Simone van der Hof on Mon, 2 Apr 2012 02:01:59 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-nl] Regulating online child safety

Call for chapters: Youth And The Internet – Regulating Online Opportunities And Risks (Springer Press)

Abstract deadline: 30 April 2012

Please forward to anyone who might be interested in contributing to the book.


A large majority of youths in Western society is online every day. In their online social interactions, they continuously and quickly switch between online and offline modes of communications. As a result, their online and offline worlds have become fully merged. Online youth socialization renders both positive and negative experiences. On the positive side, online activities allow them to develop their personality, make friends, generate (creative) content, and acquire digital skills. On the downside, youths may be confronted with risks, such as bullying, abuse of personal data, fraud, and loss of reputation. 

Most of these risks impact individuals more generally, but there are particular concerns concerning children. Children are often more easily misled and less proficient in seeing through (potentially) awkward and perilous situations. Moreover, particularly during adolescence, risk-taking behavior increases and, hence, so do online risks. A good example is texting sexually-explicit messages to lovers ('sexting'), which is part of exploring sexuality but can also lead to utterly embarrassing situations, even fierce bullying, when these messages are forwarded to third parties. Often, youths are not aware of the long-term consequences of their activities. Additionally, online communications seem to demonstrate a qualitative shift in the seriousness of risks as a result of particular properties of the Internet. The visibility of online activities is potentially far-reaching and online content (text, pictures, audio, video, etc.) can be copied or searched effortlessly. However, this content cannot be removed (easily), meaning individuals may be haunted a lifetime.

Through empirical research in the social sciences, we have gained a vivid and enlightening picture of how the Internet impacts the lives of youths, both in positive and negative ways. Unsurprisingly, particularly the findings on risks and harm have invigorated the attention of policy makers and regulators to deal with problems that children face online and to ensure a safe online environment. However, we are still at the beginning of finding adequate policy and regulatory answers of dealing with young people’s Internet usage. It is especially important that law and policy addressing risks do not at the same time unnecessarily curtail fundamental rights, freedoms, and hence, children’s online opportunities. 

Moreover, the online child-safety domain is an exceptionally complex one to regulate, given that many different national and international, private and public actors and a great variety of issues are involved. More generally, we know that regulating the Internet demands innovative and flexible regulatory design in order to be able to effectively deal with bad or even illegal situations and not curtail fundamental freedoms at the same time. Traditional  law and policy are more and more intrinsically interwoven and dynamically interacting with other modes of Internet regulation, like technological, social and self-regulation. 

Potential topics

Potential topics for submissions include, but are not limited to the following:

Digital child rights
Internet safety policy
Self-regulation of child rights
Code as law and child rights

Online empowerment
Online social networking
Online gaming
Identity development
Online creativity

Innovating awareness-raising
Parental mediation
Digital literacy
Digital divide

Right to privacy
Personal-data protection
Right to be forgotten
Online child surveillance
Illegal and harmful content
Online (child) porn
Freedom of information
Online piracy
Internet filtering
Online risk-taking
Online sexual abuse
Online victimization

Identity theft
Online slander and libel
Virtual theft

Misleading or fraudulent services
Online marketing
Behavioral advertising

Submissions should offer a better understanding of how policy and (legal, social, and technological) regulation can contribute to ensuring a safe, entertaining, and educational online environment for children and adolescents, particularly in light of existing child rights and legal protections. Moreover, interdisciplinary submissions on law, Internet governance and social sciences (like sociology, psychology, communications science) are welcomed.

Submissions and deadlines

30 April 2012: 	abstract submission
30 May 2012: 	abstract review
15 Sept 2012: 	final chapter submission
30 Oct 2012: 	chapter review
The book will be published in winter 2012/13.

Abstract and chapter submissions are in English and should contain name, institutional affiliation, title, short CV and e-mail address.

Abstracts: 		250-500 words
Full chapters: 	max 6000 words

E-mail address for submissions:



Prof Simone van der Hof
Chair in Law and Information Society
e-Law – Center for Law and Information Society
Leiden Law School
Leiden University – The Netherlands

Dr Bibi van den Berg
Assistant Professor Regulation and Philosophy of Technology
e-Law – Center for Law and Information Society
Leiden Law School
Leiden University – The Netherlands

Dr Bart Schermer
Co-founder and partner at Considerati
Assistant Professor Law and ICT 
e-Law – Center for Law and Information Society
Leiden Law School
Leiden University – The Netherlands

Publisher: Springer Press / Asser Press

Contact information

E-mail address for inquiries:

E-mail address for submissions:

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