I need your help. One of our central conclusions in the Internet Safety Technical Task Force Report was that many of the online safety issues require the collective engagement of a whole variety of different groups, including educators, social workers, psychologists, mental health experts, law enforcement, etc. Through my work on online safety, I’ve met a lot of consultants, activists, and online safety experts. Through my work as a researcher, I’ve met a lot of practitioners who are trying to engage youth about these issues through outright fear that isn’t grounded in anything other than myth.
Unfortunately, I haven’t met a lot of people who are on the ground with youth dealing with the messiness of addressing online safety issues from a realistic point of view. I don’t know a lot of practitioners who are developing innovative ways of educating and supporting at-risk youth because they have to in their practices. I need your help to identify these people.
- I want to know teachers. Who are the teachers who are trying to integrate online safety issues into their classroom by using a realistic model of youth risk?
- I want to know school administrators. Who are the school administrators who are trying to build school policy that addresses online safety issues from a non-fear-driven approach?
- I want to know law enforcement officers. Who are the law enforcement officers who are directly dealing with the crimes that occur?
- I want to know people from social services. Who are the people in social services (like social workers) who are directly working with at-risk youth who engage in risky behavior online?
- I want to know mental health practitioners. Who are the psychologists and mental health practitioners who are trying to help youth who engage in risky practices online? Or who help youth involved in self-harm deal with their engagement with self-harm websites?
- I want to know youth ministers. Who are the youth pastors and ministers who are trying to help at-risk youth navigate risky situations?
- I want to know other youth-focused practitioners. Who else is out there working with youth who is incorporating online safety issues into their practice?
I know that there are a lot of people out there who are speaking about what these partitioners should do, who are advising these practitioners, or who are trying to build curricula/tools to support these practitioners, but I want to learn more about the innovative practitioners themselves.
Please… who’s incorporating sensible online safety approaches into their daily practice with youth in the classrooms, in therapy, in social work, in religious advising, etc.? Who’s out there trying to wade through the myths, get a realistic portrait, and approach youth from a grounded point of view in order to directly help them, not as a safety expert but as someone who works with youth because of their professional role? Who do I need to know?
(Feel free to leave a comment or email me at zephoria [at] zephoria [dot] org.)