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A Safe Place: The Internet and Our Children

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Jon Hansen

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"Well you roll on roads over fresh green grass. For your lorry loads pumping petrol gas. And you make them long, and you make them tough. But they just go on and on, and it seems that you can't get off. Oh, I know we've come a long way, We're changing day to day, But tell me, where do the children play?" The above lyrics are from the Cat Stevens song "Where Do the Children Play." While it is a song about the negative impact that progress has had on the environment, the same parallels can be drawn with the progress of the Internet. Powerful, useful and playing an increasingly important role in our everyday lives, the virtual world is also a place of great danger to our children where pseudonyms and "second lives" can obfuscate both identities and intentions. Even the seemingly innocuous can present an unwanted intrusion into our homes and the minds of our children at a lightning speed that presents a challenge to even the most vigilant of parents. While there are never any guarantees in life, at least in the physical realm we can see and therefore to a certain degree protect our children without instilling an ominous fear that clouds the joys that life does have to offer. So what is the answer in the virtual world? How do we enable our children to feed the natural curiosity that is an integral part of their development while keeping them out of harm's way? Joining me today is Mary Kay Hoal, Founder of Yoursphere.com. Yoursphere.com is a social media platform that engages kids and teens in rewarding, purposeful and positive youth-selected activities and interests – sports, music, fashion, academics, gaming, art & photo, movies & tv, performing arts, fashion, etc. – all while putting their safety first, and Mary Kay will provide us with much needed insight into this important issue.

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