2011-09-08 [Press Release] Who Is Responsible for Preventing Sexting on Facebook?

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Who Is Responsible for
Preventing Sexting on Facebook?
Father Sues Facebook Over Daughter’s Sexting Status

Cybertraps for the Young

According to reports (http://bit.ly/q0KDSw), a Northern Ireland man is suing Facebook for “allowing” his 12-year-old daughter to post sexually provocative photos of herself on the popular social networking site. Among other things, the father alleges that Facebook is not doing enough to enforce its policy of 13-and-over for membership in the site.

The father’s solicitor, Hilary Charmichael, has started a Web site called “Children on Facebook” (http://www.childrenonfacebook.com/) to identify other families whose children have successfully skirted Facebook’s age requirements.

No one should have any real illusions about how easy it is for the under-13 crowd to join Facebook. The social network faces the same problem that the online adult industry has faced for years: There is no consistently reliable method for determining the age of an individual at a keyboard. That fact does not excuse Facebook from using every reasonable effort to keep young children off its site, but it does help underscore who has the primary responsibility for doing so: the parents of the child who has managed to set up an under-age Facebook profile.

Facebook actually does work hard to maintain a G- or PG-rated site, but with 700 million-plus users, it’s not terribly surprising that some risque images slip through its controls.

Most of us understand how easy it is for young teens and even pre-teens to take sexually provocative or even sexually explicit photos of themselves, and distribute them in a vast number of ways (social networks, SMS, email, USB, etc.). Does it really make sense to say that it is Facebook’s responsibility to prevent them from doing so? Or is it more appropriate (and more logical) to say that a child’s parents should have a better idea of how she is using the electronic equipment at her disposal?

One of the goals of my new book, Cybertraps for the Young, is to remind parents that it is their responsibility to teach children how to lead not only an ethical but also a cyberethical life. In order to do that, parents need a basic understanding of new technologies and more importantly, a reminder of the many legal problems faced by careless teens and even pre-teens themselves.

There is no question that parenting, even under the best of circumstances, is a challenging and frequently exhausting job. To varying degrees, governments, schools, and even businesses can help with the task of raising responsible 21st-century citizens. But at the end of the day, cyberethics need to be taught — and enforced – at home.

Recent Reviews of Cybertraps

Paul O’Reilly (@TheTechDad), The Online Mom, September 1, 2011:

“How many ways can kids get into trouble with tech? Well, judging by Frederick S. Lane’s informative and well-written new book, Cybertraps for the Young, the list is almost endless. From identity theft, computer fraud, and hacking to cyberbullying, sexting and child pornography, there are an enormous number of “traps” for our kids to fall into – many of them with extremely serious consequences.” — Read the full review

Elizabeth Breau, ForeWord Reviews, August 30, 2011:

“Lane provides an invaluable guide for parents concerned about a set of techno-pitfalls unprecedented in human history. That he does so with wit, candor, and grace is fortunate for all who must confront the twenty-first century dangers waiting to ensnare unmoored children.” — Read the full review

Shellyrae, Book’d Out, August 24, 2011:

“Drawing on contemporary news reports and compelling legal cases, Frederick S. Lane drives home the seriousness of the civil and criminal penalties children face for their online behavior, while providing an essential framework for parents, teachers, and school administrators to educate children about the importance of responsible technology use.” — Read the full review

Author Availability

Between now and mid-November, I am based in Manhattan and am available for remote and in-studio interviews on issues and news stories involving cybertraps for the young, sexting, cyberbullying, cyberharassment, privacy, and related topics. Please feel free to contact me by email or cellphone.

About the Author

I am an author, attorney, lecturer and expert witness in the field of computer forensics. I am the author of five previous books and over the last decade have appeared as guest on a variety of national media programs, including Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” ABC’s “Nightline,” CBS’s “60 Minutes” and “Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood,” NBC’s “Today Show,” and numerous regional and local radio programs.

I am a frequent lecturer at colleges and universities on topics ranging from First Amendment issues to student privacy in the digital age. From 2001 to 2011, I served on the Burlington School Board, including the last two years as Chair of the Board. I graduated from Amherst College in 1985 with a degree in classics and American studies, and from Boston College Law School in 1988.

Additional information is available on my Web site, www.FrederickLane.com.

Frederick Lane

Frederick S. Lane



Expert Witness




Upcoming Lectures:

September 15, 2011

“Cybertraps for the Young”

Edmunds Middle School, Burlington School District, Burlington, VT

September 16, 2011

“Cybertraps for the Young”

Justice for Children Conference, Lake Morey Resort, Fairley, VT

September 27, 2011

“Computer Forensics 101”

West Virginia Public Defenders, Charleston, WV

October 5, 2011

“Guide to Combating Sexting at School: Legal Do’s & Don’ts for Educators”

Progressive Business Seminars, Online Webinar

October 13, 2011

“Computer Forensics 101”

Office of the Federal Defender [S.D. Ala.], Mobile, AL

October 17, 2011

“Social Responsibility and the University in the Age of Social Media: Privacy and Bullying”

New Jersey City University, Jersey City, NJ

October 19, 2011

Keynote Address: “Cybertraps for the Young”

National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification Professional Practices Institute, Little Rock, AR

October 20, 2011

Panel Discussion: “Cybertraps for the Young”

National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification Professional Practices Institute, Little Rock, AR

October 21, 2011

“Computer Forensics 101”

Vermont Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Middlebury, VT

November 2, 2011

“Mobile Search and Seizure and the 4th Amendment”

Office of the Federal Defender [N.D. NY], Albany, NY

November 3, 2011

“Cybertraps for the Young”

“Vermont Fest 2011,” VITA-Learn, Killington, VT

November 8, 2011

“Cybertraps for the Young”

Glencoe School District, Glencoe, MN

Previous Books:



American Privacy: The 400-Year History of Our Most Contested Right;

The Court and Cross: The Religious Right’s Crusade to Reshape the Supreme Court;

The Decency Wars: The Campaign to Cleanse American Culture;

The Naked Employee: How Technology Is Compromising Workplace Privacy; and

Obscene Profits: The Entrepreneurs of Pornography in the Cyber Age.


Frederick S. Lane is an author, attorney, educational consultant, expert witness, and lecturer who has appeared on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, the BBC, and MSNBC. He is past chairman of the Burlington (VT) School Board. His sixth book, “Cybertraps for the Young,” is now available from NTI Upstream. Visit www.FrederickLane.com for additional information.
Contact information:802-318-4604 | fslane3@gmail.com | www.FrederickLane.com | www.ComputerForensicsDigest.comIf you do not wish to receive further emails, Please Click Here

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