atrocious song parody and post it on an obscure blog that hardly anyone reads. And it goes without saying that it takes no effort at all to avoid visiting an obscure blog with little more on it than a few atrocious song parodies.

So how can it be that such an obscure blog draws the attention of the busy co-founder of the Internet's 7th most popular website?
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Moulton
post Mon 23rd March 2009, 9:53pm
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QUOTE(The Online Disinhibition Effect)
It's well known that people say and do things in cyberspace that they wouldn't ordinarily say or do in the face-to-face world. They loosen up, feel more uninhibited, express themselves more openly. Researchers call this the "disinhibition effect." It's a double-edged sword. Sometimes people share very personal things about themselves. They reveal secret emotions, fears, wishes. Or they show unusual acts of kindness and generosity. We may call this benign disinhibition.

The above thesis is the subject of the lead piece on NPR's On the Media. Other topics covered by the show include The Net's Mid-Life Crisis and three more segments about anonymous online reviews.
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