Another legacy of the Howard gov. is revealed in the uncovering of misinformation provided in its advertising campaign warning of the dangers of the Net and in particular social networking sites. Peter Marees’ report exposes the campaign was based on an error in the research which analysed the results of a phone survey of 1000 young people. The research failed to distinguish between unsupervised chat rooms and more popular forms of collaboration such as SMS and social networking. The overall picture that emerges from the Wallis Group research is far more positive than the messages of “danger, risk and fear” that characterised the NetAlert campaign. When asked what sort of things they do on the internet, for example, children and teenagers cited looking “for information for homework or study” ahead of all other activities, including playing games, chatting and messaging.
The survey also revealed that well before the NetAlert campaign almost three quarters of parents had already talked to their children about “keeping safe online,” which is described by one observer as “an amazingly positive finding.” Also shows a lack of sophistication on the part of researchers when it comes to design and analysis of net activity.