Youth Speak on Safer Internet Day

In honor of Safer Internet Day, a new report from Insafe was released that features the United Kingdom’s largest study of young people’s attitudes toward online rights and responsibilities to date.  It features the voices of both elementary and secondary youth, each group coming up with its own Top 10 Online Rights. Here are the ones from the older youth (11-19 years):

  1. I should feel safe online;
  2. I should not be bullied online, and should not bully others;
  3. I should be able to access films, music, and TV online, but it is my responsibility to respect copyright law;
  4. I should support my friends if they need help online;
  5. I shouldn’t have to see unpleasant or hurtful content and I should know what to do if I come across it;
  6. There should be lots of websites that are interesting for people my age;
  7. I should be able to manage who can see the content I post online;
  8. The websites I use should have an easy and effective way of reporting;
  9. I should know what I can and can’t do online and understand that there are legal and offline consequences;
  10. I should be educated about staying safe online.

A great list to shape that last right.

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Update on blog management

Hi folks! Just so you know, I have now defaulted to moderating all comments in order to block spamming, which has gotten out of control. Mind you, I WILL post all comments that are sincere, even if they are just to say you liked the post or want to say “hi.”

I also implemented a mandatory typing of a word to avoid macros as spam.

Thanks to all of you for your patience in this matter. Now, on to our regularly scheduled programming :-).

Still struggling with SPAM

Hello out there in Reader Land!

I am working on the best way to deal with all the SPAM responses to this blog. I think some solutions I have developed are going to be good ones. One is that, unfortunately, I deleted a post that seemed to attract most of the junk. I am also working on other strategies.

Thank you for your patience! Not monitoring this blog is a sign of disrespect to you all — something I do not want to convey.

Cyberexhibitionism

While in a game’s uncensored chat room last night, a couple began chatting. Rather than asking one another how their weekend had been, they began to talk explicitly about pouring melted chocolate over each other, licking it off, and then … well I’ll give you three guesses where the rest of the conversation went. The couple were told to “get a room” as their conversation escalated, but instead told the dissenter to “mute” them or to “go find your own room if this bothers you … it’s uncensored chat!” I play in uncensored rooms to see these kinds of interactions; I am intrigued by what makes a person want to share details of their sex life with strangers. Is it narcissism? Do they actually want the attention conversations like this create?

Online narcissism runs rampant. The multitude of social networking sites, blogging platforms, role-playing games and chat rooms allow material that a person doesn’t even share with his or her closest friend to be hung on the laundry line for all to see. Not only is the material there to see, but it’s meant to be looked at and talked about. As a member of the first generation who has essentially always had the internet, I am rarely surprised at what people share online. However, the cyberexhibitionist conversation I read last night was one of those surprises.

Why would this couple refuse to move their very provocative (and somewhat “alternative”) conversation to private chat? Did they want all of us reading about what they would do if they had white chocolate AND dark chocolate on their hands? Maybe they’re online exhibitionists. I don’t know whether the chatters were getting off from sharing their conversation with the public, but it made me wonder about the prevalence of online exhibitionism. This “cyberexhibitionism,” a term coined by Charles Sykes in his book The End of Privacy: The Attack on Personal Rights at Home, at Work, On-Line and in Court, is a new word for a relatively old deed.

Although I was witness to adult cyberexhibitionism, most people know that online exhibitionism exists for teens as well (visit MySpace and look at teens’ pictures – cyberexhibitionism at its finest!). Teen chat rooms are oftentimes uncensored and while it’s been a long time since I spent any time in one, I’m positive that this kind of talk occurs. Is this another way for teens to learn about sex online? Is it a healthy way for teens to learn about sex? Have you ever been an unintended audience to cyberexhibitionists? Did it bother you to see such uncensored talk of sexual acts in public forums?

Blog Roll Added!

Scroll down to the bottom of the page to check out my Blog Roll. I am really trying hard to find others who are addressing youth online or youth and sexuality and ideally youth sexuality online! But, it’s hard. Check out who’s trying!