Archive for November, 2010

Introduction

Posted in Uncategorized on November 30, 2010 by jessleemeyer

Hello Everyone,
We wrote our blog on the dangers of the digital world because let’s face it, with huge advancements in technology, crimes that exist in the physical world have definitely been reflected in the digital world, but this time with less regulation policies at hand. With the ability to hide identities and distort the truth, it’s no wonder why issues such as sexting, fraud, identity theft, and the dangers of online communities have been brought to light within recent years. Our mission is to inform the public of just how serious these issues are, how it has effected our communities, and what we can do to make a difference, to change these problems that effect everyone who uses digital media.

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Cyber Bullying: A Social Epidemic By Jessica Meyer

Posted in Uncategorized on November 25, 2010 by jessleemeyer

 Bio:

My name is Jessica Meyer. I am a Communications major with a concentration in Public Administration and Mass Communications. I have one more year left, and then I plan on graduating from CSUSB. I work in the Records office where I help students register for classes and process records. I enjoy learning about the world around me and studying different ways of life. When I graduate I plan on working in medical public relations in order to better patient care in hospitals.

 

     

 Cyber bullying affects everyone, and with crimes being committed all over the internet, it is no wonder why this has become such a stressed topic of discussion. There are billions of websites that circulate throughout the world. Some allow us to access knowledge with the touch of a key to better our society, while others threaten to destroy it. One act against mankind that exists through cyber bullying is hate crimes. Some argue that it is free speech, and with so much ground to cover, regulating cites that promote the obliteration of others proposes itself as a national issue. Neo-Nazi websites exist globally, putting others down using violent word usage and sometimes horrific videos showing the injustices being done to victims of these hate crimes. In Russia, a 24 year old student came forward in 2007 to say that he had posted violent videos of Neo-Nazi crimes and had distributed materials online supporting hate crimes against others. It doesn’t just happen in Europe, hate crimes exist in our own backyard. To learn more about the investigations of hate crimes on the internet visit: http://www.partnersagainsthate.org/publications/investigating_hc.pdf

Cyber bullying has even cost those their lives due to the unbearable ridicule that victims have suffered from these vicious online attacks. Just recently, 15 year old Phoebe Prince committed suicide in January of this year after being humiliated at her high school in South Hadley, Massachusetts. According to reports, she had sexual relations with a boy at school, and this got around at the high school. Other girls began to taunt Phoebe throwing bottles at her, and calling her names in the hallway such as “slut” and “whore”.The bullying became so difficult for Phoebe to tolerate, that she hung herself. She was mocked even after her death on a facebook account which ultimately led to the arrest of nine high school students. What makes this case worse is that school officials were notified of the harassment that went on, but nothing was done until it was too late.

A recent incident involving webcam and internet broadcasting opened the eyes of many Americans when Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University, jumped off the George Washington Bridge in September, after being videotaped having sex with another man by his roommate using a webcam. One incident was filmed live while another was posted throughout the internet. Clementi couldn’t face the humiliation that came from the video or explaining his sexual orientation to his family. Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei (classmates of Clementi) are being tried for invasion of privacy and distributing nudity which, if held to the maximum sentence, will cost them five years in prison. Five years for one life hardly seems just for destroying the life of a talented musician.

Even though there are cases where school systems have failed, there are organizations working diligently to put an end to cyber bullying. StopCyberBullying.org discusses preventions and ways to discuss this important issue with children, parents, adults, and school administrators. There is no one way to get rid of cyber bullying because every case is an individual situation, but being aware of how to protect yourself and loved ones is key. Prevention websites talk about only allowing children to visit trusted cites, and to monitor what it is they are getting into on the internet. It is also important to stress in schools how to treat others, what behavior is ok, and what behavior is unacceptable at an early age.

Research is continuously being developed to aid in cyber bullying prevention. One Stanford University student, Debbie Heimowitz, created a film to teach 9-15 year olds the damages of cyber bullying using real life scenarios. The film, “Adina’s Deck”, shows how harassment can exist at school, and how students can act to remove bullying from school systems. The hometown of Megan Meier has used the film to reportedly fix their issues that have existed since Megan’s death.

I-Safe.org did a survey in 2004 showing that 42% of children online have been victims to cyber bullying, 35% have been threatened online, and 58% admitted to hurtful things being said about them or to them online. This kind of research has been used to open the eyes of the public as to just how serious this issue truly is.

As far regulation, the law should be able to protect those that feel they are experiencing psychological distress, harm, or fear of endangerment. In 2007, seven states in the U.S. passed laws against digital harrassment. In 2009, California legislature put into effect the  Assembly Bill 86 2008 giving school administrators the power to reprimand students for harrassing other students offline or online.Lawmakers are trying to solve cyber-bullying with new legislation but there aren’t any specific laws on the matter.

It is not ok for others to single out individuals making them feel unsafe in the real world let alone on the internet which was initially designed to connect one another not increase the crime that exists globally.Changing society is the next step in fixing the cyber bullying epidemic. Where websites that allow bullying or jokes to appear as seemingly innocent, like those dedicated to making fun of celebrities, society makes it ok to make fun of each other. A great example is Perez Hilton’s website created to poke fun at multiple stars. Celebrity photos are marked on, and hurtful comments flood the website to get a few laughs out of viewers.

      Before we can change the internet and get rid of cyber bullying, we must get rid of bullying in our society. We must make it aware to the public that it is not ok to treat others poorly, and realize that what may sometimes seem innocent, could destroy lives.

 For additional information please visit:

Tips on Cyber Bullying prevention

http://www.ncpc.org/cyberbullying

 Cyber Bullying Stories

http://www.netsmartz.org/resources/reallife.htm

 Cyber Bullying Statistics 2010

http://www.cyberbullying.us/

Identity Theft: How to Not Become A Victim By: Lauren Walker

Posted in Uncategorized on November 24, 2010 by laurenwalker27

Bio: Hi, my name is Lauren Walker. I am a Communications major with concentrations in Mass Communications and Public Relations. After completing my undergraduate, I plan on going to graduate school for my MBA. With my degrees, I hope to become a Broadcast Journalist or work in public relations in the entertainment and media industries. Currently, I am in intern for a public relations firm producing events as well as working part-time for Abercrombie and Fitch. When I’m not working or going to school, I love being surrounded by close family and friends and enjoying all that life has to offer.

Identity Theft is something that no one wants to be the victim of, yet 11.1 million adults were victims of identity theft in 2009. With so many users online, the ease and accessibility of information is becoming very convenient for hackers.

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal identifying information, like your name, Social Security number, or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. (FTC)

The Federal Trade Commission estimates that as many as “9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. In fact, you or someone you know may have experienced some form of identity theft. 
The crime takes many forms. Identity thieves may rent an apartment, obtain a credit card, or establish a telephone account in your name. You may not find out about the theft until you review your credit report or a credit card statement and notice charges you didn’t make or until a debt collector contacts you.”

According to Henry Bagdasarian, an identity theft consultant, “Young identity theft victims between the ages of 20 and 29 were reported by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to account for most of the identity theft complaints in 2009 in which more than 11 million people were reported as being identity theft victims.”

Young people are more vulnerable because they spend a lot more time online, are less cautious, and share more information often. As suggested by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, “many college students share housing such as apartments and dorm rooms, which might be a cause for excessive sharing of personal information.” Potential young identity theft victims may leave their personal belongings unsecured for their roommates and their visitors to see or they might share personal information on the phone and online which might be overheard or disclosed. (Bagdasarian)

The Federal Trade Commission states that “Identity theft starts with the misuse of your personally identifying information such as your name and Social Security number, credit card numbers, or other financial account information. For identity thieves, this information is as good as gold. 
Skilled identity thieves may use a variety of methods to get hold of your information, including: Dumpster Diving, they rummage through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it. Skimming, they steal credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card. Phishing, they pretend to be financial institutions or companies and send spam or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information. Changing Your Address, they divert your billing statements to another location by completing a change of address form. Old-Fashioned Stealing, they steal wallets and purses; mail, including bank and credit card statements; pre-approved credit offers; and new checks or tax information. They will also steal personnel records, or bribe employees who have access.”

Identity theft is serious. While some identity theft victims can resolve their problems quickly, others spend hundreds of dollars and many days repairing damage to their good name and credit record. Some consumers victimized by identity theft may lose out on job opportunities, or be denied loans for education, housing or cars because of negative information on their credit reports. (FTC)

If your identity is in fact stolen, you should file a police report, notify creditors, check your credit reports and dispute any unauthorized transactions. In order to ensure your safety and protection, you should take precautions that will ensure your identity is protected. Monitoring your bank accounts and statements regularly can help decrease any damage caused by thieves. Ordering your credit reports often can allow you to monitor any suspicious activity on your credit card.

It’s difficult to predict how long the effects of identity theft may linger. That’s because it depends on many factors including the type of theft, whether the thief sold or passed your information on to other thieves, whether the thief is caught, and problems related to correcting your credit report. Victims of identity theft should monitor financial records for several months after they discover the crime. Victims should review their credit reports once every three months in the first year of the theft, and once a year thereafter. Stay alert for other signs of identity theft. Don’t delay in correcting your records and contacting all companies that opened fraudulent accounts. The longer the inaccurate information goes uncorrected, the longer it will take to resolve the problem. (FTC)

“Awareness is an effective weapon against many forms identity theft. Be aware of how information is stolen and what you can do to protect yours, monitor your personal information to uncover any problems quickly, and know what to do when you suspect your identity has been stolen. Armed with the knowledge of how to protect yourself and take action, you can make identity thieves’ jobs much more difficult. You can also help fight identity theft by educating your friends, family, and members of your community.” (FTC)

To learn more about Identity Theft, check out these links:

http://www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/websites/idtheft.html

http://www.idtheftcenter.org

Sexting: A Growing Heinous Phenomenon: By Carly Nicola

Posted in Uncategorized on November 24, 2010 by carlynicola


Bio:

 Hello, I’m Carly Nicola. I’m majoring in Communications, with a concentration in Mass. I am HOPING later to do something with broadcast or radio!  The majority of my days are spent at work or school. I work full time at Jamba Juice as a Shift Manager.  In my spare time I like to hang out with my friends and family. I LOVE my animals,  some good tunes, going out, baseball.. go YANKEES, & just having a good time.  🙂

Sexting is a result of advances in technology enabling new forms of social interaction. Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages, photographs or videos through some form of technology in digital media, mainly involving cell phones and internet. Anyone can participate in the act of sexting, but it has become typically common among many teenagers and young adults. The new forms of technology that we use have a big risk on the people who are using the digital media irresponsibly. With all these new forms of technology, it enables us to send photographs and videos more easily and more often. Sexting has become so common among teenagers, that they are partaking in this activity as a social thing; however the social danger with sexting is that the messages can so very easily be spread and it will be completely out of the sender’s control. Interestingly, 22% of teens admit that technology makes them personally more forward and aggressive (CosmoGirl and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 2009.)

Many teenagers aren’t aware that sending or receiving explicit photographs to their peers is actually illegal and is correlated with child pornography. Sexting can result in very legal repercussions. Sexting is becoming more and more dangerous and it is not uncommon for teenagers to be charged with the distribution of child pornography or the possession of child pornography. The United States especially has such strict anti-child pornography laws, which is of course good; however many teenagers and young adults aren’t aware that they can be charged for these acts. Some people are even charged as sex offenders, and will have to live their whole lives with that title.

This week, CBS News discussed sexting because of a recent incident that happened. There were three teenage girls who sent nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves through their cell phones to three other male classmates. Shockingly to the teenagers, they are all being charged with distribution or possession of child pornography. This is a very serious case, and likely, the girls and guys involved in it, were not even thinking that it could possibly lead to this. For more information on this case check this link out: HS teens – Child pornography
Or watch this video

Statistics show that 1 in 5 teens are sexting, so this is a big concern for the future generation. According to psychologist Susan Lipkins here are some of the reasons people sext: It may be a new type of “mating call,” another way of gossiping, a way to have fun or be funny, a way to improve social status and sexting may be malicious, a form of sexual harassment. For more information from Lipkins, please visit her website here: Lipkins

Here is a video to check out that broadcasted by CBS News. Child and adolescent psychologist, Susan Lipkins, discusses teen’s sexting and the social aspect of it.

A study was done by the The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy Association and Cosmogirl. The survey specifically sought to better understand the interaction between sex and cyberspace, with respect to attitudes and behavior. The survey also wanted to see the role that technology plays in regards to explicit content. The survey involved teens and young adults in relation to their exploration in their electronic activity. More specifically the participants ranged from ages 13-26, half boys and half girls, making a total of 1,280 participants. Teens were classified under the age group of 13-19 and young adults were classified as 20-26 years old. The survey targeted questions regarding the following topics:  sending and receiving sexual messages, sending messages or nude/semi-nude pictures/video of oneself, sharing those messages with other people whom it wasn’t originally meant for, personal experience, feelings and emotions after viewing the messages, concerns or remorse after sending or sharing messages, relationships and peer pressure. A few of the results from the survey were as follows:

20 % of teens say they have sent/posted nude or seminude pictures or video of themselves.

39% of all teens, are sending or posting sexually suggestive messages.

59% of young adults are sending or posting sexually suggestive messages.

64% of young adults say they have received such messages.

71% of teen girls and 67% of teen guys who have sent or posted sexually suggestive content say they have sent/posted this content to a boyfriend/girlfriend.

21% of teen girls and 39% of teen boys say they have sent such content to someone they wanted to date or hook up with.

15% of teens who have sent or posted nude/seminude images of themselves say they have done so to someone they only knew online.

83% of young adult women and 75% of young adult men who have sent sexually suggestive content say they have sent/posted such material to a boyfriend/girlfriend.

21% of young adult women and 30% of young adult men who have sent/posted sexually suggestive content have done so to someone they wanted to date or hook up with.

15% of young adult women and 23% of young adult men who have sent sexually suggestive material say they have done so to someone they only knew online.

Of course there were many other questions addressed by this research but that gives the general idea of teens and young adults involved in sending or posting these explicit messages. Here is a link to show the article more in depth.  The National Campaign

Sexting is very dangerous, and can come back to harm or haunt the victim in the future. Think about it, the person could be affected later with career opportunities, family and friends, significant other, etc. One horrific story involving sexting, turned into a tragedy for 18-year-old Jesse Logan her took her own life after a nude picture of her was passed around by e-mail.

Jesse Logan

Logan sent her former boyfriend a nude picture of herself through her cell phone, and a year later after they broke up he forwarded the picture to his friends, who then forwarded it to others. Logan was taunted from her picture being passed around and could not take the abuse and attacks that she was receiving, and ultimately committed suicide. For more information on this story please visit this link: Teen commits sucicide

Many people, especially teenagers don’t realize how big of a deal that sexting is or simply using electronic media to send something explicit. Teenagers are often unable to recognize long term consequences. There are lots of things to think about before sending explicit messages to others. Don’t forget that when you send something digitally to someone else, it’s theirs to keep afterwards and do whatever they want with it, because you can never take that back, once the message is sent you cannot un-send it. There is also no changing your mind in cyberspace, anything you send or post, in all reality will never truly go away. Also, don’t forget the laws of our country, and the consequences of committing the crimes according to the law.  In all reality, don’t assume anything you send is going to remain private because it’s likely that at one time or another messages will get shared or sent to someone else. Let’s face it sexting is a very risky, and dangerous activity to be involved in.

Schools and parents need to get more involved and help these teenagers realize how big of a deal sexting is and the consequences of participating in this activity. This is a growing concern, and we need to cause awareness of this heinous  activity. For more information and tips for parents on teaching/guiding their children visit the following link: guide for parents

Additional links and sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexting
More info on sexting

Statistics
Sexting- Statistics

More tips and ideas to prevent sexting:
tips to prevent sexting

The Dangers Lurking on the Online Community of Craigslist: By Jade Dreyer

Posted in Uncategorized on November 24, 2010 by The Dark Side of New Media

Bio:

Jade Dreyer

Hi everyone my name is Jade Dreyer, and I’m a Marketing major minoring in Communication Studies. With my degree I hope to have a successful career involving Public Relations in any realm of media television, music, radio etc. I’m known for being outspoken and love being with family and friends. You can check out more about me on my Facebook or Twitter jadedreyer@live.com.

The online community of Craigslist is primarily used for free online classified advertisements, with postings about current jobs in your local city, items for sale, discussion forums, and many more. Here is the actual website of craigslist of all California regions Craigslist. Although there are many beneficial resources on the popular online community, it does have its dangers that may not be so obvious. There have been many controversial issues that have raised overwhelming concerns regarding the safety and privacy that can be violated on this website.

Craigslist Killer

The now removed erotic services section is one of the many dangers of users safety. To review even more information on the closure of the erotic services section on Craigslist check out this article “Craigslist Gives In, Will Shut Down Erotic Services Section”.  After many issues concerning online prostitution rings and the infamous “Craigslist Killer” the erotic services was placed under harsh scrutiny.  The “Craigslist Killer” is a perfect example of digital media like Craigslist, allowing perpetrators to take advantage of the shortcomings of the openness of the Internet. The “Craigslist Killer” who was known as Phillp Markoff, a successful medical student in Boston Massachusetts, who acquired his infamous name by responding to erotic service advertisements on Craigslist, and then murdered one woman and robbed another. To learn more about the “Craigslist Killer” read this Fox News article Craigslist Killer Fox News .  The brutal murder of an innocent woman is a clear depiction of how online services can lead too much more than simple interaction online. When woman or anyone else place ads on websites such as Craigslist they are setting themselves up for potential danger.

With issues coming to head such as the “Craigslist Killer” research is being done to see what means need to be taken to protect Internet users. Self-regulation of the Internet being one of the ways to try to govern the unfavorable material that is being displayed online.  There are options like “the self-regulation software that is available that will block more than a certain percentage of skin or filter material that is deemed to have ‘suspect’ content.”(O’brien, 153) The scholarly article that discusses in full detail the dangers of the Internet and the precautions that need to be taken can be found here: Clear and Present Danger? Law and Regulation of the Internet . Concerns of people right’s under the first amendment come to be an issue because everyone has the right to free speech, so companies are not to eager to try these new techniques such as self-regulation because of fears of lawsuits. There has also been many recent cases pending against the website Craigslist concerning sex trading and trafficking of young women and children one case can be seen in this article Craigslist Embroiled in Sex Trafficking Scandal. With society changing everyday with new digital media with websites like Craigslist, there will have to be actions taken to facilitate the ever-evolving technological world. The “Rebecca Project for Human Rights” is working on changing many of these issues online regarding specifically the protection of children and women being used in sex trades from the websites such as Craigslist. To learn more regarding the issues of Human Rights please watch the informative video below or visit the website to read about aritlces and issues they are confronting at The Rebecca Project for Human Rights.

Here is a video on the “Craigslist Adult Services Takedown”

Another recent case that has come against the website Craigslist, the privacy and protection of Craigslist users, has been the rape victim who told her horror story of Craigslist. With more than 50 million Americans who visit Craigslist every month, it is not surprising that some of those people use the websites tools for the wrong reasons. A woman made her case heard on September 23, 2010 when she discussed on the Oprah Winfrey show, how the website aided in her being horribly raped.  The woman had found pictures of herself in a classified advertisement that stated, “Need an aggressive man with no concern or

The men convicted of aiding and raping the woman from posts on Craigslist

regard for women. If interested contact Sarah.” After seeing this disturbing advertisement she notified the police, yet they told her to deal directly with Craigslist, but it was too late. Shortly after discovering the post she was raped by a 26-year-old married father of two, the man was sentenced to 60 years in prison. It was later reveled that her ex-boyfriend had posted the advertisement and he was sentenced to the same amount of time as the rapist. The information posted here can be found on the Oprah website at Craigslist-Rape-Victim. In today’s technological era people can be subjected to hate crimes, sexual assault, fraud, identity theft… without even any knowledge of what has been said or done to them online. Just as the rape victim of Craigslist, what is placed publicly on the Internet without your knowledge or even with is shown to have horrible repercussions.

With the new easier ways of gaining private information from social networking users, sexual predators are taking advantage of the weakness of the naïve. Although the article “Stranger Danger and the Online Social Network“ discusses primarily Facebook and Myspace it still makes a valid point regarding the prevalence of sexual predators on social networking sites such as Craigslist. “More than fifty-five percent of all American teenagers use and post profiles on these services. The high number and high concentration of minors on both MySpace and Facebook, as one researcher describes, creates “target-rich environment[s]” for online sexual predators. While a recent survey reveals that the majority of teens restrict their profiles to only their friends, a sizable forty percent allows anyone to view their information. As a result, many teens remain contactable by strangers. Sexual predators have taken notice of this circumstance and have begun attempting to infiltrate social networking communities.” (Guo, 617) Stranger Danger and The Online Social Network. With this valuable information online communities such as Craigslist and the users, can take into consideration that when posting private information, you don’t know what person will read it and possibly take advantage of you.

The horror stories of Craigslist and many other social networking sites are endless, but the action of the users can put a stop to the perpetuating vicious cycle of the negative outcomes of privacy being exploited online. Here are some things that are said to help you stay safe on Craigslist “Create a separate email account, research, use the buddy system, meet in public, protect your personal information, and trust your instincts. To learn more on how to stay safe on Craigslist please check out this website How to Stay Safe While Using Craigslist . Also exsiting in the world of Craigslist, are people getting scammed by internet fraud and identity theft. There are ways to protect yourself on Craigslist including using the website the “Better Business Bureau” to make sure the business you are dealing with on Craigslist is a legitimate business. To learn more on how to protect yourself on Craigslist watch this video:

Guo, Richard M. “STRANGER DANGER AND THE ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORK.” Berkeley Technology Law Journal 23.1 (2008): 617-644. Communication & Mass Media Complete. EBSCO. Web. 22 Nov. 2010.

O’Brien, Mark. “Clear and Present Danger? Law and the Regulation of the Internet.” Information & Communications Technology Law 14.2 (2005): 151-164. Communication & Mass Media Complete. EBSCO. Web. 22 Nov. 2010.