What Kind of Decisions Would You Make if Your Future Didn’t Depend on it?

Image result for kids in school

What if you had no filter? What if there were no repercussions for your actions both offline and online? What kind of world would that be? That would be 2017, where streaming your crimes, your transgressions or other people’s flaws, misdeeds, and imperfections on your phone seem to be the norm. Then you go to sleep and you go to work.

Check your phone. Check Facebook. Check Instagram, check Snapchat. Post some pics. Film some things. Say some things.  Rinse. Repeat. Regress. Check your phone. Check your email. Sound familiar?

Where did things go so terribly off the rails? When did we become a society with zero filters, zero morals, and zero discretion?

Unfortunately, we’ve been heading down this road ever since the world wide web was open for business so to speak. The difference now is that that type of world, the one in which no one has an off switch much less a digital moral compass, currently exists for generations that extend from Boomers all the way down to Gen Z and everything in between. As each year passes, more and more digital natives become the face of our societies. Digital immigrants, not so much. I, in our breakneck quest to evolve, technologically speaking, we have regressed to a point in which we all have become numb to a society some of us don’t recognize.

As each year passes, more and more digital natives become the face of our societies. Digital immigrants, not so much. Ironically, in our breakneck quest to evolve, technologically speaking, we have regressed societally, to a point in which we all have become numb to actions, words, and images that would have offended most of us a decade ago.

Is this HBO’s Westworld? Where we’re not “really’ responsible for our actions?

Maybe we’re living in that kind of world now.  The only difference is that in our world, things don’t reset. There are consequences. At least I would like to think there are. Other’s however, think nothing of posting, streaming and saying whatever they want. when they want and on their terms. No filter.

I would contend that we now live in a world where the shock value of what we see or do just doesn’t register with us or others the way it used to. Thus, either the bar has been raised or lowered, depending on your outlook; and thus seeing someone being murdered on Facebook will be alarming and disturbing for a lot of people, or it’s just another day in our always-on, digital, mobile and social world.  A new low if you will, but one in which we are not surprised.  Again, where did things get so sideways?

It’s because of these reasons that I have vowed to do something about it. Along with some others, we have created The Digital Futures Initiative. Our goal isn’t about blaming anyone or anything, it’s more about creating a baseline level of knowledge and understanding for parents, teachers, and children about the power and impact of digital, mobile and social. Similar to having a solid foundation of fundamentals if you were to play a sport, DFI wants to do the same for children. The simple goal? A fundamental understanding. Knowing what you have, what it can do and what to do with it.

Keep in mind that even if you were a digital native, that doesn’t mean that you automatically knew how to use the internet, your mobile device, your favorite app or Google search for that matter. It’s that understanding and realization that we want to bring to the schools. What do you think? Maybe the goal should be to just get the point across that there are repercussions for our online actions? It’s a start but we need to do so much more.


It’s the little things

Why do we work? Why do we smile? Why do we cry? Why do we wake up every day? I found this “card” in a pile of papers on my desk…

Apparently, the things that matter are the dog getting walked and winning a baseball game.  Actually the things that matter is the little critter that made this card.

Children and Facebook-15 links to Help Parents Learn

This is where my head is at right now. I’m listening to the pushback from Facebook users and parents who are concerned about Privacy. I’m compiling an exhaustive list of blog posts and articles related to Facebook, children, and privacy and how it impacts all of us.

Stay tuned for the wiki. In the meantime, here are 15 links to posts that address the issues that dominate not only my thoughts and hopes to see something done about Facebook’s complete disdain for its users; but also what keeps parents up at night… Some of the links here are to not only open parents eyes to what they are forced to deal with right now, but also in “how” to deal with it. I hope it helps.

Facebook: Children evade social websites’ age limits

Social media create new bullying issues for schools; Collier forum set for Monday

Too young for social networking?

Facebook, states set bullying, predator safeguards

How can parents access their children Facebook account

What is Facebook Doing to Protect Children from Sexual Predators?

Facebook ‘fails to protect children’

How To Monitor Children On Facebook

Should you be Facebook friends with your children?

Facebook urged to add ‘panic button’ for children

Facebook May Share User Data With External Sites Automatically

The Big Game, Zuckerberg and Overplaying your Hand

NYU Students Start Privacy-Minded Social Media Site

Social Media Parenting: Raising the Digital Generation

Why Facebook Can’t Be Trusted

Tech solutions that actually help society, where are they?

So I read this blurb this morning: According to a study conducted by the
Crimes Against Children’s Resource Center, the percentage of Internet users
ages 10 to 17 exposed to unwanted pornography in the previous year
increased from 25% in 2000 to 34% in 2005. According to a survey conducted
in 2004 by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 45% of
teens said they have friends who regularly download pornography from the
Internet. According to Nielsen/Net Ratings for February 2002, nearly 16% of
visitors to ‘adult’ websites were younger than 18 years of age.

Which led me to think, are we doing enough as a society to shield children from this? Should children be allowed or exposed to the expressions of free speech? I’d say the answer is no and no. Listen, I’m all for all of the great things that are being done right now for the benefit of web 2.0 and social networking, it truly is a magical time in our cyber world.

But don’t you think that part of our time as  online marketers and developers, should be devoted to using our awsome strength in regards to creating technology solutions to change things? Shouldn’t our tech knowledge and skills be used in somehow trying to segment our children from porn?  We all might as well admit that we all have seen porn online;, and I would love to see stats on how many adults have viewed porn, either at length, accidentily, or for whatever purpose. The gist is, we have all seen it. it’s too easy to find it. Want to know how easy? Just go into Google images for example and type in a simple term, and chances are some type of porn image will be included. Why? Because as I said in an earlier entry, porn marketers and tech developers are some of the savviest in the business.  They know how to drive traffic into porn related sites. Well you know what? Use some of that savviness to create some type of block to minimize the exposure to children. Riddle me this: What possible good does it serve for a child to view porn?

I don’t think parents have to be obligated to purchase something to block content.  You might think thats a bold statement, but when out in the streets or in public places, porn isn’t a storefront either like it is in cyberspace. Ok yes, there are certain streets in the US that have stroefronts, but you have to go out of your way to get there. the point is, I think there needs to be the www for all of mankind and then there needs to be the xxx  for porn. I know this was shot down, as far as domain extensions go but my other point is, porn needs to have it’s own universe and there need to be hoops that one would have to jump thru besides a button that says enter if you’re over 18. That has to the most assinine barrier to objectionable content I’ve ever seen.

Look, the crux of this rant is to say that it’s just not fair to children for them to see things that they don’t need to see just yet. You’re point might be,”well they will see it eventually”, and my point is, not if there were better controls in place. you might also say, well if they don’t see it here, then they will elsewhere, and I’ll  say, “not if it is made more difficult.” Then I will suggest, how about the only way to view porn online is by having a valid credit card? Then, there would always be a record in case it wasnt used by an adult. Plus, we know that most people under the age of 18 do not have a credit card. Sounds fairly easy doesn’t it?

Can’t blame me for trying, but at least I’m thinking of ways to prevent it. What are you doing about it? Chances are, not much. Thoughts anyone?

How do we let children surf the web?

I came across a subject and a website recently that is near and dear to my heart.  It is called the Childrens Educational Network. I did not know about it prior to this post though. But the topic has been on mind a lot lately. The reason it is important to me is that I think it is imperative to us, as adults, that we shield children from everything that is bad and wrong with the internet. Given the amount of facetime that pedophiles and internet porn is given, less is given to what is being done about it. Which leads me to this site. I am going to quote liberally here, but I don’t think they will mind…

 The Children’s Educational Network (CEN) is a software company developing and marketing a fully integrated suite of Internet software products that empowers parents to provide children a safe platform and meaningful tools to accelerate their children’s education, entertainment, and exploration of the “Information Superhighway” free from hate, violence, pornography and online predators.

Club TUKI is the newest web site community for kids designed to teach kids how to be safe and responsible internet citizens. 

The  TUKI Browser (The Ultimate Kids’ Internet) combines the most fun and safest content on the web for kids, deemed child appropriate based on our content policy. It features interchangeable themes, Internet filter, parental safety controls, safe email, chore reminders, encouraging words and talking animated characters.

You can download the FREE TUKI Browser from the TUKI.com website. Once installed, you can easily swap themes that appeal to different ages, genders and are fun and educational.

What makes this so important is that the alternatives are using a browser that allows children to go almost anywhere. Even with filters on you can still go through doorways and websites and search engines that will provide  content to children that is just unacceptable and leads to questions that parents should not have to answer. What ultimately happens is parents are stuck explaining the “why” and the “how come people do things like this” and the “who are” etc etc..Thus,  I think it’s unfair that children have to be exposed to these things at such an early period of their lives when instead it should be about being a child, first and foremost. If you agree, help me out and forward this post or at least Digg it.