Tag Archives: Berkman

Risky Behaviors and Online Safety: A 2010 Literature Review

I’m pleased to announce a rough draft of Risky Behaviors and Online Safety: A 2010 Literature Review for public feedback. This Literature Review was produced for Harvard Berkman Center’s Youth and Media Policy Working Group Initiative, co-directed by John Palfrey, Urs Gasser, and myself and funded by the MacArthur Foundation. This Literature Review builds on the 2008 LitReview that Andrew Schrock and I crafted for the Internet Safety Technical Task Force. This document is not finalized, but we want to make our draft available broadly so that scholars working in this area can inform us of anything that we might be missing.

Risky Behaviors and Online Safety: A 2010 Literature Review

It’s been almost two years since the Internet Safety Technical Task Force completed its work. As a co-director of that project, I coordinated the Research Advisory Board to make certain that we included all of the different research that addressed online safety. When we shared our report, we were heavily criticized as being naive and clueless (or worse). Much of the criticism was directed at me and the researchers. We were regularly told that social network sites would radically change the picture of online safety and that we simply didn’t have new enough data to understand how different things would be in a few years. Those critiques continue. As researchers who were actively collecting data and in the field, many of us are frustrated because what we see doesn’t match what the politicians believe. It’s been two years since we put out that first Lit Review and I’m glad to be able to share an updated one with all sorts of new data. Not surprisingly (to us at least), not much has changed.

What you’ll find is that researchers have gone deeper, getting a better picture of some of the dynamics and implications. You’ll also find that the overarching picture has not changed much. Many of the core messages that we shared in the ISTTF report continue to hold. In this updated Lit Review, we interrogate the core issues raised in the ISTTF report and introduce new literature that complements, conflicts, or clarifies what was previously said. We bring in international data to provide a powerful comparison, most notably from the reports that came out in the EU and Australia. And we highlight areas where new research is currently underway and where more research is necessary.

This Literature Review does not include information on sexting, which can be found in Sexting: Youth Practices and Legal Implications. It also does not include some of the material on self-harm because we are working on a separate review of that material (to be released soon).

As I said, this is a draft version that we’re putting out for public commentary and critique. We will continue to modify this in the upcoming months. If you think we’re missing anything, please let us know!!

Four Essays Addressing Risky Behaviors and Online Safety

At Harvard’s Berkman Center, John Palfrey, Urs Gasser, and I have been co-directing the Youth and Media Policy Working Group Initiative to investigate the role that policy can play in addressing core issues involving youth and media. John has been leading up the Privacy, Publicity, and Reputation track; Urs has been managing Youth Created Content and Information Quality track; and I have been coordinating the Risky Behaviors and Online Safety track. We’ll have a lot of different pieces coming out over the next few months that stem from this work. Today, I’m pleased to share four important essays that emerged from the work we’ve been doing in the Risky Behaviors and Online Safety track:

“Moving Beyond One Size Fits All With Digital Citizenship” by Matt Levinson and Deb Socia

This essay addresses some of the challenges that educators face when trying to address online safety and digital citizenship in the classroom.

“Evaluating Online Safety Programs” by Tobit Emmens and Andy Phippen

This essay talks about the importance of evaluating interventions that are implemented so as to not face dangerous unintended consequences, using work in suicide prevention as a backdrop.

“The Future of Internet Safety Education: Critical Lessons from Four Decades of Youth Drug Abuse Prevention” by Lisa M. Jones

This essay contextualizes contemporary internet safety programs in light of work done in the drug abuse prevention domain to highlight best practices to implementing interventions.

“Online Safety: Why Research is Important” by David Finkelhor, Janis Wolak, and Kimberly J. Mitchell

This essay examines the role that research can and should play in shaping policy.

These four essays provide crucial background information for understanding the challenges of implementing education and public health interventions in the area of online safety. I hope you will read them because they are truly mind-expanding pieces.

Seeking: Research Assistant/Intern for Online Safety Literature Review

The Youth Policy Working Group at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society is looking for a research assistant intern to help update the Literature Review produced by the Internet Safety Technical Task Force. This project builds off of the Berkman Center’s work studying how youth interact with digital media and specifically seeks to draft policy prescriptions in three areas: privacy, safety, and content creation.

The ideal candidate would be a graduate student (or individual working towards entering a graduate program) who is fluent in quantitative methodologies and can interpret and evaluate statistical findings. The RA/intern would be working to extend the Lit Review from the ISTTF report to include international studies, new studies in the last year, and studies that cover a wider set of topics with respect to online safety. The products of this internship will be an updated Literature Review and a shorter white paper of the high points. Other smaller tasks may be required. This project should take 10-15 hours per week and will last at least the fall semester.

The RA/intern will work directly with Dr. danah boyd and will be a part of a broader team trying to build resources for understanding issues relating to online safety. The candidate should have solid research skills and feel confident reading scholarly research in a wide array of fields. The candidate must have library access through their own university. Before applying, the candidate should read the Literature Review and be confident that this is work that s/he could do.

Preference will be given to candidates in the Boston area, but other U.S. candidates may be considered if their skills and knowledge make them particularly ideal for this job. Unfortunately, we are unable to hire non-U.S. individuals for this job.

To apply, please send a copy of your resume and a cover letter to Catherine Bracy and danah boyd.

(See also: hiring Technical Research Assistant for Adhoc Tasks at MSR)


Due to my (::gasp::) graduation, I will not be able to attend Berkman@10, but YOU SHOULD. Berkman is the fabulous Center for Internet and Society at Harvard where I’m a fellow. We’re celebrating our 10th anniversary (wow, everyone’s turning 10) with a 2-day conference (May 15, 16) called THE FUTURE OF THE INTERNET and a bunch of lead-up events. Speakers at the conference include Jonathan Zittrain, Jimmy Wales, John Palfrey, Esther Dyson, Yochai Benkler, and lots more. There will be breakouts and plenty of opportunity to meet and socialize. The agenda is here. You gotsta register.

I am uber jealous of those of you who get to attend. If it weren’t for graduation and family-ness, I would definitely be there. But family trumps.