Skout

Skout.

Have you heard about it?

It’s a flirting site – a new twist in social networking that even uses GPS to show others where you are.

Three child rapes have been credited to Skout. That is, three children have been raped by predators who used Skout to scout….

Truth is, Skout began as an adult service but the founders quickly realized that teens were attracted to it as well. And it does have a staff that monitors the active community for bad behavior.  They even have technology—the “creepinator”—that does the same. Yet stuff does get through the technology and the human review didn’t seem able to stop the rapes.

Now, let’s be fair – I am not blaming Skout – in fact, reports indicate that many more cases like these were social-network or otherwise digitally enabled. More so, Skout has – to their credit – accepted a strong degree of accountability and are looking at new technology and procedures to limit the risk to minors (and others, I imagine).

So who do you blame?

Some would say digital channels and apps – and from some religious and conservative and religious-conservative corners, there is a growing chorus wanting to limit Internet access and development and to further regulate its usage.

Not to bash those more right of center – there is no doubt some wisdom in their position, and clearly we do need to make sure that we have adequate controls or maybe, better stated, adequate consequences for those who abuse the system.

Seems to me the issue is not the technology or even its broad access – in a sense that would be like blaming the printing press…all printing presses—for hurtful activities that occurred because someone read something printed.

What we need is education, parental control, peer pressure, clear societal mores with corresponding consequences.

At the end of the day, we all need to take accountability – we might live in the digital age but the outcomes still affect us as the humans we still are.

Bottom line – we make the mistakes, not the apps or the cloud or the devices – it’s us – and us alone.  Yet we still seem to think that we can shift the problem – the blame – the accountability…listen:

“To err is human–and to blame it on a computer is even more so. “
Robert Orben

Time to stand up. Apps don’t rape nor do devices – and while Skout is to be commended for trying to find a solution – I’d recommend that they ask themselves, if it was their children at risk, what would they do?

So while screwing up is human – so is passing the blame – and passing it to technology just doesn’t cut it.

What do you think?

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