Do young people care about privacy? Participants in MediaSmarts’ 2012 focus groups told us that they valued their privacy highly, despite being enthusiastic participants in platforms and activities that adults see as being about nothing but sharing and broadcasting. Looking at the findings from our Young Canadians in a Wired World survey of more than five thousand students from every province and territory in Canada, we can begin to understand that contradiction: young people may not care that much about what we think of as privacy, but they care very much about control – control over who can see what they post, over who can track them digitally and, most especially, over how other people see them.

Les jeunes se soucient-ils de leur vie privée? Les participants à des groupes de discussion de HabiloMédias en 2012 nous ont dit qu’ils se souciaient grandement de leur vie privée, même s’ils participent activement à des plateformes et à des activités que les adultes considèrent comme étant seulement des sites de partage et de diffusion. En examinant les conclusions de notre étude Jeunes Canadiens dans un monde branché réalisée auprès de plus de 5 000 élèves des provinces et des territoires du Canada, nous pouvons maintenant commencer à comprendre cette contradiction : les jeunes ne se soucient peut-être pas de notre définition de la vie privée, mais ils veulent avoir le contrôle, le contrôle de ceux qui peuvent voir leurs publications, de ceux qui peuvent savoir où ils se trouvent et, surtout, de la façon dont les autres les perçoivent.

Pour les parents d’adolescents et de préadolescents, Internet peut parfois ressembler à une liste sans fin de sites Web : Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, SnapChat, etc., en plus des nombreux autres sites qui viennent s’y ajouter tous les quelques mois. Bien que les risques pour la sécurité de ces sites soient souvent exagérés (il est plus efficace de développer une pensée critique plus large que de se concentrer sur les particularités des derniers sites préférés des enfants) [en anglais seulement], certains autres sites présentent des risques très réels et précis que les parents sont moins susceptibles de connaître. Ces soi‑disant « sites indésirables » offrent un accès non autorisé à du contenu protégé par le droit d’auteur comme de la musique, des films et des jeux vidéo.

For parents of teens and tweens, the Internet can sometimes seem like nothing more than an ever-expanding list of websites to keep up on: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat and so on, with new ones appearing every few months. While the safety risks associated with these mainstream sites are often exaggerated – and it’s more effective to build broader critical thinking skills than to focus on the particulars of kids’ latest favourite sites – there are some websites that present very real and specific risks and that parents are much less likely to know about. These are the so-called “rogue websites” that offer unapproved access to copyrighted content such as music, movies and video games.

To mark Safer Internet Day on February 11, we’ll be joining TELUS in a live webinar discussion of our Young Canadians in a Wired World research. Focusing on our first report, Life Online, our Director of Education, Matthew Johnson, will look at how the online behaviors and attitudes of young Canadians have changed over the past 10 years and what we can do to help keep our kids safe online.

Huit ans, c’est long quand il s’agit d’Internet. Entre 2005, moment où HabiloMédias publiait la phase II de notre étude Jeunes Canadiens dans un monde branché, et 2013, lorsque nous avons réalisé le sondage national des élèves pour la phase III, Internet a connu une énorme transformation : les vidéos en ligne, auparavant lentes et pleines de bogues, sont devenues l’une des activités les plus populaires sur le Web, tandis que le réseautage social est maintenant largement répandu tant chez les adultes que chez les jeunes. Les expériences vécues en ligne par les jeunes ayant également changé, nous avons interrogé 5 436 élèves canadiens de la 4e à la 11e année, dans des classes de chaque province et territoire, afin de découvrir comment.

It goes without saying that eight years is a long time on the Internet. Between 2005, when MediaSmarts published Phase II of our Young Canadians in a Wired World research, and 2013, when we conducted the national student survey for Phase III, the Internet changed almost beyond recognition: online video, once slow and buggy, became one of the most popular activities on the Web, while social networking became nearly universal among both youth and adults. Young people’s online experiences have changed as well, so we surveyed 5,436 Canadian students in grades 4 through 11, in classrooms in every province and territory, to find out how.

Snapchat, the mobile app that lets users send “self-destructing” photos, has the distinction of being the only digital tool that does not have a single redeeming feature. While the moral panic associated with blogs, cell phones, social networks and online games has largely faded in grudging recognition of their more positive uses (indeed, research shows that many parents have actually helped their children lie about their age register for Facebook accounts), Snapchat is seen as the Q-tip of the digital age: its sole function is to do the thing that you’re warned not to do on the box.

We generally think of our kids’ online and offline lives as being two separate things. In reality, they constantly overlap, flowing back and forth face-to-face in the schoolyard and through texts and social networks at home. But on the Internet there are lots of moral and ethical choices that don’t have to be made offline.

One of the biggest changes in our understanding of bullying has been an increased awareness of the important role witnesses play in any bullying situation. This has been partially because of cyberbullying, which makes it possible for witnesses to be invisible, to join in anonymously, to revictimize a target by forwarding bullying material – or to intervene, to offer support to the target and to bear witness to what they have seen. Just as we’re coming to realize how important witnesses to bullying are, though, we need to be careful to recognize how complex their role is.

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