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Mumsnet's going to the London Cyberspace Conference and we want your views(13 Posts)
This Tuesday 1st November, Mumsnet will be at the London Conference on Cyberspace. It's an international gathering hosted by Foreign Secretary William Hague. Speakers include Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, and Joanna Shields, the President of Facebook UK. We'll be chatting about the benefits and challenges of a networked world - and we'll keep you posted on who's saying what while we're there.
So we want your thoughts! You can join the conversation with global politicians in two ways:
- Write a post about the social benefits of the internet. (You can find some talking points here.)
- Share a comment, question or idea for a talking point on this thread.
We'll promote your posts from Monday and will spread your word through Twitter and Facebook. During the conference on Tuesday, we'll be keeping an eye on opportunities for you to respond to the speakers or ask direct questions @MumsnetBloggers.
So don't be shy! Dive in and let us know - how do you see the internet? What are its benefits, and what are its downsides? Can using the internet help build communities - and is it making us more, or less, connected?
It's great you're going so there's some real-life connection stuff going on, not only high-level cyber security stuff. Surely there's a lot to be said on how the web can be a way for otherwise isolated people to find support, eg those whose children have health problems or difficult conditions to manage, those suffering from domestic violence or psychiatric problems, all kinds of people without support networks. The web can help people find others with relevant experience which can be of some help.
Can we have a sensible discussion about libel laws and the online community? The idea I've heard mooted of forcing people to use real names rather than nicknames would be appalling for support boards on sites such as this.
Oh, this is a great idea. Will give it some thought and post something before Monday.
One of the things that's great about mumsnet and similar web forums, is that it gives people who are isolated a way to talk to other human beings, often getting amazing, and very real support from them. People can be isolated because they simply live somewhere remote, but also for many other reasons e.g. because they're too busy being a carer, or are recently bereaved and finding it hard to talk to people in real life.
Importantly, mumsnet reaches women suffering abusive relationships. Women in this situation are often isolated from support because of the nature of their relationship (e.g. their partner makes it very difficult for them to have friendships with other people). I've lost count of the number of amazing women who have used the mumsnet as support to help them find the strength and practical help they need to get themselves and their children out of abusive relationships, through talking to other people who have been through the same thing on mumsnet - people they never would meet in real life.
It's a form of help that's much more easily available to people than most other sources of "real life" support. Because of the nature of abuse, the person being abused is often suffering deeply, but has normalised the situation, and may well not identify with the term "abused" - often they don't recognise that serious abuse is taking place (although they know they're unhappy). Sometimes they come on mumsnet when they're just starting to wonder - is this really normal? Is it actually all my fault? Do other people have relationships like this? And web forums are available in a way that other forms of help aren't - they're there 24/7, you can access this help without your partner needing to know, and people will take the time to respond to your innermost thoughts. You don't need to be "referred" by anyone to get help and advice. It's just there, any time you can get access to a the internet.
According to women's aid, sadly 1 in 4 women will be a victim of domestic violence at some point in our lives, and on average 2 women are killed every week by a male partner or former-partner. (source) Given that also "in 40 - 70% of cases where women are being abused, the children are also being directly abused themselves" (source) I would say in this context Mumsnet / support forums have to be seen as a lifesaver.
I don't think this is something that should be engineered BTW (some kind of government Mumsnet for example is of course a bad idea!) This is simply about giving people the ability to talk to other people online. Also as PerAr6ua says, anonymity is essential for this kind of support to take place.
My post about the Social Benefits of the Internet.
Oh, and I absolutely agree with the points raised by Threefeet and PerArdua.
How on earth could women post about their problems on a website like MN if they were forced to use their own names.
And if pseudonyms are not allowed, what is to stop people registering at JaneDoe? Since you can open a yahoo or google mail account under any name, then would we not just see people using HenrySmithWilliams?
Surely the money spent regulating stuff like this would be better spent on actual crimes such as the distribution of child pornography.
It's great to hear your views and we're looking forward to channelling them at the conference- do spread the word. The Cyberspace Conference page has guidelines about how to get your views and questions out there on Twitter. Address your tweets to us @Mumsnetbloggers, with the hashtag #LondonCyber. You can add #social, #economic or #access too if you have space.
Hi again lovely bloggers - if you're interested in following our progress at the London Conference on Cyberspace, we've got a page up with live updates from us on the ground and a video stream of the debates we're attending. Remember to tweet us if you've got a question you want us to try and put to the panel.
Enjoy the conference. I've heard people from Facebook before now talking about how they promote and ensure esafety and I think they genuinely want to help. As a parent - the real challenge is how you balance allowing your child to fully engage with and exploit the educational benefits of social networking and the internet - against the obvious dangers. Some schools cover this quite well (and have to or Ofsted will quite rightly pull them up on safeguarding issues) - while others don't at all. More importantly - how do parents ensure their kids are not at risk while online? Facebook will tell you that you can't have an account with them unless you're 13. My 10 year old god daughter has had one for two years, so that clearly doesn't work. So - perhaps you could raise the question: "How will companies like Facebook support the education of families and children to stay safe online?"
One good esafety resource we have in the south west UK: www.360safe.org.uk/
You might also be interested in this: www.saferinternetday.org/web/guest/sid-2012
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