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!!