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Exploring variation in parental concerns about online safety issues

Widespread Internet adoption by youth has prompted concerns about the safety issues they face when they go online, such as being hurt by a stranger, being exposed to pornographic or violent content, and bullying or being bullied. danah boyd (Microsoft Research) and Eszter Hargittai (Northwestern) discuss their Policy and Internet paper Connected and concerned: Variation in parents’ online safety concerns, showing how parental concerns about online safety issues vary significantly by background—notably race and ethnicity, income, metropolitan status, and political ideology.

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Can Twitter provide an early warning function for the next pandemic?

With factors such as air travel act as a catalyst in the spread of new and novel viruses, the need to improve global population monitoring and enhance surveillance of infectious diseases is more pressing than ever. Patty Kostkova (UCL) discusses how the real-time streams of user data generated on social networks like Twitter can be used for monitoring the health of large populations, providing a potential early warning function for pandemics, detecting flu spikes weeks before official surveillance systems. Watch Patty talk on this subject at the OII.

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How effective is online blocking of illegal child sexual content?

Blocking of ‘illegal’ websites and online content keeps raising questions in many countries. Karel Demeyer, Eva Lievens and Jos Dumortier discuss the inefficiencies and legal perils of website blocking in their Policy and Internet paper: Blocking and Removing Illegal Child Sexual Content: Analysis from a Technical and Legal Perspective. They find that blocking is a technically ineffective means of stopping the distribution of child pornography, and that it risks ‘mission creep’ if blocking measures are extended to sites that violate other laws, such as copyright or gambling.

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Uncovering the structure of online child exploitation networks

As the problem of child pornography online continues to grow, it has become imperative that law enforcement resources be allocated in the most efficient manner. Martin Bouchard of Simon Fraser University discusses the web-crawling tool he designed (with colleagues Bryce Westlake and Richard Frank) to automate the process of searching for child pornography websites, and to identify the ‘key players’ that should be prioritized by law enforcement agencies seeking to disrupt child exploitation networks.

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UK teenagers without the Internet are ‘educationally disadvantaged’

This is a repost of a University of Oxford press release reporting on work by Rebecca Eynon (OII) and Chris Davies (Dept of Education, Univ. Oxford) on how teenagers in the UK are using the internet and other mobile devices, recently published in their book Teenagers and Technology (2012, Routledge).

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Searching for a “Plan B”: young adults’ strategies for finding information about emergency contraception online

Eszter Hargittai of Northwestern University discusses her study, co-authored with Heather Young and published in the journal Policy and Internet, suggesting that despite the availability of quality health information on the Web, many young people are unable to find accurate information about important health matters online. Hargittai, E. and Young, H. (2012) Searching for a “Plan B”: Young Adults’ Strategies for Finding Information about Emergency Contraception Online. Policy and Internet 4 (2).

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Understanding low and discontinued Internet use amongst young people in Britain

OII Research Fellow Dr Rebecca Eynon discusses how the rhetoric around young people’s uses of technology is leading to assumptions and practices that are likely to make some individuals even more excluded from society. The full report “On the Periphery? Understanding low and discontinued Internet use amongst young people in Britain” was funded by the Nominet Trust.

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eHealth: what is needed at the policy level? New special issue from Policy and Internet

Rik Crutzen of Maastricht University, Guest Editor (with Gordon Gao, of the University of Maryland) of Policy and Internet’s special issue on eHealth, discusses the policy insights of the papers published in the issue, which cover such issues as the effectiveness of national policies aimed at empowering users, patient trust in electronic health records, and user engagement with online health information.

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Rebecca Eynon and Anne Geniets discuss the topical issue of the UK’s digital inclusion strategy, discussed at last week’s OII workshop on low and discontinued Internet use by young people in Britain.

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