Wednesday, January 20, 2010

FCC Chair Genachowski on Youth & Surge in Media Consumption

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said some interesting things at the recent Kaiser Family
Foundation event exploring media usage by young people.

The chairman, who worked to implement the Children's Television Act as a top FCC staffer in the 1990s, said the release of the study underscores the FCC's effort to update that act for the digital age--it launched an inquiry in October. "When I think about the challenges, I think about more screens, more time in front of screens, and more dangers from both."

He said the changes in technology and the media marketplace can "inform changes in policy going forward, so that we have, at the end, an ecosystem of policy, technology and economics that really serves kids and honors the First Amendment at the same time."

Balancing these factors will be the crux of the matter moving forward, and it is incumbent upon all technology developers and providers, especially in the internet safety field, to pay special attention to this balancing act.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Addiction to Facebook

It seems that Facebook has truly relegated MySpace to the wilderness. Social Networking essentially means Facebook at this point. MySpace is an afterthought for the great majority of people.

One of Facebook's important strategic decisions was to early on promote Facebook applications, that gave users the ability to perform a multitude of activities that was in a constant state of growth, but that didn't require growing Facebook resources. All they had to do was oversee and manage the process.

There was an article in Naperville Sun-Times today that explored the concept of addiction to Facebook. There are no similar discussions surrounding MySpace, in part because the activities on MySpace are still fairly limited.

One of the better quotes from the article:
"Oswego High School freshman Sara Rozhon told me she spends about two hours a day on Facebook. 'I'm addicted. (Without Facebook), I probably would have straight A's in all of my classes, and more of a life.' Rozhon does admit, 'I honestly think that without the distraction, my life would be easier.'"

Sunday, January 3, 2010

LA Times Editorial Stance on Cyberbullying

The LA Times had an interesting editorial the other day against schools enforcing anti-cyberbullying activities for actions taken off of school grounds.

The arguments of the editorial "Schools should not be responsible for policing Cyberbullying" definitely have merits from a legal standpoint. What is not discussed in the editorial is the fact that a huge amount of cyberbullying and bullying in general activities of kids have their genesis in the school setting, and therefore to some degree they bear some responsibility.

So rather than hiding behind legal frameworks, schools should be doing everything in their power to fight against bullying and cyberbullying. They should be empowering teachers to crack down forcefully on bullying within their hallways--which inevitably lead to cyberbullying outside their hallways.

The first line of the editoriaI is "Parents, not schools, are the first line of defense against cyberbullying." While this is true, it is by no means the entire story. Schools need to do everything they can to help parents in this regard. Take the example of Ryan Halligan--I know that Ryan's father did what he could to help and protect his son. It is adding cruelty to injury to suggest that he should have done more. There are far too many stories like those of Ryan Halligan, and as a society, we should be thinking of ways to prevent these tragedies rather than focusing on legal merits.
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