David Lindsay, Melissa de Zwart, Michael Henderson, Michael Phillips (2011) Understanding legal risks facing children and young people using social network sites, Telecommunications Journal of Australia, Vol.61, No1 (2011)
Children and young people are increasingly participating in everyday use of Social Networking Sites (SNS), such as Facebook or MySpace, to the extent that such interactions have come to be seen as an essential part of growing up. To date, mainstream discussion and policy debates about young people and SNS have tended to focus on high profile risks associated with these activities, such as cyber-bullying and online grooming of children by adults. While not dismissing the potential risks of SNS use by young people, it is important to understand the potential benefits that may accrue from online social interactions, including the acquisition of social and technical skills that are likely to be important for future digital citizens. Moreover, it is also important not to ignore other potential, albeit less dramatic, risks that may arise from SNS use. This article focuses on the range of legal risks that children and young people may face in their everyday use of SNS. The article concludes with an analysis of the research findings, and some suggestions as to how the popularity of SNS with young people may be used to engage students in learning about, and debating, the application of the law to online activities, especially the use of SNS.
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