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Creating a Framework for Developing Effective Nontechnical Strategies

The second part of the workshop was devoted an exploration of what is known about the potential impact of sexually explicit material on children; the social, emotional, and moral developmental needs of young people; and data on how young people use the Internet. Research on these questions can help in making decisions about where and how to spend resources and set priorities about preventing children's exposure to various types of material.

This chapter is divided into three sections. The first discusses research that has attempted identify what impact or effects the media may have on children. As noted earlier in this report, the number of empirical studies on the impact of sexually explicit material is extremely limited, and researchers are very cautious about the conclusions that can be drawn from existing studies. The second section reviews material on children's social, emotional, and moral development in light of what it suggests for creating effective nontechnical strategies and improving the quality of kids' online experiences. Finally, this chapter discusses children's Internet use—for what purposes children go online and the extent to which the Internet is or is not a significant part of their lives.

RESEARCH ON THE MEDIA

Research on the impact of sexually explicit material on children is limited, primarily due to ethical considerations of conducting the types of



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Page 17 3 Creating a Framework for Developing Effective Nontechnical Strategies The second part of the workshop was devoted an exploration of what is known about the potential impact of sexually explicit material on children; the social, emotional, and moral developmental needs of young people; and data on how young people use the Internet. Research on these questions can help in making decisions about where and how to spend resources and set priorities about preventing children's exposure to various types of material. This chapter is divided into three sections. The first discusses research that has attempted identify what impact or effects the media may have on children. As noted earlier in this report, the number of empirical studies on the impact of sexually explicit material is extremely limited, and researchers are very cautious about the conclusions that can be drawn from existing studies. The second section reviews material on children's social, emotional, and moral development in light of what it suggests for creating effective nontechnical strategies and improving the quality of kids' online experiences. Finally, this chapter discusses children's Internet use—for what purposes children go online and the extent to which the Internet is or is not a significant part of their lives. RESEARCH ON THE MEDIA Research on the impact of sexually explicit material on children is limited, primarily due to ethical considerations of conducting the types of

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Page 18 experiments that would clearly demonstrate what consequences exposure has or does not have on young people. For example, a study design in which children were shown sexually explicit material in order to identify short- and long-term effects of exposure would be unacceptable: it would be unethical to expose them to material thought potentially to have a negative impact in order to measure and identify this impact. However, as this chapter discusses, researchers have been able to conduct some clinical studies using media content other than sexually explicit content—research on violent material is one such example. This is because our society has more permissive attitudes about allowing young people to view violent material compared with sexually explicit material. In addition, a few studies of sexually explicit material have used college-age viewers as away of extrapolating the impact this material may have on younger populations (Donnerstein and Linz, 1986; Zillmann, 1982; Zillmann and Bryant, 1982; Zillmann and Weaver, 1999). Workshop participants extrapolated cautiously from empirical studies on violent media content to sexually explicit material, since similar learning processes underlie how exposure may lead to impact. They discussed research on sexually violent material done with college-age students as well as research that examines what effects sexuality in the media may have on adolescents. This research does not deal with pornography, but rather the type of sexually laden themes one finds in soap operas and women's magazines. These are media forms that many young people are exposed to, although they do not contain the type of explicit sexuality one finds in adult movies or magazines. Violent Material According to Joanne Cantor, professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, several types of effects have been observed in studies of violent media content and children: desensitization, increases in hostility, imitation and disinhibition, and fear and anxiety responses. Desensitization occurs when an emotional response to a stimulus is diminished after repeated exposure to that stimulus. This can be adaptive—a doctor who becomes accustomed to seeing blood and does not have the strong emotional response he experienced in medical school is of benefit to his patients. The media, however, creates fantasy exposures to content that can cause arousal and, over time, desensitization when it is not necessarily (and often not)

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Page 19 adaptive. For example, a child who sees a graphic, violent image might become angry or frightened. If this image is a representation and not an actual event, then the typical reactions of “fight or flight” are not appropriate or functional. With repeated exposure, a child may cease to have these emotional responses (Calvert, 1999; Cantor, 2000). Research has shown that desensitization to media violence can result in reduced arousal and emotional disturbance while witnessing actual violence, greater hesitancy to call an adult to intervene in a witnessed physical altercation, and less sympathy for victims of abuse and assault (Cline et al., 1973; Molitor and Hirsch, 1994; Mullin and Linz, 1995). Increases in hostility after watching violent content in the media have also been observed. In one study, college students who watched violent films for four days were more likely, when given the opportunity, to interfere with another individual's future employment chances (Zillman and Weaver, 1999). Repeat viewing of violent material seemed to create an enduring hostile mental framework that discouraged viewers from interacting positively with others, even those who had not provoked them. Cantor also cited a study in Israeli middle schools after the introduction of the World Wrestling Federation to Israeli television. This study documented the widespread imitation of acts demonstrated on this show that resulted in an epidemic of playground injuries (Lemish, 1997). Social learning theory suggests that children learn through observation and modeling of behaviors and actions, and it is often used to explain the phenomenon of children imitating what they see on television or in films. Young people of a wide range of ages sometimes experience fear and anxiety as a result of exposure to television (Owens et al., 1999; Singer et al., 1998). Results can range from nightmares and temporary sleep disturbances to more lasting effects, such as a fear of swimming in the ocean after watching the movie Jaws (Harrison and Cantor, 1999). Which specific types of content are likely to cause fear will depend on the child's developmental level. As examples, preschool-age children are most disturbed by grotesque, visual images such as monsters, whereas children in elementary school may be more likely to be frightened by realistic images in which the danger they perceive could actually happen. Teenagers tend to be more frightened by abstract components of a story. Data that Cantor collected during the Persian Gulf conflict showed that elementary school children became frightened by images of exploding missiles, whereas teen viewers were more afraid of the idea that the conflict could spread. Material frightening to a teenager

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Page 20 may not even be processed by a younger child, who may not understand the abstract concepts that are less readily visualized (Cantor, 1998; Cantor et al., 1993). Responses to media violence can be cumulative (e.g., attitudinal changes from repeat exposure) or instantaneous (e.g., fear responses due to seeing the “wrong” movie at the “wrong” developmental moment), and they may be temporary or lasting (e.g., a few nightmares or a lasting fear of specific animals or situations). Cantor cautioned that more research is needed before extrapolating results from this research on violent material to sexually explicit media content. She was, however, more confident about extrapolating from research on violence to sexually violent material. Sexually Violent Material Ed Donnerstein, dean and professor of communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara, discussed research on the effects of viewing sexually violent images on college-age viewers, noting that effects were observed in these studies similar to effects in studies of violence alone. Studies of young adults (ages 18-20) watching an hour of the equivalent of an R-rated film containing sexual violence demonstrate desensitization immediately following this viewing. Arousal levels decrease with additional viewing after the first hour. Furthermore, viewers who are shown a documentary on battered women after one hour of a sexually violent film demonstrate less empathy toward the victims, and lower evaluations of how injured the woman was and how painful the experience may have been. Attitudinal changes are also observed, with both men and women more likely to display callous attitudes toward female victims, such as stating that a rape was the fault of the victim or that she brought it on herself (Donnerstein and Linz, 1986; Zillman, 1982; Zillmann and Bryant, 1982). According to Donnerstein, women viewers do have slightly different responses from men, and although both show desensitization, women also tend to experience an increase in fear after watching sexually violent content (Krafka et al., 1997). Although changes in attitude and arousal levels were measured in these studies, Donnerstein noted that it is not clear the extent to which these changes may be lasting. For example, normal arousal responses tend to return after 24 hours, and the “long-term” changes in attitudes are based on studies that follow subjects for only a few weeks after viewing films. Interestingly, studies of young adults exposed to sexually explicit content that

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Page 21 was not violent did not demonstrate that desensitization occurred (Linz et al., 1988, 1989). Donnerstein also stated that research has never demonstrated that viewing sexually explicit or sexually violent content results in viewers' committing sexually violent crimes or behaviors. Zillmann's arousal theory offers some insight as to why sexually explicit content would not lead to any specific or consistent behavioral outcome in a group of viewers. Although sexually explicit content may produce emotional or physiological arousal, behavioral outcomes could result in sexual expression, aggressive behavior, or altruism. The outcome will depend on the personality of the viewer, the environment, and context in which the material was viewed (Huston et al., 1998). Sexuality and SexuallyLaden Material While Cantor and Donnerstein focused on media that was violent and sexually violent, Jane Brown, professor of journalism and mass communication at the University of North Carolina, centered her remarks on sexuality in the media, asking: What do we know about how teens learn about sexuality from the media? Her presentation reflected both theory and research. For example, uses and gratification theory suggests that the potential impact of sexual content is tied to what motivates young people to view media content (Huston et al., 1998). Similarly, cognitive developmental theory suggests that how young people interpret media content is dependent on their developmental level (Huston et al., 1998). Research on the impact of sexually explicit content must therefore be understood in the context of why young people choose media content and what may drive their interpretation of this content. According to Brown, adolescents are very interested in sexuality and beginning in early adolescence go through a normative developmental process in which they begin to look for information on sex and their bodies as they begin to develop a sexual self. Adolescents often turn to the media for information on sexuality for several reasons, including to seek information they cannot obtain from parents or schools and to find specific answers to questions that are embarrassing to ask (Brown and Stern, in press). Brown described the types of information adolescents may be seeking in the media, the benefits and problems they face in getting information from the media, and research that identifies potential areas of impact of sexuality and sexually explicit material in the media. Although most would agree that it would be ideal for young people to

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Page 22 seek out their parents for information on sexuality, parents are still reluctant to talk to their children about sex. The information parents do tend to provide is about physical development and the bodily changes young people experience as well as a discussion about abstinence. While it is important for parents to convey to their children the personal values they hold about when and how to choose to be sexually active, many parents talk to their children about abstinence and nothing else. In addition, because it is often difficult for parents to talk about passion and desire with their children, young people sometimes find it difficult to “buy into” a clinical discussion (Brown et al., 1990; Strasburger, 1989; Strouse and Fabes, 1985). Considering that young people are often surrounded by images of sexuality that are completely centered around desire, it is not hard to understand why parents and children often do not communicate effectively about sex. Adolescents are therefore left with many unanswered questions, and they often turn to their friends—who often have much misinformation to share—as well as to the media (Sutton et al., 2001). Many schools are also not providing the type of comprehensive sex education classes that they have in the past. For example, the state of North Carolina has stipulated that only abstinence may be discussed in sex education classes. This means that young people seeking information about contraception need to find another source. Brown stated that if parents and schools are not providing young people with answers to questions that go beyond abstinence, many young people will turn elsewhere to get additional information about sexuality. The media can fill this gap, providing information that parents and schools are not discussing and providing a comfortable venue for young people to seek information. Brown stated the media often make young people more comfortable in seeking information in that it is accessible, anonymous, doesn't talk back (unless you are in a chat room), and is less embarrassing than most of other sexual socialization sources. Adolescents can find not only specific information on such things as contraception and sexually transmitted diseases, but also an arena for resolving questions such as, “Am I normal? Is my body normal? Am I developing appropriately at the right speed? What is a tampon and how do I use it? How do you date? How do you kiss?” All of which is, Brown reminded participants, “for teens, very embarrassing stuff.” In addition to trying to find out if their bodies are developing normally, teens also begin to have questions about relationships and how to initiate sexual contact. Brown referred to this set of questions as pertaining

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Page 23 to the development of “relationship scripts” or schemas, meaning that young people can use the media to establish socially normative behavior patterns for sexuality (Huston et al., 1998, p. 13). For example, teens may look for answers that will tell them how to behave normally when they are dating, kissing, and even how to act after a kiss—can you just return to a conversation? Television and movies in particular, and to some extent print media, can provide information about these issues by depicting scenes in which these activities take place, and teens can watch to see how other people resolve these situations (Pardun, 2001). That young people often turn to the media to sort out some of these issues is both positive and negative. On one hand, many young people may find reassurance that their curiosity about sexuality and the changes in their bodies are normal and they need not feel ashamed of their changing physiques and changing interests. On the other hand, using the media as a resource can be problematic. For example, bodies portrayed in the media as sexually attractive are often unattainable (e.g., very thin physiques for girls and well-defined, sizable muscles for boys), and a young person who perceives his or her body as not fitting into these norms may be troubled rather than reassured (Heinberg and Thompson, 1995; Hofschire and Greenberg, 2001). Although some literature exists on traditional forms of media (e.g., television, radio, magazines), the number of empirical studies are extremely limited. For instance, in a Kaiser Family Foundation report reviewing existing research on the media, Huston, Wartella, and Donnerstein (1998) found no more than 15 empirical studies on this topic. In addition, research on how young people use the Internet to learn about sexuality is in its infancy. Research on print media suggests that turning to the media for information on sexuality is a normative behavior among teens. The majority of adolescent boys have seen at least one issue of Playboy, while girls tend to turn to women's magazines—for example, Seventeen Magazine for young teens and, for girls older than 14, Glamour and Cosmopolitan. Magazines like Glamour provide very explicit information on topics such as relationships with boys and content devoted to sex, flirting, and various romantic aspects of relationships. Brown described this content as depicting sexuality as recreation, competition, and a commodity in which men and masculinity often represent power, women are portrayed as passive, and sex is depicted as a tool of femininity through which women might gain power. These messages culminate in a narrative about gender and sexuality that Brown termed the romantic heterosexual script. The messages about

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Page 24 sexuality contained in this script tend to be irresponsible and potentially emotionally and physically unhealthy, and this script is present in both the mainstream media and in pornography, although it tends to be more overt in the latter. Brown explained that the script itself is problematic in that it answers adolescent's questions about sexuality with messages that do not always represent safe or healthy choices. Pornography may “up the ante” in that the messages are very explicit and overt. However, research has not answered questions of the extent to which overt versus implicit messages like those in mainstream media have more impact on viewers. Most studies of the impact of sexually explicit material in the media on adolescents' sexual attitudes and practices have been limited to the sexual content in mainstream media. These studies suggest that impact is shaped significantly by the specific messages contained in the content that is viewed (Huston et al., 1998). Although research in this area is extremely limited, studies have suggested that frequent television viewers tend to have more negative attitudes toward remaining a virgin and that becoming a nonvirgin is a priority (Brown and Newcomer, 1991; Strouse et al., 1995). These studies are correlational, however, so it is possible that a third factor, such as different values and beliefs about sexual activity, is actually responsible for this trend and television viewing is an extraneous variable. Brown identified some of the significant messages in the media as suggesting to adolescents that they should be thinking about sexuality, that they should be thinking about it early, and, implicitly, that they should not remain a virgin for long. Counter messages exist but are not abundant. Frequent television viewers are also less likely to believe that marriages are happy or lasting, prompted perhaps by the depiction of married couples who are not happy, not having sex, or are having sex with a person other than their spouse (Signorielli, 1991). Adolescents who watch soap operas frequently overestimate the extent to which it is easy to be a single mother and do not recognize the economic impact of single motherhood. Many of the characters depicted on television are wealthy and can hire nannies, continue their education, and may have significant leisure time (Larson, 1996). Music video viewing seems to increase the acceptance of premarital sex and interpersonal violence (Greenson and Williams, 1986; Kalof, 1999). Many studies indicate that the media seems to have an effect on attitudes, although it is very difficult to assess whether these attitudes last well into the future, the extent to which these attitudes are related to behavior, and to what degree the media compared with other experiences in a young person's life are most influential in shaping the choices made. For example,

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Page 25 although studies have shown that viewing fashion magazines tends to cause lower scores on body image indices in girls, not all girls develop anorexic behaviors. Script and schema theories suggest that experience may be particularly important in determining the impact of sexual content in the media, and that individuals with less sexual experience may be more greatly affected than those who have less experience (Huston et al., 1998). In a study conducted by Brown in which early adolescent females were asked to keep journals about what they were observing in the media about love, sex, and relationships, the participants' experience was extremely important in shaping how they interpreted and reacted to sexuality in the media. One prepubertal 12-year-old who had not had sexual experiences did not want to see sex in the media and was upset by some of the depictions she observed. Older girls who were beginning to think about relationships were very interested in what can be called the romantic heterosexual script depicted in the media. Girls who had been sexually active were more critical of the media's portrayal of sexuality and the roles male and females should take (according to these representations). Experience, development, and age made enormous differences in the types of reactions girls had to the media. Researchers have turned to cross-cultural studies in an effort to identify what type of connection may exist between exposure to sexually explicit material and behavioral outcomes, with limited success. Studies in which young people are exposed to nudity and explicit material at a relatively young age do not show higher levels of sexual addiction or teen pregnancy in European countries compared with the United States. However, European children also receive early, frequent, and comprehensive sexuality education in a way that is not typical in the United States. According to Brown, this could suggest that such education offers a useful context for interpreting sexually explicit material. It may also suggest that sexually explicit material does not have the type of impact on behavior that some may suspect. Brown indicated some concerns about young people being surrounded by the explicit romantic heterosexual script through easy access to pornography on the Internet, but noted that the Internet is a powerful information tool for young people. For example, instead of turning to a scene from a movie for perspective on how couples handle intimacy, a young person could go to the American Social Health Association's teen sexual health web site < iwannaknow.org> and join a monitored chat room with other teens to talk anonymously about sexuality. Brown stated that the chat room

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Page 26 supervised and facilitated by an expert in sexual health could be a more productive learning experience than the messages a young person may receive from a highly romanticized scene from a movie. She pointed out the very low number of web sites dedicated to sexual health and education compared with the large number of pages devoted to pornography available online. Brown urged that more resources should be devoted to developing more sexual health and “healthy sexuality” web sites to make it easier for adolescents to get absorbed in productive explorations about sexual health. Summary of Research on the Media The presentations on research on media impact converged on several points. The public develops many fears about new forms of media; this has been the true for the emergence of radio, television, and now the Internet (Wartella and Jennings, 2000). Despite these fears, the little research that has been conducted has not been able to establish definitively the impact of sexually explicit material on young people, nor have any causal relationships been identified between exposure to sexually explicit material in the media and behavioral outcomes. Studies on violent media content do consistently document desensitization, increases in hostility, imitation and disinhibition of aggressive responses, and fear and anxiety responses in participants. In young people, instantaneous responses (e.g., a one-time viewing) to violent media can sometimes result in fear and anxiety responses, such as nightmares. Studies in college-age populations suggest that repeated exposure to sexually violent media may encourage more callous attitudes about women. Research on adolescent female responses to sexual content in mainstream media suggests that their experience and developmental stage have a great influence on their interpretation of the media's portrayal of sexuality. Research on violence in the media has been more consistent in finding negative impact on subjects, while the more limited body of literature on nonviolent, sexually explicit material has had less consistent findings. Thus participants suggested that in terms of resource allocation, attention to sexually violent content on the Internet may represent a better priority than other nonviolent sexually explicit material. This panel also suggested the importance of parent interaction with young people about content online as well as the development of increased numbers of positive and engaging web sites for young people as a means to limit their exposure to material some parents may find objectionable.

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Page 27 SOCIAL, EMOTIONAL, AND MORAL DEVELOPMENT The workshop provided an overview of the social, emotional, and moral development of children and adolescents as a framework for a more analytic perspective about how the Internet could influence development positively or negatively. Participants also explored what elements could create nontechnical strategies that not only may decrease young people's exposure to inappropriate online content, but also may make the Internet a more beneficial tool for them. This section begins with an overview of children's social and emotional development, highlighting developmental milestones pertinent to structuring nontechnical strategies for young children through adolescence. Children's moral development is then considered, again tracking milestones for the youngest children who may be online through adolescence. Finally, the section examines how the Internet may affect and shape social norms for young people and what impact this may have. Social and Emotional Development Dorothy Singer, co-director of the Yale University Family Television Research and Consultation Center, reviewed the social and emotional developmental stages children go through and the insight these stages suggest about how technology may impact development. In a study Singer conducted for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, children's computer proficiency was positively correlated with reading and math levels, interpersonal skills, cooperation, attentiveness, ability to follow directions, language skills, and imagination to computer proficiency (Singer and Singer, 1993). This study also found a negative correlation between computer proficiency and physical aggression, all of which suggest that computers and the Internet can be very beneficial as educational tools both in terms of cognition and social and emotional development. In focusing on the stages of development and the types of technology that could benefit children's development, Singer echoed earlier statements about the need for web sites containing valid information matched to children's developmental interests and explorations about sexuality and sexual health, as a way to protect them from pornography. For example, children ages 3-5 are developing at a rapid rate and have many changing intellectual and social needs. This age group reasons intuitively rather than

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Page 31 sexual expression, gender representation, or developing an attractive body (Levine et al., 1983, pp. 133-157; Steinberg, 1999, pp. 330-365). Socially, adolescents have a strong need to feel accepted in peer groups and strive for a sense of belonging in both same-sex and mixed groups. Subcultures are developing in adolescent populations, and these subcultures are shaped by variations in meeting places, choices in literature and media sources, dating patterns, and Internet relationships and chat rooms. The values established by their families are retained during this period, but adolescents are questioning these ideas and considering what alternatives might mean for their lives. This exploration can make them vulnerable to a number of risk-taking behaviors, such as early sexual relationships and drinking. The combination of exploring alternatives to the values of their family and their need to belong can leave adolescents at risk for being drawn into radical sects (e.g., racist or violent groups). Girls tend to be more socially advanced than males not only because their bodies are more fully developed, but also because they are thinking carefully about what it means to be a woman, a mother, and family roles (Levine et al., 1983, pp. 133-157; Steinberg, 1999, pp. 242-273). Beneficial computer programming would acknowledge the feelings, values, and dilemmas facing this group as well as the diverse and complex social realities of adolescent cultures. Singer suggested that programs show positive role-models of teens contributing to society in their own way, creating a wide spectrum of life possibilities so that adolescents can fantasize about what may exist for their futures. Ideally, these positive programs would be much more prevalent than negative alternatives that construct future realities that are not productive, that feed into adolescents concerns, or that offer solutions that represent risky behavior or have negative social consequences—for example, “solutions” to racial tension that center on themes of separatism or dominance. Singer and others noted that telling adolescents where not to go online will often result in their going directly to that Internet site. Teaching young people to avoid material parents view as inappropriate is a foundation that must be laid at an earlier age. Open relationships in which an adolescent can come to discuss a problematic interaction in a chat room or a disturbing web site are more beneficial than strict filtering, according to Singer. She suggested that if a parent can recognize that their adolescent is curious about sexuality in a more adult way, and that this is a normal part of development, it might be possible to maintain an open dialogue in which the

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Page 32 adolescent would be inclined to continue to turn to the parent for support and insight. Moral Development James Youniss of the Catholic University Life Cycle Institute provided an overview of moral development in young people, which also requires an early foundation for successful development. Children learn morality at a young age and can bring a strong moral framework to making decisions about where they go and how they interact with others online. Morality is developed primarily through interpersonal relationships that young people have with parents, caregivers, and peers (Dunn, 1987; Youniss, 1980). Young children (ages 2-3) can differentiate clearly between right and wrong and recognize when they have behaved appropriately or badly. They become embarrassed and show pleasure, and they develop this awareness through the feedback they constantly receive from their relationship with their parents or primary caregiver. Young children also demonstrate the beginnings of moral behavior when they are with other children. This age group will automatically share a toy with another child, take turns, and talk to other children in a turn-taking fashion, all of which are early signs of moral development (Dunn, 1987; Youniss, 1980). School-age children continue their moral development through their interpersonal relationships, although the precise way in which children learn about morality changes with their cognitive, social, and emotional development. While young children process feedback in a fairly straightforward and literal manner, school-age children develop a morality based on a complementary relationship with parents and a contrasting relationship with peers (Dunn, 1987; Youniss, 1980). For example, a six-year-old would explain that the way to be kind to one's parents is to obey them in some form, to be nice to them, or to do what they want. For a child of this age, primary caregivers appear omnipotent and omniscient, because they depend on caregivers for help with everything from when to get up, what clothes to wear to school, and what medicine will make you well. Children do not experience this dependence as oppressive because the caregiver is the one who helps them, and in turn the child wishes to please the caregiver by reciprocating some of this help by obeying (Damon, 1988; Youniss, 1980). This age group also learns a sense of morality through a contrasting relationship with their peers. Youniss described this as a morality based on “when you are good to me, I'll be good to you.” Children learn to share and

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Page 33 reciprocate treatment based on the way peers treat them. This system is not entirely simple, however, because when children reach the ages of 8 to 10, they begin to realize that absolute adherence to this behavior code will end in a stalemate if power between the parties is equal. At that point, children begin to understand acts of omission as moral errors or events. For example, failing to help a friend who needs you (but perhaps has not done anything to help you at that moment) is now understood as a moral error. Group relationships among school-age children are characterized by a sense of democracy, fairness, and the application of rules that allows the group to redefine itself if they agree on a change (Damon, 1988; Youniss, 1980). Youniss summarized these two forms of moral development in the following way. Children know how to get what they want from parents, and their morality is based on obtaining care and materials they need and want. The morality developed regarding their friends is one based on supporting the interests and needs of their friends so that they in turn will receive support in the future. Although it may appear somehow problematic that the foundations of moral development lie in promoting one's self-interests, Youniss stated that this is in fact normative, legitimate, and absolutely necessary in the process of developing a sense of morality. Adolescents demonstrate significant changes in the way they build on their existing moral foundations. Youniss identified three significant shifts in the way in which adolescents learn about morality compared with younger children. First, the moral principles acquired from peers are injected into the parent-adolescent relationship. Adolescents now display and seek from parents trust, responsibility, and obligation. Adolescents fear parental judgments but tend to be more open with them about establishing rules and moral principle as long as parents are open in return. Adolescents will not accept a new moral principle without some explanation of why and the opportunity to participate in the establishment of that rule. The reciprocity that was established in peer relationships now applies to the caregiver-adolescent relationship. A more general morality is now formed, one based on shared authority and reciprocity in which peers and parents must always make their positions clear (Youniss and Smollar, 1985). How should the Internet be considered in light of moral development? Youniss noted that one of the most important factors directing moral development is feedback from relationships with others (Youniss and Yates, 1999). Peers and parents can give positive and negative feedback, and both forms of feedback help young people develop a moral code. The Internet, however, will not necessarily provide negative feedback if a young person is

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Page 34 engaged in an activity or conversation that is not moral. Thus it poses a problem for development. That the Internet has no product that can be evaluated is another challenge for moral development. Feedback often stems from young people evaluating the outcome of an activity based on the product that emerges, such as consequences that all parties can observe and discuss (Youniss and Smollar, 1985). Because online activities can be done anonymously, in private, and without visible consequences, this typical avenue through which young people establish moral principles is unavailable. Youniss pointed out one factor that can help to mitigate this potentially negative aspect of the Internet: peers often share information about the Internet. They refer each other to web sites, they talk about what they have done and seen online. These discussions offer an opportunity for feedback and for peers to direct each other to positive online sites. Youniss pointed out that, although a prevalent belief in our culture is that “parents teach you what is right, and then peers come along and teach you all the deviance you know,” this is not really true. Rather peers have very moral relationships with one another, they give each other good advice, they protect each other, and they try to make each other happy. Youniss referred to Erik Erikson's work as a place to begin to understand how the Internet may figure into an adolescent's growing awareness of sexuality. Young adolescent explorations into sexuality are generally recognized as a process of self-exploration in which honest attempts at love really are not yet possible. The point is to discover one's sexual self and in what way sexuality fits into one's identity. Because of this, Youniss suggested that the exploration adolescents might do on the Internet might not be such a bad thing. A balanced approach to adolescent online exploration was warranted, although Youniss preferred that the most lurid images (e.g., sexually violent images) were not readily accessible. Some of the extreme concern about sexually explicit material, he observed, was perhaps energy not well spent. Concerns are grounded in the notion that the Internet will change sexual behaviors. If this were the case, we should be seeing some change in the sexuality of youth, Youniss said. In fact, the past 5-6 years have shown a decline in sexual activity among youth and reduced rates of teen pregnancy, which is at its lowest rate in 40 years (National Center for Health Statistics, 1995, 1999). Positive trends have been observed in other fronts as well: school achievement has increased and marijuana use and violence have dropped. Youniss took all of these as positive indicators of the moral status

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Page 35 of today's youth, suggesting that these are good signs that young people bring the type of moral character to the Internet that stands to create positive online communities and environments that can help to perpetuate— rather than negatively impact—morality. Finally, Youniss commented on monitoring and how parents could balance keeping track of their children's online activities without violating their privacy. Recent literature on monitoring has been consistent suggesting that parents should not monitor through self-initiated actions (e.g., the online equivalent of reading a young person's diary); instead monitoring should come from the relationship between parent and child (Kerr and Statin, 2000). There is no easy or fast way to do this, but parents should strive for open communication with their children in which dialogue can occur. If a trusting relationship exists, young people will tell parents more and parents will be able to ask more probing questions and expect real answers. Monitoring must therefore occur in the context of the relationship, and through communication and discussion rather than policing, Youniss stated. Social Norms Online Patricia Greenfield, professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, discussed material young people could encounter on the Internet from a developmental perspective, considering both the material that users could passively browse as well as the material that users might create and construct. Increasing parents' awareness of a broader range of online material that she viewed as a concern as well as finding ways in which parents could influence the norms being established in children's online communities were the focus of her remarks. Greenfield was concerned about several areas, including sexually explicit content—which she defined much more broadly than pornographic web sites—as well as violence, aggression, hate speech, and advertising. When most people think of pornography on the Internet, they imagine static web sites with sexually explicit images that appear on their computer screens in a similar manner to a magazine. Web sites of this type are available online and can range from images equivalent to those viewed in an R-rated movie to quite graphic, sexually violent images. In the case of the latter, a user almost always has to deliberately select a set of search words that would get them to these images, although many of those available are free and do not require age verification. However, searching for

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Page 36 sexually explicit web sites is only one way to encounter—intentionally or unintentionally—sexually explicit material online. Images can be sent attached to emails, the addresses of which are often harvested when a user enters a chat room. In addition, individuals online can “instant message” one another, and those comments may be an innocuous introduction or something more lurid. Chat room talk can also be a source of sexually explicit material, although the nature of both chat and instant messaging is quite different from a sexually explicit web page: chat and instant messaging are interactive and textual, while web pages are static and image-oriented. What is perhaps particularly significant about chat rooms compared with web sites is that young people can participate and have greater control in the construction of sexuality that occurs in these cyberspaces. Although there are as yet no studies comparing the impact of sexually explicit web sites to participation in a chat room, other research on the media has suggested that interactive forms of media in which participants have greater control over the activity are more powerful than ones that are less participatory in nature (Calvert and Tan, 1994). Greenfield voiced concern about the sexually explicit nature of the talk that she observed in chat rooms. Her first concern was that although chat rooms are very popular with young people, many parents have never been in a chat room and are entirely uninformed about the types of communication that occur in many of them. Greenfield offered examples of two different chat rooms she visited through major online portals. The first was an unmonitored chat room for teens, although there is no way to know the age of any user who enters this “space.” In this chat room, Greenfield observed explicit sexual exchanges, joking about physical violence and assaults, degradation of other users, aggression, and a disturbing exchange involving racial stereotypes and prejudice. Although she participated in none of the exchanges, she was instant messaged six times with offers of technical assistance as well as sexual advances. In a monitored chat room for teens, the users engaged in similar exchanges, although their language was coded in order to get past censors. For example, one user asked for another user's “A/ S/L,” which translates as age, sex, and location. A chat room for children under age 12 that Greenfield visited was more strictly monitored, and in fact when an exchange broke out between two users and the term “doo-doo face” was used to describe one of the users, the monitor interrupted, suspended the violator from the chat room for 15 minutes, reminding the user that this language could result in a permanent loss of chat room privileges, and asked that the user take that

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Page 37 time to discuss online behavior with the user's parents. Although it would seem naïve to think that a scolded user would actually turn to his parents, being suspended from the chatroom is at least a material consequence. Greenfield's point in this presentation was not to suggest that the exchange of crass words would irreparably damage a young person, but rather that the norms of acceptable behavior and communication established in these chat rooms were problematic. In general, the chat rooms she observed were outside societal norms of decency regarding the representation and discussion of sexuality, aggression, and intergroup relations. Sexuality in chat rooms and instant messaging were conducted in public rather than private, were linked to strangers, had little to do with relationships, were explicit, and were associated with the degradation of women. For Greenfield, the context of chat rooms and instant messaging raised several developmental questions. How might the normative social standards in chat rooms affect young users? At what age can young people effectively handle sexual initiatives from strangers? What life skills, preparation, and savvy are needed to have to handle these situations? How does anonymity affect personal and social responsibility in online communities? As Greenfield pointed out, there are no scientific data on these questions, and one can only extrapolate from what is known about child development in general to speculate on the extent to which these issues pose an actual problem for development. What types of online activities constitute a normal and developmentally appropriate exploration into sexuality by adolescents? When can young users' experiments with different personas and forms of sexual expression be productive, and what, if any, interactions may lead to permissive attitudes toward sexual, aggressive, and prejudiced behavior, as well as the potential for early sexual priming before sexual maturity has been reached? Some basic content analyses are needed to document the types of cybercultures that exist and the way in which adult involvement can positively or negatively influence the social norms in these online communities. USE PATTERNS OF THE INTERNET Constructing effective strategies to protect kids on the Internet can benefit from a consideration of how young people are using the Internet. Janet Schofield, committee member and professor at the University of Pittsburgh, suggested that these questions about young people's Internet use could be characterized as supply and demand issues. With respect to sup

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Page 38 ply, one can consider what type of content is widely available on the Internet. For instance, the extent to which pornography sites are available compared with sexual health and education is one example of analysis on the supply or availability side of the Internet. On the demand side, one can examine the types of activities young people engage in online, the extent to which they use the Internet, and for what purposes. Strategies to address supply or demand issues would certainly be very different. This section reviews material on young people's Internet and media use, for what purposes young people use the Internet, and how marketing may influence children's online activities. Citing the Kaiser Family Foundation's report, Kids & Media @ the New Millennium: A Comprehensive National Analysis of Children's Media Use (1999), Donald Roberts, professor of communication at Stanford University, described what is known about the role of the media in kids' lives. The average child spends about 5.5 hours per day using media—be it television, radio, CDs, or the computer. Young people will use more than one form of media at once (e.g., listening to a CD while surfing the Internet), so children are doing a lot of parallel processing in their media use. Children ages 8-14 tend to spend more hours using media than teens ages 14-18. This is likely because of the busier and more diverse schedules of older teens (Roberts et al., 1999). Perhaps surprisingly, time using the computer averaged only 31 minutes for children ages 8-18, with only a portion of that time devoted to online and Internet activities. Television, by far, was still the most commonly used form of media, and this age group had the television on an average of 3.25 hours per day. In this study 62 percent of children had a computer at home. Of families living in affluent communities in which the community income averaged above $40,000, 81 percent had computers compared to 49 percent of families in communities with an average income under $25,000. Schools seemed to mitigate some of these differences, often providing access for children who did not have a personal computer in their homes (Roberts et al., 1999). Of the entire sample of young people surveyed, on average children spent only 21 minutes on the computer in recreation (32 minutes and 30 minutes for ages 8-13 and 14-18, respectively). Children used the computer primarily for games but did spend some time in chat rooms, sending email, and surfing web sites. Of the group of children who reported using the computer yesterday, games occupied the majority of their recreational time online. The 8-13-year-olds using a computer yesterday logged the

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Page 39 longest average recreation times on the computer (over 1 hour), spending 32 minutes playing games, 14 minutes looking at web sites, 11 minutes in chat rooms, and 8 minutes sending emails (Roberts et al., 1999). Most children's media use—including time on the computer and online—does not involve parental supervision. Many kids have radios, CD players, a television, and even a computer in their rooms, and Roberts viewed this as problematic. Although this may be relevant to disciplinary issues, it is certainly pertinent that parents are not monitoring their children's media activity, nor can they readily provide any feedback or support for children's online activities because they are using their computers in private. Computers and Internet surfing do not make up the majority of children's media consumption by any yardstick, and in this respect television poses a much more significant influential factor in development, at least in terms of the sheer amount of time that young people spend with that form of media, Roberts noted. The amount of time they spend using computers and going online is likely to increase, however, as computer use continues to penetrate into homes and schools. Sarah Keller, assistant professor of health communication at Emerson College, spoke of the dangers of economic predators on the Internet, such as marketers to children, and presented examples of market research tactics as possible models for educators. Data from a market survey by Grunwald Associates shows that more than 25 million children in the United States have access to the Internet, three times the number of children who were online in 1997, and representing 40 percent of American children 2 to 17 years old (< www.grunwald.com/survey/index.htm>). By 2005 it is estimated that almost 44 million children (ages 2-17) will be using the Internet. School access is expected to surpass home access by 2003 as classroom wiring initiatives are actuated. This study found that family decisions to purchase Internet access were centered on their children's educational needs, and, interestingly, children also cited education as their leading activity while online. Children tend to find out about interesting web sites from other children and other informal sources. But, children's primary use of the Internet continues to be social. As in the Kaiser Family Foundation study, a survey from Pricewaterhouse Coopers E-Retail Intelligence System showed that email is a significant reason why teens go online, with half of the teens surveyed indicating that email was their primary reason for being online (< cyberatlas.internet.com/big_picture/demographics/article>). Although research on children's online

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Page 40 behavior is scarce, a survey by Zandl Group of 8-12-year-olds with home Internet access showed that 80 percent of this age group play games, 72 percent use email, 58 percent chat or use message boards, 54 percent do school work, 42 percent download music, and 22 percent shop (Zollo, 1995). One other point of interest Keller noted is that a report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that about half of regular Internet users of any age (an estimated 52 million) use the Internet for information on health issues such as diseases, clinical trials, treatment, and nutrition, as well as for assistance in making health-related decisions (Richardson, 2000). As Brown and Keller both suggested, this may be of great significance with regard to young people and sexual health awareness. SUMMARY A great deal of information on children's media use was presented in the workshop. On average, young people are not spending significant portions of their time with a computer and spend even less time online (Roberts et al., 1999). This average is likely to increase as computers become even more widely available in schools and homes, and as different media forms (e.g., music, television, the Internet) become increasingly integrated and interrelated. In addition, as the number of devices that allow one to get online (e.g., cell phones and other hand-held transmitters) become more widely available, children will have new paths to the Internet. Not only will this increase use, but also these new tools may make screening material before it reaches a young person more difficult. In the assessment of many of workshop participants, the only way to ensure that children are not harmed by inappropriate content was to arm the child rather than the computer. A young person who is taught strategies to stay in control of their online experiences, to be critical and skeptical about the underlying messages in advertising and romanticized and sexualized images, and to report users soliciting personal information brings that training to any device she or he uses and any venue in which she or he is getting online. Some speakers felt that filtering and monitoring under certain circumstances could be helpful, but for developmental reasons they were very careful to describe a specific context in which these strategies should be used. For example, Cantor suggested that allowing the young person to know the override code as a way to express trust in the young persons judgment and honesty was a good way to handle filtering. This provides an opportunity for the parent to teach the young person account

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Page 41 ability for their actions by sharing the responsibility of the decision to keep the filter on while also providing a little leeway as a young person moved into adolescence and began to seek information about sexuality independently, information that might otherwise be screened out by a filter. Youniss emphasized that monitoring is best done by maintaining open communication and a trusting relationship between parent and child so that a parent could discuss online activities with the child and receive honest answers. Through this relationship the child might also be more comfortable coming to the parent after encountering material that concerned them. Youniss felt existing literature was clear that this dialogue was much more beneficial to children's development than for a parent to snoop through Internet log files to secretly see where a young person had gone online.