Few issues capture our anxiety about young people and digital media so perfectly as sexting. As with technologies at least as far back as the telegraph, much of this anxiety has focused specifically on girls and women.
There’s a long-standing relationship between sex and the Internet. As far as back the 1980s, Usenet and local bulletin board systems were used to share pornographic text files and crude (in both senses) graphics, and people have been using digital media to form and carry out online relationships at least as long. However, just as estimates of how much online traffic and content is made up of sexual material tend to be exaggerated, our new report – Sexuality and Romantic Relationships in the Digital Age – from MediaSmarts’ Young Canadians in a Wired World survey of 5,436 students, shows that for Canadian youth, sexuality and romantic relationships play a fairly small part of their online lives.
Having a family agreement or set of ground rules for using social networks is a good idea. It’s a great way for parents and kids to work together on how to be safe, wise and responsible online. Here are some ideas:
Thanks to the internet and social media like Instagram, Snapchat or TikTok, it’s easier than ever to share your views and encourage others to join you in making change. And, due to research conducted as part of the Digital Ecosystem Research Challenge (DERC), we know a lot about how some Canadians are using digital media to get involved in politics. This guide will help show you the ways you can use social networks to make your voice heard and make a difference.
This year, it may not just be Santa Claus who sees your kids when they’re sleeping and knows when they’re awake: one of the hottest trends this season is so-called “smart toys”, which use the Internet to hold artificially intelligent conversations with kids while they play. Last year’s Hello Barbie, one of the first to use this technology, was found to have a number of major security flaws – including automatically connecting the mobile device to which it was tethered to any Wi-Fi network with “Barbie” in its name. Now two more toys, a doll called My Friend Cayla and the i-Que Intelligent Robot, have been found to collect data in ways that are far more worrying.