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Online Safety… Not!

October 28, 2007

Mrs W is angry. When you hear what some journalists will do, you’ll be angry too.

WisnaeMeI spend a lot of time telling kids the basics of online safety, and one of the first things I tell any child is don’t give out your A/S/L (Age / Sex / Location). A recent (non) story in my local paper managed to break this cardinal rule. In the process of reporting, they gave out the A/S/L of the pupil at the ‘center’ of the story… so much for keeping children safe online. See what Mrs W has to say about it and then see if you agree!

What really galls is that the reporter does not appear to have his own online identity, and so one is left with the impression that it is a piece of ill-advised sensationalist journalism which serves to sell a few more copies of the newspaper at the expense of someone’s privacy. In other words, it is the sort of behaviour one expects from the disreputable end of Fleet Street, not a local paper.

I’m not alone in thinking this way as I notice that Ollie Bray and Ewan McIntosh have also posted about it. It strikes me that the time is fast approaching for there to be some form of high-profile spreading of basic online safety information, and that we need to realise that this is not just an online problem!

I hope to be offering some basic online safety courses in the New Year, and I think I’d better invite the PA journalist responsible for the story along… maybe then he’ll think twice before acting so irresponsibly!

(UPDATE: Mrs W has a really interesting take on the digital holiday maker syndrome suggested by the above.)

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 28, 2007 10:34 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more here Neil – I was really angry that the press have been so irresponsible here. As you know we have been doing a lot of work to educate parents. I think that journalists need to wake up to the realities of Internet safety and in this case child protection.

  2. October 29, 2007 2:59 pm

    I am now “Outraged of Scone” – a woman of letters I’ll have you know. I’ve written to the PA oldstyle…. well e-mail but that’s a pretty ancient form of communication these days.

  3. October 29, 2007 8:28 pm

    I agree too Neil.

    Sorry I didn’t get back to you. I would have popped passed the Academy on Friday, had there been time.

    Good session had by all though.

    Tess 🙂

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