Academics and researchers from the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) shared their unique perspectives on online safety at the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) European Forum, held in Dublin on June 27th.
The FOSI event, titled “Regulating and Innovating Online Safety,” featured top representatives across industry, government, academia, and the charity sector as they debated the implications of current and pending global legislation, best practices surrounding AI, digital wellbeing, and more.
OII Director, Associate Professor and Senior Policy Fellow, Vicki Nash and Professor of Human Behaviour and Technology, Andy Przybylski, gave the academic perspective, discussing the key themes of digital wellbeing and generative AI in relation to online safety. OII MSc student Trisha Prabhu also featured as a panellist at the event, in her capacity as founder and CEO of anti-hate app, ReThink.
Panel perspective: ‘Promoting Safety and Trust in genAI’, featuring OII Director, Professor Vicki Nash
The audience heard from AI experts Courtney Gregoire of Microsoft, Vicki Nash of OII, Henry Platten of GoBubble, and Matthew Soeth of Spectrum Labs, who spoke about one of the most hotly debated and discussed technologies of the year, AI. The panelists discussed the pros and cons of generative AI through the lens of online safety, how various stakeholders can and should approach this technology, and how we can best prioritize safety for children in quickly evolving digital experiences.
Commenting on the risks and benefits of genAI, OII Director, Professor Vicki Nash said:
“We need to make sure we’re keeping ahead of the game and have access to the types of new data that will enable us to identify where there are new types of risk affecting children in different ways. At the same time, we can bring to bear all the research we have already done and that should be framing our response”.
Watch the full panel discussion: 2023 European Forum: Promoting Safety and Trust in genAI – YouTube
Panel perspective: ‘Burnout to Balance: Wellbeing in a New Digital Era’, featuring Professor Andy Przybylski
The panel featured the industry perspective from both Tami Bhaumik of Roblox and Mindy Brooks of Google, the academic point of view from Andy Przybylski of OII, and the non-profit perspective from Áine Lynch of Ireland’s National Parents Council. The discussion featured digital wellbeing best practices when thinking about the use of social media, immersive technologies, and AI. The panelists also shared their expertise and discussed ways in which both parents and children can feel more empowered to take control of their relationship with technology in a healthy and balanced way.
Commenting on digital wellbeing, Professor Przybylski said:
“Platforms and games and online environments change faster sometimes than parents can be prepared for. Being realistic about how you break down digital wellbeing and what you’re talking about in terms of individual contextual factors is critically important”.
Watch the full panel discussion: 2023 European Forum: Burnout to Balance Wellbeing in a New Digital Era – YouTube
Panel perspective: ‘Emerging Horizons: Navigating the Future of Online Safety’, founder of ReThink, and OII MSc student, Trisha Prabhu
The final panel of the day looked to the future. Panellists Julie de Bailliencourt of TikTok, Iain Drennan of WeProtect, Alex Holmes of the Diana Award, and Trisha Prabhu of ReThink reflected on how advancing technologies will impact our everyday lives, and what this means for the future of online safety. They discussed how all stakeholders, as well as parents and young people themselves, can navigate these complex and evolving times. From a variety of different perspectives, the panelists examined the most important facets of online safety as we embark on a new era of digital innovation.
Looking ahead to the future, Rethink founder and OII MSc student Trisha Prabhu said;
“I’d like to see online safety led by a diverse coalition, led by people from different backgrounds, geographies, perspectives, that are working together in good faith to consider how we can find the balance between the good that the internet has to offer and some of the harms.”
Watch the full panel discussion: 2023 European Forum: Emerging Horizons: Navigating the Future of Online Safety – YouTube
The OII continues to lend its expert voice to the ongoing debate around online safety, with its researchers actively engaged in multi-disciplinary research in this important field of internet studies.
Find out more about OII Director, Professor Vicki Nash’s work informing government policy in this area.
Find out more about Professor Andy Pryzbylski’s research on adolescents and screen time use.
Find out more about OII student Trisha Prabhu and digital anti-hate app ReThink.