Online predators: Overblown threat?

Much conversation has occurred in the educational blogging community about DOPA. One of the arguments against DOPA that hasn't popped up that much is the fact that the perceived problem may be largely overblown. While it's obviously important to keep children safe and protect students against online predators, it's also equally important to keep the issue in proper perspective. Consider the following:


  • Only about one-fifth of online sexual solicitations occur on non-home computers (see p. 18 of the full report; this remaining fifth would include schools, libraries, etc.)
  • Students who come across sexual predators and cyberbullies are, for the most part, handling those situations fairly effectively
  • The numbers aren't uniformly positive, of course. For example:

  • Some teenagers still are engaging in risky behaviors, including talking online about sex with someone they've never met in person, arranging to actually meet someone they only knew online, pretending to be a different person / age online, or never telling their parents that they were solicited by adults online (2005, Polly Klaas Foundation)
  • The numbers are pretty clear that the proportion of online sexual solicitations that occur during school time is pretty low. This means that DOPA is a solution in search of a problem, with the concurrent effects on positive Internet tool usage and lack of opportunity to teach students about appropriate use that already have been noted.

    I highly recommend you check out some of the high-quality work being done by the CCRC, CSRIU, and others. If we're going to hype ourselves up about these issues, we should at least have a solid factual base to undergird our conversations.

    Befriend your ideological opposite. It’s fun.

    Step inside the unlikely friendship of a former ACLU president and an ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice.

    Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
    • Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia were unlikely friends. They debated each other at events all over the world, and because of that developed a deep and rewarding friendship – despite their immense differences.
    • Scalia, a famous conservative, was invited to circles that were not his "home territory", such as the ACLU, to debate his views. Here, Strossen expresses her gratitude and respect for his commitment to the exchange of ideas.
    • "It's really sad that people seem to think that if you disagree with somebody on some issues you can't be mutually respectful, you can't enjoy each other's company, you can't learn from each other and grow in yourself," says Strossen.
    • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
    Keep reading Show less

    3 ways to find a meaningful job, or find purpose in the job you already have

    Learn how to redesign your job for maximum reward.

    Videos
    • Broaching the question "What is my purpose?" is daunting – it's a grandiose idea, but research can make it a little more approachable if work is where you find your meaning. It turns out you can redesign your job to have maximum purpose.
    • There are 3 ways people find meaning at work, what Aaron Hurst calls the three elevations of impact. About a third of the population finds meaning at an individual level, from seeing the direct impact of their work on other people. Another third of people find their purpose at an organizational level. And the last third of people find meaning at a social level.
    • "What's interesting about these three elevations of impact is they enable us to find meaning in any job if we approach it the right way. And it shows how accessible purpose can be when we take responsibility for it in our work," says Hurst.
    Keep reading Show less

    Physicist advances a radical theory of gravity

    Erik Verlinde has been compared to Einstein for completely rethinking the nature of gravity.

    Photo by Willeke Duijvekam
    Surprising Science
    • The Dutch physicist Erik Verlinde's hypothesis describes gravity as an "emergent" force not fundamental.
    • The scientist thinks his ideas describe the universe better than existing models, without resorting to "dark matter".
    • While some question his previous papers, Verlinde is reworking his ideas as a full-fledged theory.
    Keep reading Show less

    UPS has been discreetly using self-driving trucks to deliver cargo

    TuSimple, an autonomous trucking company, has also engaged in test programs with the United States Postal Service and Amazon.


    PAUL RATJE / Contributor
    Technology & Innovation
    • This week, UPS announced that it's working with autonomous trucking startup TuSimple on a pilot project to deliver cargo in Arizona using self-driving trucks.
    • UPS has also acquired a minority stake in TuSimple.
    • TuSimple hopes its trucks will be fully autonomous — without a human driver — by late 2020, though regulatory questions remain.
    Keep reading Show less