The New Language of Online Safety

harm

Reposted from the Huffington Post:

Stranger danger, online predators, cyberbullying… this is the scary talk you brace yourself for before attending a gathering about online safety, like the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) Conference, “Redefining Online Safety,” held in Washington D.C. last week.

But surprisingly, and thankfully, the online safety conversation is changing. According to a new FOSI study, conducted by Hart Research Associates and presented at the conference, 53 percent of parents surveyed report that the benefits of their kids’ using electronic devices outweigh the potential harms. And 42 percent say the two are about equal.

This research shows that parents are starting to understand that along with technology’s benefits come some inherent, yet manageable, risks. What are these risks? Well, despite heavy media focus on cyberbullying, parents are actually most worried about children being tracked by online marketers and viewing inappropriate or harmful content. There was a very clear consensus amongst the tech industry representatives, policy makers, non-profits, and academics at the FOSI event on the best way to mitigate these risks.

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