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Dear Subscribers:

"One child can educate a whole village," says 16-year-old Nickole. We agree, so you'll find some ideas by teens (including Nickole), for teens (and all of us) on how to move forward, post-September 11. Here's our lineup for this third week of September:

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Counter-terrorism, Week 2

  1. Teen commentary

    Some young US leaders had very mature suggestions for how teens can respond to last week's events. They're members of an online panel of "AT&T Young Leaders," a project of the America Connects Consortium at the Education Development Center in Massachusetts. The first comment is from a teenage subscriber to the list that publishes panelists' comments; the second two are from panelists themselves.

    "My name is Nickole.... I am 16 and have worked on Peace Making activities for a long time. May I encourage the rest of the kids to really take a stand. Print out flyers for cars - God Bless America. Make sure you find the students in your school that happen to be Muslim. Make friends with them, befriend them, go to their Mosque with them. Show them that religious intolerance is not accepted. Check out the recent Junior Journal off of my, where a 16-year-old Pakistani girl I have met talks about the attacks. Get informed. Bin Laden wants us to hate Muslims and make this a Holy War. Let the youth of the nation show the rest of the world that this is stupid. We can do more than most people and kids think. One child can educate a whole village - I have seen it. Read the stories of the Global Youth Peace and Tolerance awards off of Peace, Nickole"

    From Gussie: "I totally agree with you. Why should we make them feel bad. Some of them are here in America just like you and I. They didn't do anything wrong at all. Some of them were sitting right next to you when this tragedy took place. Instead of us trying to make war, how about we make peace with them? Show them [we know] they too are an American and we do care. Also that we will stand together as one nation and stay strong.

    "I think that throughout this whole situation prayer is much needed. If we all stick together and pray we will overcome this. For all we know that this is only a test, and we will stand strong as Americans and hold on. We can also help by donating clothes, food, money to those who have lost these things. The last thing we can donate is our support and love, because that is truly needed at this time."

    From Tiffany: "Yes, I do agree with you. We do not need to discriminate against them because of what one person has done to us Americans. They are going through the same thing as us but more. We as people are not making them feel good about themselves. We do not have any right to make someone feel lower then us because of their religion. Would you like someone not liking you because of your religion?

    "The way we can make them feel good is by not looking at them in the wrong way. If you know someone of this religion you should make sure that they are okay. And if you see some of your friends make fun of them you should stand up and say that they do not have any right making fun of them. Would you like someone making fun of you? - Tiffany"

    Editor's Note: Messages from other kids (and a few to them from grownups) can be found on the "KidsShareHope" page set up for children after September 11 by the nonprofit Global SchoolNet Foundation.

  2. More on tolerance

    In "I Cry for What Happened and What Might Happen", founder Larry Magid undoubtedly connects with concerns of people all over the world. is hosting an online discussion on "Tolerance After Tragedy." Wired News reports that B'nai Brith Canada "is calling for stricter regulation of hate-related material on the Internet," and is maintaining a "Tolerance Watch" and reporting on all related news stories.

  3. 'The peacemakers speak'

    Some towering figures in world peacemaking added their voices to the counter-terrorism discussion this week. Nobel peace laureate Dr. Jose Ramos Horta of East Timor collected responses to last week's terrorist attacks from fellow laureates and, with a California Web developer, created a Web site for them. Our thanks to the South China Morning Post for highlighting the site, where Oscar Arias of Costa Rica invokes Mahatma Gandhi in suggesting that "we must be the change we wish to see ... not the darkness that we wish to leave behind." There are messages from the Dalai Lama, Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, and other peacemakers, as well as a page for visitors' responses. The site is a work in progress, the Post reports. A clear-eyed commentary in the Sunday New York Times - "What Would 'Victory' Mean?" - provides a useful backdrop to the laureates' messages.

  4. The military angle

    A very credible Web resource, the 100+-year-old Jane's Information Group, provides ongoing background and analysis on Sept. 11-related military activities around the world. Three arresting headlines on its home page this week were "The surgical strike is a myth", "Overt assistance from Pakistan may bring dire consequences", and "Who did it? ... an alternative view".

  5. A children's prayer

    Right after we uploaded last Thursday, we received an email from subscriber Carol Goodrow, elementary school teacher and Webmaster of Her audience is runners under 12, so she had much younger Web-sters in mind when she wrote "Toy Prayer: In Honor of National Prayer Day, September 14, 2001". So many prayers have been written by and for grownups in the past 11 days that we appreciated this departure.

  6. Privacy a casualty?

    Many news outlets cited consumer privacy as one of the potential casualties of last week's events. CNET ran a special report on "Privacy vs. Safety", summing up developments thereto since September 11, including the Justice Department's push for added powers and the Senate passing a measure that would allow the FBI to monitor email using its controversial "Carnivore" eavesdropping software. Two views are expressed in a ZDNet commentary (bottom line: "I have a much greater fear of my government's enemies than of my government itself") and a Wired News report on "geektavists' " fears of increased government powers. The Center for Democracy and Technology's view is voiced in another Wired News piece about the Bush administration's effort to "rewrite spy laws" and in CDT's own Web site. And the New York Times's Cyberlaw columnist weighed in on the subject just today, zooming in on "one little corner" of the furthest-along piece of legislation (because, the writer suggests, "the devil is in the details").

  7. Major reevaluation for ISPs

    "The Internet's fingerprints" were all over last week's attacks, reports Wired News, which has meant major scrutiny for Internet service providers, the New York Times reports. The Times story indicates that the ISPs themselves are taking the initiative on reevaluating content that their online users can view and post, pointing out that "the practical issue for Internet service companies is far more one of 'community standards' than of law. The objectionable images, the advocacy of violence and the venomous pronouncements - both on some of the jihad sites and in the anti-Islamic backlash - are generally shielded under free-speech protections." The Times ran a related piece on how ISPs have worked with the FBI and other investigators since the terrorist attacks.

  8. Surge in online charity

    One example pretty much says it all: Over the entire year, last year, the American Red Cross raised $2.2 million online; in the six days following last week's attacks the organization received more than twice that amount, $5.9 million, according to Wired News. Helping to make that happen for the Red Cross and other charities were "Donate Now!" buttons on the home pages of the Web's highest-traffic sites, including,, and, Wired added.

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Family Tech: Cracking chat 'code,' dealing with kids' passwords

It really only looks like code language to parents. For young people, phrases like "ROFL," CID," and "BF" and "GF" are second-nature now. As parent and's Larry Magid writes, "I'm not sure if it will count as a language requirement when they apply for college, but it does help them communicate with other kids via chat rooms and instant message programs. And they'll probably continue to use it in college and maybe even in the workforce." In his Family Tech column, Larry translates a bunch of these all-caps terms and links to a whole list of chat-slang glossaries on the Web. He also links to a complete glossary of popular pager terms, which are usually numeric. Examples he gives: "143" means "`I love you'' and "360" "I love you back," and "1040'' means "you owe me big time." And for another, trans-Pacific, perspective on "Weblish," here's a piece at the South China Morning Post.

There are other ways parents can feel "out of the loop" where online kids are concerned. As the Christian Science Monitor points out, passwords don't just give kids access to their friends via email and instant-messaging, they lock parents out of an increasingly significant part of their children's lives. It might behoove us parents to put our heads together on what to do about this new parenting challenge! We'd love to hear from you about family measures and policies concerning kids' passwords.

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Progress for Net ratings

The international effort to give Net users a tool that protects both children and free speech on the Internet has seen some real progress, indicates Stephen Balkam, CEO of the London-based Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA). In an email to colleagues, he wrote, "Two very significant documents have been released in the past two weeks promoting the work of labeling and filtering on the Internet from two highly respected organizations."

One of those organizations is the "CEO-driven" Global Business Dialogue on Electronic Commerce (GBDe ), which, while meeting in Tokyo recently, issued a "Statement of Principles on Cyber Ethics" (here they are in pdf format). With this statement, leading e-commerce companies worldwide are basically agreeing to inform Internet users about labeling and filtering tools available to them and provide technical support for the tools' use.

The other, the Council of Europe, "Europe's oldest, 41-nation, inter-governmental organization," Stephen writes, has issued recommendations to member states on "self-regulation and user protection against illegal or harmful content" on the Internet. In this document the Council recommends (in Points 6-8) that member states encourage the definition of Web "content descriptors" (indicating whether content is violent, pornographic, hateful, etc.), providing for "neutral labeling of content, thus enabling users to make their own judgment concerning such content." The Council also recommends that member states encourage Web content providers to use those content descriptors so their sites can be "seen" by filters that use the rating system.

These are important steps because the success of Internet content rating relies heavily on worldwide consensus-building and Net industry cooperation. For details on how Internet ratings work, see our interview with Stephen late last year.

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Web News Briefs

  1. Destructive e-virus

    We hope you haven't already encountered the "Nimda" worm (for "admin" spelled backwards), which has spread around the world "like wildfire" this week, reports the South China Morning Post. "It arrives in email without a subject line and containing an attachment titled 'readme.exe' that is disguised as a harmless audio file. It also inserts itself into the makeup of Web pages and can spread when users download files on to their computers." The Post said the worm doesn't appear capable of erasing files or data on your system but had "shown itself capable of slowing down computer operations as it replicated." Things got only worse for Hong Kong, when the Post later added, "Hundreds of thousands of computer users across Hong Kong were affected on Thursday when a combination of the Nimda worm and two damaged transpacific cables disrupted Internet connections." As for the worm itself, CNET reports that home users are most at risk, though it's reportedly largely in retreat, in the US at least (see Reuters via Yahoo News). ZDNet looks at why the worm is both "brilliant" and evil. And explains how it works and what can be done if it's downloaded.

  2. Top education sites

    Interest in education Web sites certainly grows as summer wanes! Jupiter Media Metrix found that ed sites reached less than 20% of 12-to-17-year-olds in July, while in August nearly 30% of all teens visited an education site. The second-largest traffic increase was among 35-to-44-year-olds, "the age bracket of many parents of college-bound teens." JMM found that the top two ed sites in August were and, both offering "content on financial aid and college planning." Following them in traffic were (U. of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign), (Michigan), and (Texas

  3. Internet2 Update

    Faster and less clogged up than the Internet, Internet2 is a media-rich educational tool that could help turn a lot of K-12 students on to science, its educators hope. Wired News has an update on this high-performance research network of networks covering 30 countries which used to be available only to university students.

  4. Net-use leap

    In the United States, 94 million people used the Internet at home last year, up from 57 million in 1998, the Census Bureau found. The New York Times quotes a Bureau statistician saying that we'll all look back on 2000 as the watershed year when computers became just another home appliance. Nua Internet Surveys zoomed in on findings indicating that the digital divide is still a problem: "Almost 90% of households with annual incomes above $75,000 had a PC at home, and 80% had Internet access. Less than 30% of households with incomes below $25,000 had a PC, and about 20% had Internet access."

  5. Seniors' avid Net use

    Compared to other demographic groups, not many people over 65 use the Net (only 15% of them), but those who do are avid users. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 69% of those 15% go online on a typical day. That's compared to 56% of all Americans who go online, Pew found. "Once online, 93% of seniors said they had used email; 58% had found hobby information; 55% had read the news; 53% had searched for health and medical information; 53% had browsed the Internet 'just for fun'; and 53% had checked weather updates," according to a Reuters report on the survey in Yahoo News. Two sites members of this Net-literate group probably enjoy are the nonprofit, with a focus on tech training for seniors, and the portal, focusing on interactive community and family-related content and e-commerce.

  6. Chinese teens' surfing habits

    In terms of Net use, China's teenagers have a lot in common with their counterparts on other continents. They spend an average of 30 minutes a day on the Internet, according to a recent survey cited in the South China Morning Post, mostly playing online games or in chat rooms. The survey, by the Chinese Social Science Academy's Journalism Research Centre, found that, "while Internet net usage among Chinese teens was growing overall, it increased in relation to age, with 36% of junior high school students and 56% of senior high school students saying they had access to the Internet." The survey was done in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, and Changsha. About 60% of the respondents had Net access to the Internet at home, with the remainder relying on Internet cafes or their parents' or relatives' offices, 60% spend their online time on domestic, Chinese-language Web sites.

  7. AOL@School's new head

    Wired News recently published a profile of Terry Crane, a teacher-cum-businesswoman who now heads up AOL Time Warner's education portal. The piece looks at some of the pluses and minuses of having the Internet, not to mention the AOL Time Warner brand, in the classroom.

  8. Spam relief

    There are some ways to beat the spam (unsolicited junk email) problem, ZDNet reports. The piece offers both reasons why spam is "the scourge of the email in-box" and resources for combating it.

  9. Lycos promoting porn?

    The headline's reaching a bit but, according to, Lycos has few qualms about making pornographic images accessible to kids - kids using Net-connected cell phones, that is. quotes Lycos UK's managing director as saying they've received no complaints, so.... The report might be considered a useful reminder that "SMS" ("short messaging service") on cell/mobile phones is the new "Wild West" of the Internet, where few rules apply.

  10. Not-so-innocent 'typo' URLs

    One Internet porn operator argued before an international panel of arbitrators that " many Web surfers actually hunt for misspelled domain names and know full well that what they might find will have nothing to do with a famous-sounding word or phrase," reports. Not persuaded, the panel ruled that he had no right to hold 11 Internet domains that looked a lot like the name of the pop group, Backstreet Boys. So he will no longer use, for example, and as repositories for the porn images he sells.

    Meanwhile, UK tech news provider warns that an "online porn bonanza is set to sweep across Europe" as Internet service providers use adult content to increase flagging revenues.

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That does it for this week. Have a great weekend!


Anne Collier, Editor

Net Family News

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