Articles of Interest
For more information or to report a website visit www.iwf.org.uk.
Up until a few years ago, I'd never heard much about teen dating abuse and violence and wrongly assumed it was mainly limited to adult relationships. I just didn't realize how prevalent it was among our youth. But, it starts somewhere and that is often with young people who are entering into relationships for the very first time. They often mimic the behaviors they've seen growing up. And, because they're new to relationships, young people can misinterpret controlling as caring, and not understand the warning signals of abuse until it is out of control. To understand the severity of the problem, the CDC reports that one in ten high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend. This statistic only reflects physical violence. If we include emotional and verbal abuse in teen dating relationships, the stat jumps to one in three teens.
Digital Dating Abuse
A rising trend in dating abuse is the use of technology to harass, threaten and control the dating partner from a distance – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Through the use of technology such as cell phones, email, and social networking, the abuser can gain access into what once were safe havens for the abused partner - school, extra-curricular activities and home - to apply a relentless barrage of insults and/or demands that are not visible to parents or other adult caregivers. Digital dating abuse can include:
• Checking the dating partner's cell phone for outgoing and incoming calls, texts and images.
• Controlling the dating partner's friends on social networking sites.
• Demanding or stealing the dating partner's account passwords to keep tabs on them.
• Pressuring or demanding the dating partner share sexually explicit images and/or videos of themselves.
• Constantly texting the dating partner to find out where they are and what they are doing (the abused partner often feels obligated to have their cell phones with them at all times so they can respond quickly for fear of being punished).
• Insulting or threatening the dating partner through emails, texts, tweets, and even status updates.
Read the full story here.
The IWF was launched on December 1, 1996 as an independent self-regulating body funded by the European Union and member companies from the online industry. It serves as the UK reporting Hotline for images of child sexual abuse hosted anywhere in the world and UK-hosted extreme adult pornography and non-photographic images of child sexual abuse.
When child sexual abuse content is found and hosted within the UK, it is shared with the police and removed within hours. When it is hosted abroad, it is shared with a corresponding Hotline in the host country and with law enforcement.
The Internet Watch Foundation marks 15 years
To coincide with Awareness Day, the IWF is celebrating its 15th anniversary. There have been a number of milestones that mark both the growth and the progress of the organization since it first launched in 1996.
- In 1996 the IWF had five funding members. Now they have more than 100.
- They started out with just four staff and a UK focus. They now have 16 employees and a global influence tackling online child sexual abuse images.
- The number of web addresses reported to the IWF has increased enormously. In their first year they had assessed 1,300 URLs. In 2010 they assessed more than 48,000.
- In 2005 they received their 100,000th report to the Hotline.
- A total of 87,000 child sexual abuse webpages have been removed in 15 years.
The IWF will only continue to grow and adapt as they work to combat child sexual abuse content on the Internet regardless of where it is hosted. They are committed to reducing the availability of such content which helps to prevent the revictimization of the children involved and to protect us, the general public, from coming across such horrific content. This is their priority.
To learn more about the IWF, see http://www.iwf.org.uk/.
The Internet Education Foundation (IEF) today announced the launch of "Net Safety Tips On The Go" (Net Safety Tips OTG), the first-ever digital safety and security advice app for wireless users. Developed with the support of Google and Verizon, this innovative app makes it easy for consumers and families to keep up with mobile and online privacy, safety, and security issues using their Android smartphone or tablet.
The app dispenses quick, practical, friendly advice in easy-to-digest portions - one tip at a time - to help users use the Internet and smartphones safely. These tips offer information on mobile privacy and security, searching and surfing the Web safely, safeguarding your sensitive financial online information and more. The premier online safety education organizations in the world including Common Sense Media, ConnectSafely.org, OnGuardOnline.gov, and GetNetWise.org produce content to feed the app. Other leading online safety, security and privacy organizations are expected to contribute soon.
"Mobile broadband technology provides limitless opportunities for fun, education and entertainment for everyone," said Rose Kirk, Verizon Foundation president. "To make the most of these opportunities, families need to feel comfortable online. Tools such as Net Safety Tips On The Go help provide families peace of mind, knowing they have the knowledge needed to be safe and secure in the digital world."
Mobile app-based education allows busy people to be more personally productive during their hectic days making Net Safety OTG the perfect tool to educate them. "This app is a terrific idea, especially for people whose lives revolve around their phones," noted Larry Magid, Internet safety pioneer and co-director of ConnectSafely.org. "Everything is going mobile, and now we have put crucial online safety and security education in the hands of anyone with an Android phone or tablet," said Tim Lordan, IEF Executive Director.
Net Safety Tips OTG is available as a free download from the Android Market™ and is featured in the Verizon tab of the Android Market™ on Verizon Wireless smartphones. Visit http://netsafetyapp.org for more information, sample tips and download information.
Look at the parental controls on the computer. Do the settings make sense for each user of the computer. You can normally have logins for each user of the computer. That way you don't have to have the same restricted settings as your 8-year-old son, and you can allow your teen more freedom.
Is your gaming system connected to the internet? If so, make sure the parental control settings make sense for each person who plays.
Most cell phones can both take pictures and connect to the internet. Luckily, most cell phone companies also have some level of parental controls on them. Like computer parental controls, the settings for cell phones will also change over time. Maybe the setting you wanted to use last time wasn't there, but it is now? Maybe it is time to allow more freedom than you had before?
Each child is different and every family is certainly different. There will never been a technical solution that is better than parenting. But sometimes parents need technical help with parenting situations. Enough.org has a check list of Rules 'N Tools that you can use to help in the decisions for you family.
Sexting isn't making anyone any money (that I know of), but 3 in 10 young people report being a part of some kind of naked sexting (either sending or receiving). One in 10 report sending a naked picture of him or herself. This translates into more people sexting than using their cell phone to access pornographic web sites.
Parents are shocked by this, but some teens just see it as a part of life or no big deal.
So what now? We educate the youth. We (as parents) spend time talking with our kids about the realities in the world. We incorporate the new technology into the teachings at school, and we hope for the best. All we can do is teach them about using technology responsibly and the risks that they face. It is up to the youth to decide what to do with the information.
What are your thoughts on how to best educate the youth about the dangers of sexting?
Just like the fact that schools have the right to search lockers and companies have the right to read employee email, the decision is not limited to communications via company email.
The next time I use company email to confirm dinner plans with my husband, I will keep this decision in mind. Even though it isn't too personal, I know that my boss could read the mail if she had cause to check my mail. Will this decision make you change your behavior with company cell phones, pagers or email?
This leads to another question of mine. Are teens, and eventually society, going to be so desensitized to what is now considered to be shocking behavior online? 150 years ago it would have been shocking to see women wearing pants in public. 100 years ago it was shocking that women were fighting to vote. Couples being divorced was shocking in the 1950s.
What do you think? Will hot news stories about teens sharing inappropriate pictures online even be newsworthy in the future? Or is this something that will still be shamed in years ahead?
First Lady, Michelle Obama told CNN that in their household, there is no TV, Internet or phones for the kids during the week. I am curious how Sasha (age 9 this year) and Malia (who turns 12 this year) feel about this policy.
What are the rules in your house about Internet, TV and telephone use?
According to this MSNBC article, I am not the only person to use company resources for personal reasons. This one more personal than my example: "Jeff Quon, a California SWAT sergeant, was given a pager from his employer, the Ontario Police Department. He was later found to have used the device not only for work but also for pleasure, often sending sexually explicit text messages to his wife and his mistress."
Quon's employer found out by reading the texts, siting that the pager was "owned by the department". Quon felt that it was a violation of his privacy. The courts were brought into the mix and it is now going to be escalated to the Supreme Court to determine if the department had the right to read the texts.
The Supreme Court heard the case last Monday and a decision is expected by the end of June.
Regardless of how it turns out, this will effect most workplaces. What do you think the outcome should be? Should the messages be kept private? Or did the department have the right to read them?
Apparently this is not uncommon. According to this article from the U.K., one in five families keep in touch via social networking sites.
Many decades ago, families didn't stray go far from home as they grew. Now, a very large percentage of people I know have moved far from their hometown. As people are more and more mobile, the Internet is being used to keep families together. It may not be as good as the family dinners, but it is better than nothing.
Do you keep in touch with family online more than you do in real life?
- Rearrange Files: PC Magazine describes how to defrag your hard drive (PC users). This process will take apart files and put them back in order to maximize space on the hard drive (kind of like what I should be doing in my hall closet).
- Back Up, Back Up, Back Up: Thriftyfun.com reminds us to back up important files regularly (before losing that irreplaceable picture of your kids). You don't need to back up programs if you have the original disks, but do back up the files you created. This would include pictures, documents, etc. and put them all on an external hard drive, CD or some other system. This is also a good chance to delete the duplicate files you have and getting rid of the pictures you don't want to keep.
- Dust Off the Computer: This one is also from Thriftyfun.com. I won't tell you how much dust and who knows what I had on my top of the computer tower in my office. I'll just remind you that this is also good to do a couple of times a year. Maybe more.
- Out With the Old: Microsoft lets us know that it is OK to delete that program that you got a few years ago, tried once and never used again. Really - it is OK. Even if you did need it in the future, it has probably been updated so many times it is worth starting from scratch anyway.
- Don't Forget the Kids: SafetyClicks reminds you to review the parental controls you have for your kids. Look through sites the kids request access to, see what they have been doing. Is it time to adjust the limitations now that the kids are getting more mature and their needs are expanding?
- Nothing Replaces You: Again from SafetyClicks. Talk to your kids about how to be a responsible digital citizen and what you expect of them while they are online. Even if they roll their eyes, you can make sure your kids get the message about online safety if you tell them.
Do you have any other Spring cleaning tips for the computer or online safety?