People have a lot of questions about what at-risk means. The bottom line is that these are kids who walk a fine line between life and death. Some have been totally traumatized by human sex trafficking, and while they might express themselves here, some of them are mute. Thusly, if a kid is responding to you here, do not assume that he communicates anything whatsoever outside what he creates on this blog; most of it will be art as he sees it. It might not be art to you. But it will be art to him. Some of the adolescents in Smash Street are designated (CH) by state's Special Education Programs as Communicatively Handicapped.
Confidentiality: Images of the kids themselves can be obfuscated or photoshopped on purpose. Some kids are more focused on confidentiality than others. We are not on Facebook. The only social photography platform we use is Instagram as it's completely public. Some photography you see here can be seen there. We employ various Internet channels/ websites/ blogsites to speak to and among ourselves. This means many of the posts will simply be for those of us in Smash Street. You will also find stuff posted by the kids in Show Me Your Life (an International Art Program based in eighteen different countries). Some content is attributed. Some content is anonymous if the kid wants to opt out of identifying himself. It's up to the kid who made it. Smash Street and Show Me Your Life are both safe places where adolescents at-risk can make art, and show it. Both Smash Street and Show Me Your Life offer kids-at-risk materials and peer-mentoring.
You will find stuff posted by Tim Barrus who runs both programs. Tim Barrus is the founder of Cinematheque Films, and is the Creative Director of Real Stories Gallery Foundation, NYC (501C3).
Warning: Anything you communicate to a kid at Smash Street can be posted here, and a lot of people will read everything you've said. Haters are not welcomed. Pedophiles who make overtures are reported. At no time will a kid give you his address. Watch what you say and how you say it. People who bully do get posted but as examples of what hate speech is.
Warning: Some posts could be disturbing. Sometimes a kid is posting for himself or one other particular kid. At Smash Street we call that an internal dialogue.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act allows art-teaching entities fair use of digital content in classroom and teaching-research applications. Our various Internet sites are always under construction (24/7), many being designed by the kids who contribute to it.
CONTACT: Kids can refer themselves to the program, and many are referred by outside NGOs. You can submit questions to us via Dr Rachel Chapple at email@example.com or Tim Barrus at SMYL@photographer.net
THE UNITED NATIONS states that a child is any person under the age of eighteen years old.
Committee on the Rights of the Child urges all levels of government to use the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) as a guide in policy-making and implementation:
The United Nations counts Internet access as a basic human right. The 2011 UN report created by Special Rapporteur Frank La Rue, takes a hard line on the importance of the Internet as "an indispensable tool for realizing a range of human rights, combating inequality, and accelerating development and human progress." Whilst overwhelmingly supporting the Internet as a communication platform, the UN report warns how the internet's unique architecture threatens power brokers in societies:
The vast potential and benefits of the Internet are rooted in its unique characteristics, such as its speed, worldwide reach and relative anonymity. At the same time, these distinctive features of the Internet that enable individuals to disseminate information in "real time" and to mobilize people has also created fear amongst Governments and the powerful. This has led to increased restrictions on the Internet through the use of increasingly sophisticated technologies to block content, monitor and identify activists and critics,criminalization of legitimate expression, and adoption of restrictive legislation to justify such measures (UN 2011 Report).
The UN report, whilst acknowledging the logistical barriers that some nations face when it comes to delivering internet service, urges all nations to make plans to offer universal access and maintain policy that won't limit access for political purposes.
The Special Rapporteur remains concerned that legitimate online expression is being criminalized in contravention of States' international human rights obligations, whether it is through the application of existing criminal laws to online expression, or through the creation of new laws specifically designed to criminalize expression on the Internet. Such laws are often justified as being necessary to protect individuals' reputation, national security or to counter terrorism. However, in practice, they are frequently used to censor content that the Government and other powerful entities do not like or agree with (UN 2011 Report).
The Electronic Freedom Foundation says the UN's support for anonymous expression and the protection it affords should inform how governments regulate security and surveillance. Forms of online surveillance often take place for “political, rather than security reasons in an arbitrary and covert manner," La Rue argues, calling on governments to decriminalize defamation, do away with real-name registration systems--including the parameters in Facebook's terms and conditions that allows governments to collect users' names and passwords--and restrict rights only in the face of an imminent threat.Broad surveillance powers or the erosion of privacy online endanger anonymity's ability to protect dissenters and journalists and those using pseudonyms when they speak out (UN 2011 report).
Real Stories Gallery Foundation 501c3. EIN: 80-0575894. All donations are 100% tax deductible. To ensure that every dollar gifted goes directly to support the survivors participating in the SHOW ME YOUR LIFE initiative, an Art Patron has very kindly covered the Foundation's overheads & expenses.