Friday, 23 April 2010

For The Children!!!

Emma-Jane Cross (founder and CEO of British fakecharity ‘Beatbullying’) - who we’ve come across before – weighs into the CEOP/Facebook row in an article in CiF:
…surely it has to be in everyone's best interest to make places such as Facebook as safe as possible.

Ceop, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, has seen its calls for Facebook to adopt their "report abuse" button rejected.
No, they haven’t.

They’ve agreed to a button, just not to placing it where Jim Gamble wants it.
The button allows users to immediately report any abusive, threatening, worrying or wholly unacceptable content or behaviour to a range of experts, who can provide specialist help as necessary.
And it still will…
For me, the impact and importance of having the Ceop button on websites populated by young people is clear. Young people love Facebook, but they also have a right to be safe. If they do ever get into trouble online, they want two things: first, to be able to report it to the website so it can take action, and second, to get help. Social networking sites can do the former but not the latter, and therefore need to work with organisations better placed to help their users around specific issues, such as cyberbullying.
Organisations like..?

Oh, go on, Emma-Jane. Don’t be shy!
The Ceop button, already implemented by Bebo and MSN (although haplessly small and ill-conceived in the case of Bebo), links directly to CyberMentors (Beatbullying's online service provision) for reported incidents of cyberbullying…
Ultimately, the safety of young people has to be what we must all come back to
Or to cold, hard cash. Right, Emma-Jane?
…that's why we need to work with the big industry players, the Facebooks and the Googles of this world. Their safety centres must be easy to find from every page, they must refer to support services, while awareness-raising campaigns are used to drive the message home.
Oooh, that’s a lot of ‘musts’ there.Why 'must' they do these things, Emma?
Data protection, privacy and civil rights, confidentiality and issues of consent should all be examined if we are to set standards for the safeguarding of young people on social networking sites. These are the issues we have to tackle with CyberMentors, which is in itself a social networking site – it provides young people who are being bullied or are dealing with a variety of wellbeing issues with real-time online mentoring from their peers and counselling from accredited counsellors.
So, you are the standard-setters, are you?
Think of the data we are holding. Imagine holding over 350,000 taped conversations of vulnerable young people, and as a matter of integrity, law and best-practice, be bound to protect them. These are private conversations which must be quarantined, privileged, safeguarded and if you care about privacy and civil rights, be subject to informed consent if you are to obtain, process and analyse the content. Now think of the data held by the big social networking sites, and question how they set out to safeguard; they can and they should protect data, privacy, and the identities (and locations) of their users, many of whom are under 18.
Ahh, right. Only charities (run as businesses/arms of government) should have access to that sort of data. Only they are to be trusted, eh?

I see where this is going now…
Child safety online goes beyond installing a reporting button or running an ad campaign. It's a great start, and an absolutely critical one, but the debate needs to be widened to include data protection and identifiability – and if we are going to prioritise the safety of our children online, then it's one we need to have now.
It’s a grab for more money, more access to policymakers, and (the key issue) more control over that pesky internet…


Bucko said...

There is an excellent button for vunerable young people being abused / bullied on the internet - The fucking OFF button.

I used to get bullied at school by a real live person. He used to punch me in the face, really quite hard. When I left school I joined a self defence class.
I would really have liked to be "cyberbullied" instead. Much less painfull.

Mike said...

there should be a 'liar, liar, pants on fire' button as well. following Tweedy's case it transpires she not only admitted in court that she didn't say no at the time but in the days following her alleged gang rape she posts herself out in bars with friends having a wail of a time on Facebook. This would be enough for me but an independent female witness has testified that she was overheard after the alleged rape discussing with friends that she wanted to stay overnight but they told her she would miss out on a lift home in a car with a friend.
How the fuck do these things end up in court? When someone has made such a serious allegation and then regular people witness completely contradictory evidential behaviour in the public domain why are the accusers not told to get bent and stop wasting our time. I dare say these lads did take advantage of a willing young girl who in return took free drugs and probably imagined some kudos from getting it on with someone ‘famous’ but this simply isn't rape. In hindsight I imagine she discovered that the only out from been seen as a complete tit for allowing herself to be used was the report of rape. Lets have some balance and when people see others flaunting themselves making a fools out of us all at someone's expense lets also have a way of reporting that. I can imagine a situation where a middle aged man is chatting up someone on some networking site who he believes to be young but legal and on the other end is some teenager boasting to her friends about the dirty old man she has tricked, and what a perv he is, this in itself should be an offence. I bet there’s nearly always people who know what these agent provocateurs are up to but they would probably have no way of contacting the real victim in these cases and would report their ‘friends’ activities if they could do it anonymously.
Being predatory as well has become unnecessarily taboo. We see the antics of women of a certain age chasing young men, Cougars, and that’s somehow OK but when grown up men indulge in their fantasy of attracting the attentions of young women this is always seen as predatory and bad. I suspect most men would find this attention flattering and exciting but if actually faced with an encounter would think again about the consequences. Its just the continuation to criminalise men for lets face it pretty sad but normal fantasies that usually amount to nothing in reality. I’m all for any attempt to catch paedophiles and rapists but a button on Facebook or where ever is going to abused just as dialling 999 is for some.

Mike said...

@ Bucko, was composing my comment while you posted, great point well put, why oh why do people not just just switch off? Its unfucking believable that someone is so traumatised by contact on the interweb that they don't just switch off, mark as spam, block, etc, etc. There is simply no excuse for bieng in contact with someone you don't want to be on the interweb.

Mark Wadsworth said...


I want one of those safety buttons for my 'blog as well, only mine would link straight through to a Russian 'offsite data storage' site or a Chinese online gambling site or a Dutch head shop ordering site or something. Or maybe any combination at random.

Jiks said...

"CyberMentors, which is in itself a social networking site" - does THEIR site have a panic button to report abuse I wonder? If so where does it lead the user?

Also, what the others said. Computers have off buttons which are cheaper than fake charities or quangos.

Brian, follower of Deornoth said...

Oh dear, no, microdave, that's the funniest thing I've seen in quite a while.

JuliaM said...

"There is an excellent button for vunerable young people being abused / bullied on the internet - The fucking OFF button."

Are you arguing that people should have self-control and take responsibility..?


"there should be a 'liar, liar, pants on fire' button as well."

There should certainly be some sort of comeback for those making false allegations, as it seems is the case in the US with their 'false sexual assault claim' charge.

Otherwise, all this biutton will do in increase the likelihood of these false allegation stories. And make lawyers rich, in addition to Jim Gamble and the likes of Emma...

"I want one of those safety buttons for my 'blog as well, only mine would link straight through to a Russian 'offsite data storage' site or a Chinese online gambling site or a Dutch head shop ordering site or something. Or maybe any combination at random."

Heh! That would indeed be awesome.

"Judging by the chavs posting on Al Jahoms blog, it would be preferable to just turn Facebook off - period..."

It's not every day you get a glimpse into such an alien world, is it?