Acknowleging the Challenges
of Risk Management
Every parent understands that because children lack fully developed analytical and critical thinking skills and have imperfect impulse control, they are especially vulnerable and susceptible to risk. This is true in many settings in a child's life - the classroom, the playground, or the home - and is equally true when a child is online.
Every parent also knows that unfortunately not every risk can be eliminated. It is important to recognize that even as adults strive to keep children perfectly safe, several challenges stand in the way. The participants in the PointSmart.ClickSafe. Summit contributed a number of useful comments, briefly summarized below, about challenges to risk management.
Parents and Parenting Support Groups Panel
- Family needs vary (e.g. locale, age, and preferences).
- Parents and kids see issues differently (i.e. danger vs. opportunity).
- Some young people may face increased risk online if they face other risks offline, or engage in risky behavior offline.
- There are long-term literacy concerns (e.g. How do we educate?).
- Mobilizing the education community means training teachers.
- Education policy is determined and implemented at the state and local level.
- Family differences (e.g., language issues, parents' values and preferences, at-risk kids) impact how schools approach online safety.
- Students are often able to circumvent filters and technology controls by using proxy servers and other means.
Public Health and Safety Panel
- Youth have well-developed technology skills but they often do not have the critical thinking skills or impulse control required to make good choices online.
- Skills that can help youth learn to use technology appropriately need to be identified.
- What youth are doing online, while sometimes dangerous, is not necessarily illegal.
- Research is needed to describe the effects of risky use of technology by youth in order to determine when and what type of intervention is necessary.
Internet Industry Panel
- The proliferation of platforms enables children and other consumers of digital technology to take content and interactivity virtually everywhere.
- Rapid change of Internet and platforms makes today's discussion different from yesterday's.
- The Internet has no borders.