Originally posted on the Connected Camps blog.
It’s hard to avoid trolls and haters on the Internet these days. Even parents who see how the Internet can be good for kids might worry about the darker side of online culture. We’ve written about some of the risks of online hate, and how to pick a Minecraft server that keeps griefers at bay. Those of us running kid-friendly online communities have a lot of motivation to continue to improve our craft.
Connected Camps has been collaborating with researchers at Harvard, MIT and the University of California to investigate how to create safe and inclusive spaces for kids online. This work involves looking carefully at kid-friendly online communities such as Scratch, DIY.org, and Connected Camps. Andres Lombana-Bermudez has been writing up some of the findings from this work. Every community has a unique culture and process, but they share three essential elements: shared values and guidelines, processes for moderation with feedback, and support for leadership to emerge from the community.
Originally posted at the Connected Camps blog.
One of my Internet heroes is Stuart Duncan, founder of Autcraft, a Minecraft server for kids with autism and their families. After blogging about autism for many years, Duncan started Autcraft in response to what he had heard from his community about autistic kids being bullied on Minecraft servers. Clearly he tapped a pain point. After opening its doors in 2013, word spread quickly, and the Autcraft community has grown to over 8000 members.
Creating safe spaces for kids with autism online (or anywhere) is important and hard. The Autcraft community has achieved this through vigilance and community innovation. Other servers can learn from their experience in creating inclusive and safe server communities. Creating a friendly and inclusive Internet shouldn’t fall to families with kids with autism alone, but should enlist and enrich all of us as allies and fellow netizens.