NO2ID News No. 104
14 August 2008
++ NO2ID AT THE PARTY CONFERENCES ++
Once again NO2ID will be holding fringe meetings at the party conferences taking place this year, which will take place in September/October. We will be holding a TUC fringe meeting in Brighton on Monday 8th September at the Brighthelm Centre, chaired by our Union Liaison Christina Zaba. We have a presence at the Green conference and our General Secretary, Guy Herbert, will be speaking at fringe meetings at the Liberal Democrat and UKIP conferences, both in Bournemouth. At the Conservative conference in Birmingham we have a stall (highly prized, now the Conservatives are widely seen as winners by lobbyists) on the Home Affairs day, and we will be at the Labour conference in Manchester.
Volunteers for all these events are needed. If you are available to help at one or other English Party conference please contact email@example.com or the relevant NO2ID local group. If you can help at Scottish Party conferences please contact NO2ID Scotland (firstname.lastname@example.org), and we would be delighted to hear from people involved in Welsh or Irish politics (particularly the latter where our contacts need developing) – email (email@example.com).
I’m getting just a little bit tired of the current assault on social networking sites by people who, frankly, should know better. Questions regarding who bears the brunt of the responsibility when it comes to protecting children on these sites still all too often miss the point.
For example, today I read this article in which a guy called Tom Ilube from the identity firm Garlik states:
“Busy parents can’t be expected to monitor their children’s activities all the time. What are Facebook, Bebo, MySpace and the others doing to help?”
Wrong, Tom. They can be expected to monitor their children’s activities all the time — not necessarily directly, admittedly, but via a proxy, whether it be monitoring software or an appointed in loco parentis adult. Busy parents are still parents. Ultimately, responsibility for the safety of their children lies with them. It isn’t enough to argue that some parents are technologically illiterate, or that children now access the Internet using many devices, such as mobile phones. These are 21st-century parenting problems that have to be addressed, either by talking to the child, building understanding and trust or, where that doesn’t work, monitoring and, if necessary, restricting.
Yes, social networking sites have a role to play in child safety/protection. And from what I have seen over the past eleven years or so, they are doing a better job than they ever have before. But the bottom line is that parents have to (and, increasingly, are) take complete responsibility where the protection of their children is concerned. If your child uses Facebook or MySpace, ask to see their friends. Discuss the pros and cons. Make them aware of the dangers.
Whatever you do, don’t be too busy — and don’t rely upon Facebook and MySpace to babysit your children. However good their intentions, however much money they throw at the problem, it will still be an imperfect system. Bear that in mind and take the proactive, involved approach that I’m sure most of you (if not all) already have.