Like most people, I find I am spending more and more of my life online. Contact with family and friends would not be what it is without the Internet. Indeed, I think the vast majority of the online population would agree that the Internet has enriched our lives (if at the cost of a little solitude now and again).
And when we think of the kinds of problems the Internet has brought into our lives, we tend to think of essentially legislative issues around copyright, or cross-border activities, or organised crime or competition law. I’d even go so far as to say that there is a perspective amongst some that there is even a symbiotic relationship between the inability of governments, national and supra-national, to respond to the pace of innovation on the Internet and the pace of that innovation. And while that is not necessarily a perspective that I share, I can certainly agree that the web is the new Wild West. It’s unknown and untamed, and the law is playing catch-up to he creation of infrastructure.
And when we think of the web, we tend to think only of social benefit and seldom of social problems.
But social problems there are – with this amount of change, of course there are – and one that is sadly increasingly prevalent is online bullying. So I am very proud that today the UK charity BeatBullying announces Firefox for CyberMentors, a build of Firefox specifically designed to help participants in the CyberMentors project. There is both a full build of Firefox (see the CyberMentors home page for downloads) and an add-on to customise an existing installation of Firefox.
This is the latest phase of Mozilla’s partership with BeatBullying, which we first announced in March. If you are a CyberMentor, the add-on is designed to help you as you help other people overcome the effects of being bullied, and to help report instances of online bullying. If you are interested in becoming a CyberMentor, Mozilla is still sponsoring a number of places in the project – please contact me for details.