Thursday, December 23, 2010

Why do kids cyberbully each other?

Who knows why kids do anything? When it comes to cyberbullying, they are often motivated by anger, revenge or frustration. Sometimes they do it for entertainment or because they are bored and have too much time on their hands and too many tech toys available to them. Many do it for laughs or to get a reaction. Some do it by accident, and either send a message to the wrong recipient or didn't think before they did something. The Power-hungry do it to torment others and for their ego. Revenge of the Nerd may start out defending themselves from traditional bullying only to find that they enjoy being the tough guy or gal. Mean girls do it to help bolster or remind people of their own social standing. And some think they are righting wrong and standing up for others.

Because their motives differ, the solutions and responses to each type of cyberbullying incident has to differ too. Unfortunately, there is no "one size fits all" when cyberbullying is concerned. Only two of the types of cyberbullies have something in common with the traditional schoolyard bully. Experts who understand schoolyard bullying often misunderstand cyberbullying, thinking it is just another method of bullying. But the motives and the nature of cybercommunications, as well as the demographic and profile of a cyberbully differ from their offline counterpart.

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Our mission is to provide children with a happier, safer childhood. We have created an online anti-cyberbullying service for parents and schools which makes it simple to monitor children’s online activities. Visit

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Don’t Forget That Mom Sees Everything You Do Online

A mother installs monitoring software on her family computer. She uses it less as a monitoring device than as a means to teach her sons about digital safety. The Post-it on the family’s computer reads: “Don’t Forget That Mom Sees Everything You Do Online.” She does not, in fact, check frequently. She just wants her boys to think before they hit the “send” button, so they understand that there is no privacy online, from her, or anyone.
Should parents be monitoring their children’s use of the internet?

Before one can answer that question they need to be aware of the reasons why a parent would do this. There are a number of issues that need to be considered:

1. The Internet is NOT a private place

Everything you do on the Internet is saved in multiple locations, whether it is email, pictures, messaging or videos. Information is logged on your computer, on the receiving servers and the computers of users that access that information. Even when your intention is private, any information, photo or video can very quickly become public.

2. The damage is irreversible
Information on the internet is backed up, copied and archived. Even if you delete the information you originally sent or posted, it can automatically becomes available from other locations on the internet which you don’t have access to delete. Many employers now search on the internet for information on their prospective employees – inappropriate information and pictures posted to the Internet ‘for fun’ can severely impact the perception of that individual in the future.

3. Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying occurs when the internet, email or mobile phones are used to deliberately and repeatedly engage in hostile behaviour to harm someone. Cyberbullying can result in those involved experiencing social, psychological and academic difficulties. There are growing concerns and links between cyberbullying and teen suicides.

4. Sexual Predators and grooming
The anonymity offered by the internet can allow people to cover their true identities. For example, someone who says they are a 12 year-old girl could actually be a 40 year-old man. This anonymity means that sexual solicitation and online grooming can occur online and are serious risks. Sexual solicitation is where someone is asked to engage in a sexual conversation or activity or to send a sexually explicit image or information. Online grooming and procuring of children over the internet is the illegal act of an adult making online contact with a child under the age of consent with the intention of facilitating a sexual relationship.

5. Exposure to inappropriate material
Children using the internet can be exposed to material that is inappropriate or harmful for them. This could be material that is sexually explicit or offensive, violent or encourages activities that are dangerous. Some websites promote extreme political, violent, racist or sexist views. Some sites contain material that is potentially prohibited or illegal.

6. Privacy
Many people do not read the Privacy Statements or Terms and Conditions of Use on internet sites and do not really know how their personal information is going to be used and whether it is being passed to other organizations. Personal information includes name, address, date of birth, phone numbers, email addresses, usernames and passwords, bank details, student identity card details or passport details.

7. The internet can be above the law
If your child is being bullied or sexually targeted on the internet who do you turn to? Your school, the local police, Internet Service Provider, website owner? What if the perpetrator is anonymous, what if the website is offshore, how do you find who is responsible? There has been many example cases where parents do not know where to turn for help.

My personal opinion is that parents from an early age must have visibility and control of their children’s life. You should not stop your children from engaging in new technologies such as the internet but at the same time you should not be giving them complete freedom – just as you don’t do this in their real life. Visibility and control can be relinquished as the child matures and as mutual trust is built.

Since we’ve determined that the Internet is not in fact a ‘Private’ place, perhaps the Post-it note on the computer should read:

Don’t Forget Anyone May See Anything You Do Online

Article by

Our mission is to create a safe environment for children to grow so that the future is a brighter place for everyone. We have created an online service for parents and schools which makes it very easy to monitor children’s online activities. The service is available at

Sunday, November 28, 2010

How To Say No To Peer Pressure Without Feeling Guilty

Hope is a 15-year-old high school student from Stratford, NJ. She loves reading, writing, socializing with friends and her favorite subject is English because she wants to be a writer/editor.

Do you sometimes find yourself being taken advantage of? Do you think of yourself as a pushover? There is only one way to stop people from taking advantage of you. Learn how and when to say no. This sounds like it’s easier said than done, right? Well, it is. I will admit, I used to be a huge pushover and that slowly led me in the wrong direction. I would always say yes to everyone because I wanted to be nice but I was always the person who got in trouble. What helped me off of this path was realizing that my poor choices were making my grades suffer and jeopardizing the trust I had with my parents and teachers. I helped a friend cheat on a test but the teacher saw us, took my test and gave me an F, and gave my “friend” a bad grade, too. That was a huge wake up call because my grade dropped so much. My teacher was so surprised because she knew that I wasn’t the type of person that would cheat. She was right. Below are reasons to say no and how to say it.

1. Never help anyone cheat. Cheating is a big deal no matter what. Why would you risk getting in big trouble for someone else? Here’s a good example. You’re in class, taking a test. Your friends’ desks are near yours and none of them studied because they knew that you would give them the answers like you always do. And, one by one, they ask you for answers to the test. Why should you do? Politely say no. If they say that you’re not being a friend by not giving them the answers, they are obviously using you and are not your friends. Then you won’t feel as bad about saying no. Would you want to get in trouble for people who don’t even like you? But if they are your friends, tell them that you are uncomfortable with helping them cheat and they should understand. Real friends wouldn’t want you to feel uncomfortable or get in trouble.

2. Don’t jeopardize the trust you have between your parents and you. Why would your parents let you go to that party or go to see that awesome new movie with your BFFs if they can’t trust you? So think twice before stealing that small item from the store for your friend or accepting alcoholic drinks or drugs because your friends tell you it’s cool. Just tell them that you are not comfortable with
it. If they are really your friends, they will understand. Better yet, don’t befriend people who believe that having a good time involves doing bad or illegal things. There is absolutely no need to lose your parents’ trust over things that shouldn’t be a part of your life in the first place.

3. Be true to yourself. Remember that, when it comes to stealing, drinking, cheating, doing drugs, etc., what you believe is right is the most important thing. Peer pressure can make people do terrible things, but you just have to fight it. Put your morals and beliefs before everything else and you’ll find the courage to say no. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it in the end.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bullying awareness week

Welcome to Bullying Awareness Week !

Bullying Awareness Week 2009 Media Release

The idea for a Bullying Awareness Week began with Canadian father and educator Bill Belsey. Not not long after he launched the educational Web site on February 16, 2000, he was often asked to make presentations about bullying to media and in schools and communities across Canada and around the world. Through the Web site and his travels, he quickly realized that bullying was an issue that touches all people, directly or indirectly, regardless of their age, gender, culture, religion or nationality. He also dreamed of a world where bullying was no longer seen as a "Normal part of growing up", and that prevention through education and awareness was the key. He realized most people do want to "See something done" about bullying.

Bullying Awareness Week is now spreading to other countries around the world. is the "mother ship" for this movement and will endeavour to share these international initiatives as they develop with resources in other languages as they are produced. Check for updates.

Bullying Awareness Week is an opportunity for people at the grassroots level in communities around the world to get involved in this issue, not by waiting for "Someone else" to do something, but rather for us to work together on preventing bullying in our communities through education and awareness.

Take the theme and make it your own in your community.

Some people think that we shouldn't use the words "bully" or "bullying" out of fear that it will encourage some to engage in this behaviour. Cleary, discussions about bullying need to be put in the broader context of looking at what can be done to promote, develop and support healthy relationships, but you can't have a "Fire Prevention Week" (A very important initiative too) without talking about fire.

Research has shown us that approximately 15% of a given population in a school or workplace are directly involved with bullying, that leaves 85% as potential bystanders or silent majority. This group is the primary focus and target audience for Bullying Awareness Week. The week also has youth as a primary focus, as they are the ones who can "Be the change", and grow up thinking differently about bullying unlike many in previous generations who have attitudes about bullying as a "Rite of passage" or even that "Being bullied is good for you, it toughens you up."

The vision behind Bullying Awareness Week:

* Bullying Awareness Week is about working at preventing bullying through education and awareness

* Bullying Awareness Week is NOT about what others could or should be doing, but rather what WE can do!

* Bullying is a community issue. Schools are a critically important part of the solution, but bullying should not be defined solely as a "school problem".

* Addressing bullying is best done with a wholistic, community approach because bullying is a community health and wellness issue.

* Everyone can play a role in addressing bullying in their community.

* Bullying also needs to be understood as a health issue. The impact of bullying on personal health and wellness can last a lifetime. This also financial implications for our society with lessened productivity, lost manhours due to illness or personal days off work.

* Bullying is a serious issue, at it's worst, bullying can kill.

Regardless of the activities you choose to participate in at the local level, these are the key messages that every Bullying Awareness Week wll focus on:

* Bullying is wrong and harmful

* Bullying is a relationship problem (Bullying cannot be addressed with "simple" solutions. Bullying requires relationship strategies that encourage respect and empathy for others)

* Bullying is a community issue, we all need to play a part in addressing it (Get your community involved with Bullying Awareness Week plans and activities)

* Youth involvement and leadership is very important

* Challenging and supporting potential bystanders or "silent majority" to not accept bullying behaviours as a behavioural norm

* Everyone has the right to be respected and the responsibility to respect others, in person and online!

We may never completely eliminate bullying from society, but it is a fight worth fighting. In recent years we have seen major positive changes in societal attitudes and actions with respect to things like smoking, drinking and driving and recycling, these are all behaviours and they are beginning to change for the better. Bullying is also a behaviour, and as an issue it is today where these other issues were years ago before the public embraced the notion of change. Bullying Awareness Week is all about an invitation for you and your community to "Be the change!"

Please remember these quotes to help guide the efforts in your community:

"Be the change you want to see in the world." -Mahatma Gandhi

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, determined citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead.

If you share this vision, thank you! Together we can begin to move the mountain! -BB

Note: Bullying Awareness Week is a joint declaration of and Family Channel, a national children, youth and family television network. Since its inception in November 2003, Bullying Awareness Week has grown in support and is increasingly recognized by schools, individuals, organizations and communities as a time to celebrate and promote solutions to the problems of bullying.

Article Source:

Nude photos and cruel messages, teen digital dating abuse grows

(CNN) -- There were no scars, no bruises to indicate the abuse Allyson Pereira, a 16-year-old high school sophomore in New Jersey, had suffered.

Her emotional pain was caused by her high school boyfriend, who blitzed her with cruel comments via instant messages, e-mails and MySpace, calling her ugly and accusing her of cheating.

Then, he dumped her. A month later, he changed his mind.

She said he gave her an offer: Text him a naked picture of herself, and he would get back together with her.

Pereira, now 21, regrets sending her boyfriend the topless picture that was subsequently forwarded to other students in her high school. She never expected the image would be spread like wildfire.

"I was so ashamed, embarrassed and mad," she said. "Someone actually came to me and said 'You're Ally. Is that you?' "

The boyfriend never got back with her. She was left feeling betrayed and abused.

Pereira, who was featured in the MTV anti-digital dating abuse campaign, "A Thin Line," in December, has been speaking out against the growing problem of digital dating abuse among teens. In the MTV documentary, Pereira's parents and friends also warned about the consequences of sexting photos like the one that caused Pereira such pain.

A new study released this week finds more youths are using their tech gadgets and social media to abuse each other in romantic relationships. One in 10 teens reported they received a threatening cell phone message from their romantic partner, according to new results from the Cyberbullying Research Center, a research group dedicated to tracking bullying behaviors online among youth.

Abusive teens may also exert their control by preventing their partners from using technology, experts say. About 10 percent of teens interviewed say a romantic partner stopped them from using a computer or cell phone.

The study examined 4,400 responses from 11- to 18-year-old students in one school district in the southern U.S. The study's authors say this is one of the first attempts to quantify how often digital dating abuse is occurring among teens.

"It may be checking her text and pictures to make sure she's not texting with any other boys," explains Sameer Hinduja, co-founder of the Cyberbullying Research Center and associate professor of criminology at Florida Atlantic University. "He wants to make sure the pictures are appropriate. It's the coercion and control that borders on real-world violence."

And sometimes, the abuse involves the exchange of racy photos, a practice called sexting. In fact, this study showed that boys are more likely to be victims: about 5 percent of boys and 3 percent of girls had a romantic partner upload or share a humiliating photograph online.

Kevin Jennings, assistant deputy secretary of education for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, says digital dating abuse is becoming a more frequent problem among teens. The 24/7 technology enables the abusive partner to stalk the other person after school and on weekends, he said.

Jennings said social networking, which can connect hundreds and thousands of students, gives the abusive partner more leverage. With access to so many friends online, the abuser can post a damaging message online about their significant other or make threats to do so.

"It's the phenomenon of no place to run and no place to hide," Jennings says. "Now, you can be stalked electronically. You can't even see your predator coming."

Jill Murray, a psychotherapist in California who has worked with victims of teen dating abuse, says almost all her new cases in the past three years involve technology. In some instances, the victims, usually teenage girls, receive as many as 40 texts a day with negative messages from their partner.

"She is required to keep her cell phone on all day, all night and be receptive," Murray explains.

The abuse online and through cell phones can sometimes turn into physical violence, she warned.

Since digital abuse does not leave physical marks on their children, parents may be clueless about the abuse. Kids are also afraid to report the abuse to their parents because they may believe the abuse is not that big a deal, or they fear losing cell phone and laptop privileges, experts say.

The humiliation can be lasting for a teenager, said Parry Aftab, founder of the internet bullying advocacy group, Wired Safety. She has heard of cases where the abusive partner may take the partner's password to check up on him or her routinely.

Other times, the abuser may violate their partner's privacy by breaking into their e-mail or checking their phone. The abusive teens may also monitor their partners' behaviors on social media sites such as Facebook and MySpace.

To combat digital dating abuse, several organizations have launched campaigns to educate teenage girls and boys about the damaging consequences of digital dating abuse. The Family Violence Prevention Fund is working with the Department of Justice to release a series of public service announcements in their "That's Not Cool" campaign, which encourages teens to be more watchful of their digital relationship behavior.

Liz Claiborne Inc., a major women's clothing company, is addressing digital dating abuse. Teens can call in for help at the hot line and web site "Love is Respect.."

Allyson Pereira also continues raising awareness about digital dating abuse. She recently graduated from community college with a degree in elementary education. Therapy and time has helped her move past the digital abuse she endured.

One afternoon, she offered some advice on what teens should do if they are victims of digital dating violence.

"Tell somebody they trust and try to get help because you can't go through it yourself," she said. "It's too much of a burden to carry."

Article source:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Risky Online Behavior

A Closer Look:Who’s At Risk?

With the advent of social networking sites and detailed chat profiles, predators don’t need to work very hard to piece together information about a child online. Predators can judge by the appearance of a profile or by the behavior that a child is exhibiting whether he or she might be a prime target for an online relationship.

Teens who don’t use privacy settings on social networking and gaming sites often place their information—including their deepest desires, likes and dislikes, real-time moods, pictures, addresses, and phone numbers—for anyone to see. Teens who post personal information, blog, or journal about sensitive issues may also be easy targets for predators who seek to isolate children from their parents and friends and exploit a child’s emotional vulnerabilities.

Risky Online Behaviors

The more risky behaviors kids engage in online, the more likely they will receive an online sexual solicitation. These risky behaviors include:1

1. Posting personal information (50%*)
2. Interacting with online strangers (45%)
3. Placing strangers on buddy lists (35%)
4. Sending personal information to strangers (26%)
5. Visiting X-rated sites (13%)
6. Talking about sex with strangers (5%)

* Percentage of teens demonstrating indicated behavior.

(1) "Internet Prevention Messages: Targeting the Right Online Behaviors", 2007.

Some teens think it is fun to flirt with online strangers, seek “hookups” with other teens and adults, and discuss and share images of their sexual exploits publicly. Those who use sexually inviting usernames, discuss sex online, and arrange to meet for sex place themselves at great risk. Also in danger of becoming targets are teens who are exploring sexual issues online—including sexual orientation—and those interested in meeting strangers online.

Teens who don’t tell their parents when they meet someone or see something that makes them uncomfortable online are also at risk. Some experts suggest that these are vulnerable and at-risk teens to begin with, and are most likely to come from families where the parents are not sufficiently involved with their children.

Also pls visit the above link and view the video. parental control helps parents to identify risky behavior and intervene early before the child can get hurt.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pornography is Not Just for Boys

Here is an article from Cris Ciapp Logan for Enough is Enough.

Last fall, I was speaking in the mountains of Virginia to a group of women about our work at Enough Is Enough to protect children and families from Internet dangers. One of the issues we focused on was kids’ and adults’ free and easy access to Internet pornography. Many of the women present wanted advice about how to protect their children; another large group wanted to know how to better support and protect their husbands from addiction; still another, smaller group wanted to talk about their personal struggles with Internet pornography.

This week, an article in the Washington Times highlighted that more women are being lured into pornography addiction than ever before. The study Generation XXX: Pornography Acceptance and Use Among Emerging Adults (18-26) found that roughly two-thirds (67%) of young men and one half (49%) of young women agree that viewing pornography is acceptable; nearly nine out of ten (87%) of young men and nearly one-third (31%) of young women reported using pornography. This is the first generation to grow up with a steady diet of Internet pornography; what will the numbers be like for the next generation?

Pre-adolescents and adolescents have always taken risks and experimented with new identities—it’s something that’s natural to our growing and learning process. As they try on new social identities, they are especially susceptible to the messages that society conveys to them about what is normal and appropriate. In our culture today, female sexuality has become a spectacle, a performance for mass voyeurism, as Dr. Gigi Durham writes in her book The Lolita Effect. As a report out by Dr. Linda Papadopoulos highlights that there is strong evidence to show that children learn from what they see and internalize those messages to create their own set of rules and codes of behavior.

As author and licensed marriage and family therapist Marnie Feree highlights, advances in neuroscience indicate that our media-driven culture is literally altering the human brain—and not just men’s. Today’s young women seem equally visually oriented, and it should be no surprise that females are drawn to pornography. Our adolescents and pre-adolescents are immersed in a hyper-sexualized culture where pornography is ambient. Is it any wonder that teens are experimenting in ways influenced by pornography? A study out of Australia found that one out of five girls deliberately accessed pornography online and then engaged in oral, anal or group sex.

Author of “Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality”, Gail Dines, wrote in this week's New York Post about how pornography is warping a generation of men. But to mention only men is to stop short of the reality that pornography is warping a new, young generation of women as well. When I first talked with college-aged women struggling with pornography use and addiction, they told me that the content they most often used was more sensual; today, younger and younger women that I meet have found themselves using pornography that includes graphic sex, sexual violence, group sex and the like (much of which could be prosecuted as obscenity). Whereas boys may directly seek out Internet pornography, some of the girls I have spoken with gained their first experience via Instant Messaging, video chat, chat rooms, or through sex-themed online social networking sites and communities.

If you just watch pop-superstar Lady GaGa’s latest video, Alejandro, (which contains scenes that look like they could be stills taken from a pornography video featuring group sex), or consider the content in an average episode of Gossip Girl or new MTV hit, Hard Times of R.J. Berger (about a high-schooler with especially large male genitalia), it’s not hard to see our kids are steeped images, videos and shows that would have once been considered soft-core pornography. I should also mention that your child doesn’t need access to a TV to watch these shows or videos—they can stream directly to your child’s laptop, iPod touch, mobile phone, etc.

When we filmed our Internet Safety 101 video series, girls shared that they watched pornography in groups, and that they were so desensitized that they found themselves actually laughing at pornographic videos laced with extreme sexual violence and voyeuristic sex. Some girls gain entry into pornography through instant messaging, chat rooms, or video chat functions and live video sex. The point is that this issue should not be dismissed as moral panic.

At Enough Is Enough, we say that no child is immune to Internet dangers. With Internet pornography, that includes your young daughter, your sister and your wife.

Information about protecting your children from Internet pornography is available on our site. We also have a comprehensive list of filtering and monitoring software that we strongly recommend using to prevent access to pornography and other objectionable content. For more resources about what to do if you or your child encounters pornography, along with resources for those struggling with addiction, see our resources section.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

8snaps -Introducing the worlds simplest parental control software

Welcome to the 8Snaps blog. Firstly let me introduce 8snaps.

8snaps was an idea born when a number of parents came together after viewing an episode of Dateline NBCs "To Catch A Predator" with Chris Hansen and decided that enough is enough.

Raising children has to be one of the most fulfilling parts of life. Protecting your children from the dangers in the environment around them is an important duty of the parent, however, with the emergence of new technologies many parents, even technically savvy ones, are not aware of the dangers in this new 'technological environment' and subsequently helpless when it comes to fulfilling their duty of online protection for their child.

Whats more, most parents are not aware that their child's online life effects and can come into contact with their real 'offline' life.

8snaps mission is to create a safe environment for children to grow so that the future is a brighter place for everyone. We will achieve this by raising the awareness to all parents and by offering the tools and services for parents to feel comfortable that they are meeting their duty.

We believe the first steps that need to be taken are:
1. Increase Awareness
2. Gain Visibility into childs online life

We aim to achieve these first two steps by launching our website and offering a number of resources and tools. First off will be the 8snaps visibility service which is an easy-to-use service allowing parents to view screen pictures of their childs computer and know exactly what they are looking at and who they are talking to. This allows parents to become aware of any issues early and hopefully deal with them before they escalate to dangerous levels.

By creating an account on, you as a parent, will be able to keep tabs on your childs online activities. Also we encourage you to spread the word to all your friends. This way, together we can make the important first two steps of Increasing Awareness and Gaining Visibility.