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Stephen Balkam
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Entries by Stephen Balkam

Boys Will Be Jerks (and Champions)

(1) Comments | Posted September 16, 2013 | 4:09 PM

Usually girls hold grudges, so you should probably avoid girls for the rest of the week. -- Billy, 11

I know what you mean, Billy, as does Rosalind Wiseman, author of Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Your Son Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends and the New Rules of Boy...

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Hey, It's Safer Internet Day -- Take The Pledge!

(0) Comments | Posted February 4, 2013 | 12:18 PM

Today is Safer Internet Day. Who knew?

Well, most of Europe, for a start. Safer Internet Day is in its tenth year and is making a big splash in the US this year. It is organized by Insafe, a European network of Awareness Centers promoting safe...

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Mind the Online Generation Gap

(0) Comments | Posted November 14, 2012 | 8:30 AM

The kids are fearless and parents are clueless.

Well, that's what I used to say about the vast differences between parents and their kids and the Internet. Research that we've launched today suggests that the picture is both more complex than that while also offering some reassurance that...

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Digital Teens and the Three T's

(2) Comments | Posted July 18, 2012 | 1:27 PM

There has been much angst in the press lately about teenagers and the Internet. Having recently been in London for the United Kingdom Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS), I read breathless updates from the Daily Mail and their campaign against porn on the Internet. While...

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Consumer Reports Privacy Survey Rings Alarm Bells

(11) Comments | Posted May 4, 2012 | 2:30 PM

Throughout much of the 2000s, we lived through what some have described as a techno-panic on the issue of online predators. Many a nightly news program led with scary images, stories and reports of dangerous pedophiles stalking neighborhoods having first tracked your kids through their online profiles and...

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They Shoot Laptops, Don't They?

(7) Comments | Posted May 1, 2012 | 11:26 AM

First we had revengeful dad Tommy Jordan, who in response to his teen daughter's offensive video posting on Facebook, created a video of his own to "teach her a lesson." After speaking directly to the camera (and to his daugher's followers), he turned the camera toward the laptop...

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Harvesting the Fruits of a Tech Revolution

(0) Comments | Posted March 20, 2012 | 8:00 PM

We are only just beginning to understand the impact the Internet and communications technology is having on the Arab world. That was just one of many conclusions drawn from a recent conference in Doha jointly hosted by ictQatar and the Family Online Safety Institute called, "Promoting Online Safety...

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Dad Shoots Daughter's Laptop, Misses an Opportunity

(147) Comments | Posted February 14, 2012 | 12:27 PM

Tommy Jordan, the mad dad who shot his daughter's laptop, is right up there with Charlie who bit his brother's finger. They're both YouTube sensations and they both share an infantile sense of pleasure in biting back. Only thing is, Tommy's the adult here or, at...

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The Good, the Bad and the (Not So) Ugly of Teen Social Networking

(5) Comments | Posted November 9, 2011 | 8:30 AM

It's not easy being a teen these days.

Apart from the usual adolescent issues of friends, homework, parents and just plain angst, kids have also got to navigate a whole new world of social networking with all the highs and lows that this can bring: cyberbullying, sexting, overuse, oversharing and...

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The Price of Advice

(1) Comments | Posted October 12, 2011 | 10:05 PM

In a recent New York Times Magazine article, my organization, the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), was accurately referenced as a member of the Facebook Safety Advisory Board. This Board consists of five non-profit organizations who broadly work in the area of online safety. We meet...

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Back to iSchool

(2) Comments | Posted September 8, 2011 | 4:00 PM

Kids are loading up their backpacks and heading back to school. An increasing number are taking sophisticated digital devices with them.

iPhones are the most sought after and desired, followed by the many varieties of smart phones, iPads, iPods, digital cameras, laptops and old-fashioned cell phones. The reaction of...

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Be Afraid of Facebook, Be Very Afraid

(62) Comments | Posted August 26, 2011 | 10:38 AM

What are we to make of the rather official sounding "National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XVI" from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA)? That Facebook causes kids to drink? That Twitter will drive your teens to smoke dope? That watching Jersey Shore...

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Not Backing Kids Tracking Bill

(2) Comments | Posted July 18, 2011 | 5:47 PM

Who could possibly be against protecting kids on the Internet? In particular, kids' privacy should be protected and parents should be given the right to delete stuff their errant teens have mistakenly posted about themselves. Minors shouldn't be tracked online and voracious cookies should stop sucking up the virtual bread...

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Why Tech Firms (and the White House) Should Appoint a Chief Safety Officer

(1) Comments | Posted April 18, 2011 | 10:11 PM

In the beginning, the Internet was for porn.

Back in the early days of the wild, wild web, around 1995, the biggest concern of parents and policy makers was the easy access to adult content by kids. The highly flawed Rimm study of that year...

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Trust, but Verify

(2) Comments | Posted March 28, 2011 | 2:00 PM

The new movie Trust is not easy to watch, particularly if, like me, you have a hyper-texting teenage daughter who is navigating the shark-infested waters of her freshman year at high school. I mostly watched it through my fingers at a recent preview attended by the director, David...

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The President Uses His Bully Pulpit

(1) Comments | Posted March 11, 2011 | 2:20 PM

Turns out the young Barack Obama was teased and taunted for his jug ears and funny name. And, according to his remarks at the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention, he didn't reach adulthood unscathed. It was a telling admission by the leader of the free world that...

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Egyptians Demonstrate Digital Citizenship

(0) Comments | Posted February 3, 2011 | 3:07 PM

What has unfolded first in Tunisia and now in Egypt is an early harbinger of a new kind of web-based activism and people-centric leadership, in a part of the world hungry for something other than states of emergency and one-party rule. While the role of social networking sites such as...

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Egyptians Demonstrate Digital Citizenship

(0) Comments | Posted February 1, 2011 | 4:09 PM

What has unfolded first in Tunisia and now in Egypt is an early harbinger of a new kind of web-based activism and people-centric leadership, in a part of the world hungry for something other than states of emergency and one-party rule. While the role of social networking sites such as...

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The Boob Tube vs. YouTube

(8) Comments | Posted January 7, 2011 | 11:20 AM

I have a confession to make.

I actively encourage my teenage daughter to watch television. Not Jersey Shore or Sixteen and Pregnant or anything with a Kardashian. On these long, dark winter evenings, my wife and I call, plead or gently coerce our fourteen year-old to sit and watch Glee...

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Phantoms and Hamlet's Blackberry

(0) Comments | Posted October 19, 2010 | 12:58 PM

I was standing in line at Starbucks when I felt it. That familiar vibration that alerts me that a new e-mail has arrived on my iPhone. Without thinking, I reached into my front, left trouser pocket to retrieve it. Only problem was, there was no phone there -- I had...

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