Sandy Garossino from Red Hood Project and Dr. Joe Ulatowski, Philosophy Professor, are guests on The Social Network Show. Sandy Garossino continues her series on cyberbullying and comments on the changes announced by Ask.fm. The social network, Ask.fm, recently announced changes to make their site safer for kids. This was announced after increased attention to the dangers of networking on their site and the loss of some of their advertisers. Sandy believes that this is a “public relations” move by Ask.fm and nothing more and that they do not care about the social network users.
The following is what Red Hood Project would like the social networks to incorporate: 1. A clearly defined measurable objective about making the network safer and a way to measure the objective; 2. A rule that does not allow adult strangers to contact a child anonymously; 3. User authentication (PayPal style); 4. Active supervision with penalties for users who abuse the system (with a real deterrent); 5. Independent moderation (most children will not report abuse); 6. New ethics where bystanders will report abuse if they are a witness to it.
Dr. Joe Ulatowski, a visiting assistant philosophy professor at the University of Texas, El Paso, has been studying the social network culture. He addresses the topic of the good and the bad of online anonymity. Most people will not use anonymity to cause harm yet, anonymity is on the side of the bullies. In some cases, anonymity is good, for example on blogs, where people can express political views without retaliation. Dr. Ulatowski thinks that the social networks need to be more “paternalistic” and set more guidelines to protect children and that the members of the social networks have to take it upon themselves to report abuse.
One suggestion from Dr. Ulatowski is to monitor your children’s “social network page” by setting up a website where you can monitor the traffic and get IP addresses of anyone who “likes” the page. Dr. J mentions other monitoring tools on the market.
The show ends with a discussion about “freedom of speech”. Face to face speech is the most intimate and it is understood what is acceptable to say. Talking on the phone is one step removed from face to face and not as intimate, so we may say things on the phone that we do not say in person. The written word is 2 steps removed from face to face and we feel safer saying things that we would not say in a face to face situation. This is what we are witnessing on the social networks.
To hear more of these two interesting guests, please listen to the show.
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