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Tech Panic?

Future Tense has done a radio program about how so many parents, and other adults, are freaked out at the thought of online sexual predators trolling for children online. The result is a “tech panic”.–fear-and-well-being/3984732

Via Mind Hacks

On this radio show Dr. Danah Boyd, a prominent social media expert, discusses how “we’ve pulled young people indoors in an attempt to keep them safe” and that the reason kids are spending so much time online, is because they are being kept indoors to keep them safe from offline sexual predators. And that now, even that freedom is in danger, as many parents are in a panic over online sexual predators and now want to keep them off the internet.

So I definitely follow her argument. Kids are being kept inside to keep them safe (from predators, bullies, traffic and random violence). But I don’t see much evidence that kids aren’t being allowed online, just a lot of hand-wringing over online dangers.

Further, Dr. Boyd argues that kids are “sharing social interaction, very akin to the kinds of hanging out that we saw before. In terms of adults there is little doubt that the adults fears have been a part of what has brought young people in the home”. She also argues that this is a network effect “so for example, I’ll talk to parents who way I’d love for my daughter to run out and be able to go and hang out with her friends but none of her friends are allowed to do so, so therefore she feels this pressure to be at home cause her friends are online. We see these network effects, and in order to combat this, it can’t be individual parents who say hey it’s OK for you to get on your bike again, it has to be done as a society as a whole. And that kind of cultural shift is extremely difficult to do.”

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