How to make internet safer for kids without censorship?
We go above and beyond to keep our children safe in the physical world. We keep a constant watch over them while they are out playing in a park, or when we sense that they are about to try a daring stunt. If we see them talking to a stranger, we immediately try to intervene, asking questions about what was said and try to judge the character and the intent of the stranger. However, we aren’t, or rather, we cannot be; as cautious about what our children do online. We feel that they are safe as long as they are physically in our sight, even though they might be engaging an abusive relationship online, without us knowing anything about it.
According to the Independent, around one in four children have experienced a form of online abuse in the past 12 months, new research has revealed.
Ofcom, the United Kingdom’s communications regulator, conducted a study with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to identify concerns the nation has about using the internet. Their findings, which were published in Ofcom’s first annual Online Nation report, showed that 23 percent of children have been cyberbullied in the last year, while 39 percent have been subjected to offensive language online. The majority of these harmful online experiences – 24 percent – occurred on Facebook, with 12 percent taking place on Instagram and 8 percent on Snapchat.
Another survey by British anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label found that out of 10,020 respondents between the ages of 12 and 20, 50 percent reported having been bullied and 1 in 10 reported being bullied within the last week. Half of bullying victims reported being bullied about their appearance, 24 percent said they had their private information shared online, 27 percent had photos and videos shared against their will and 18 percent had their profile wrongfully reported.
It is clear that social media outlets don’t do their part. Mind you that it is a monetary issue as well. Maybe they sincerely are trying to end the threat for children but don’t have the money for it.
According to Techcrunch, the solution might be software. They describe Antitoxin as a new Israeli startup that wants to help web giants fix their abuse troubles with its safety-as-a-service. Evidently through the use of artificial intelligence, including natural language processing, machine learning and computer vision; AntiToxin can identify the intent of behavior to determine if it’s malicious.
It might worth a try. I am sure that many other software companies are working to solve this issue all around the world. However, I am a bit old fashioned in matters of family and relationships. Of course, it is very convenient to have software to keep the internet safe for your children so that you can enjoy some quite time while your child enjoys the benefits of the World Wide Web. But I still think that the best way to keep your child really safe is to talk to them regularly and to understand how and what they experience online. This will make you understand them better and will give you a chance to educate them so that they can take care of themselves if they spot someone with bad intentions on any platform that they are on. Nothing beats good old fashioned, face-to-face communication and really listening to what your children are saying.