The Week in Online Safety, June 13, 2011
A weekly global view of online safety news, policy developments, research, and influence 

News
The ongoing controversy over allowing children to use social networks drew the attention of the media, advocates, and policymakers, as the Boston Herald  reports on the Debate over allowing tweens to use social media, while an article in ABC News notes that Age verification not stopping kids from joining social networking sites

Several news stories during the week reported on trends in cyberbullying, US News reports that Cyber Bullying Growing More Malicious, Experts Say, the Vancouver Sun relates how Cyberbullying can start with a miscue, and Medill Reports explores that We know white kids cyberbully more than minorities; we don’t know why

Policy – Legislative, Regulatory, and Legal Developments
How the courts in the United States should treat juvenile “sexting” offenders continues to be an area of focus for legislators and advocates. The Washington Post reports that Sexting teens need education, not jail, New York lawmakers say.   A number of states are, in fact enacting proposals to lessen sexting penalties into law.  Last week Nevada’s governor signed into law SB 277, which treats "sexting" by a minor as a noncriminal act, and exempts juvenile sexters from being considered sex offenders.  A similar bill in Rhode Island,  H 5094, was passed by the House and referred to the Senate.  

In the United Kingdom, the Department of Education released the Independent Review of the Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Childhood.  The report was overseen by Reg Bailey, Chief Executive of the Mothers' Union.  The BBC News summarizes the Bailey Review: Parents need much more help in protecting children from online porn.  

Influencers
Online safety experts, such as Dr. Justin W. Patchin, Cyberbullying Research Center were asking How young is too young for social networks?, while Larry Magid of Safe Kids opines that Social networks ought to allow children under 13.   

Anne Collier of Net Family News thinks about  How teachers use social media for students, and in the European Union, online safety group InSafe describes Pan-EU Youth, an online platform for young people.