Now that the dust is settling on the release of the Final Report of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force, I want to highlight a few important points that have been raised this week. The Task Force was formed through an agreement between MySpace and 49 state Attorneys General to look at technology that might be used to protect kids in social networking environments. The AGs were clearly looking for a technological "silver bullet" to address what they and the popular media have portrayed as huge risks for kids on social networks; they didn't get it.
The Task Force - run by the Berkman Center at Harvard Law School - reached a set of conclusions that undercut the common myths underlying the AGs assumptions. In simple terms, the Task Force concluded that: -- the risks to kids online are much less, and different, than popular perception holds, and -- there are no technologies that can or should be mandated or imposed to "solve" the risks that kids do face online (like teen-on-teen cyberbullying). No one denies that being online carries some risk for kids (and adults, too). But a strong conclusion of the Task Force is that education is a critical way to address the risk, and that there are not technological silver bullets that governments should mandate.
Here are a few additional points about the final report, the reactions to it and beyond, that are worth highlighting:
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