Internet Safer Than Thought vs Flickr Perversion

In contrast to this study (which I came to via Stephen Downes)showing that the internet just isn’t the danger to children it is often portrayed to be, we have Alec Couros reporting on Open Thinking & Digital Pedagogy » Blog Archive » Flickr Perversion, which is about the unpleasant experience of finding some of his family photos identified as ‘favourites’ by a couple of apparent perverts.

My comment on Alec’s post is as follows:

Hi Alec. I am sorry for your bad experience but I am afraid I have to make it both worse and better. The bad news is that what you had to face is surely just the tip of the iceberg. As others above have said perhaps less strongly, for each advertiser of favourites there must be dozens of more furtive downloaders. Any image that is provided to others either digitally or as a print has the potential for being widely distributed without your knowledge, and that is a risk that we all face unless we keep the circulation restricted to only those of our closest intimates who we can be absolutely sure would never abuse us. The good (or at least somewhat less bad) news is that this has been happening for ages without your knowledge and without any bad effects on you or your family. I do not judge those who read this good news as reason to freely circulate images – and indeed worrying about who might be checking out our Flickr pics may be less reasonable than worrying about who is lurking in the bushes near the school and taking his own with a telephoto. But anyone who wants to minimize the chances of their kids’ images being leered at by a pervert would be well advised to never make such images viewable on a public website.

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