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Friday, April 22, 2011

Twitter

So I was reflecting a little bit about Twitter this past semester. At the beginning of semester I did not get Twitter at all. I thought it was a way for people to update on their every move. "I'm at lunch!" "I'm at line in Starbucks" "I"m eating a ham sandwich". I just never understood it.

After using it this semester, I must say, I really enjoy it!! I have had the opportunity to meet people I wouldn't have otherwise. Some in other states, and even other countries. It's been super cool meeting new people.

Some times I felt that it was hard to know what to tweet. But I think I learned, over the course of the semester, how to be a good Tweeter. :)

I have enjoyed this and will continue to stay on Twitter. Thank you Dr. V, for making us use it!!!

Article Review #5

For my fifth and final article analysis, I chose, "Safety in Cyberspace: Adolescents' Safety and Exposure Online" by Fleming, Greentree, Cocotti-Muller, Elias and Morrison. It was in the Youth and Society journal, Volume 38, Number 2, pages 135-154, Published December 2006.

ADOLESCENTS' SAFETY IN CYBERSPACE
Researchers are estimating that not only are youth online at a higher rate than ever, but they have a stronger presence than adults. Youth have access to the Internet at home and at school. It has been estimated that 21 million youth in the US, between the age of 12 and 17, use the Internet. That makes up approximately 87% of that age bracket. Estimates are the same for the same age bracket in Australia. Youth use the Internet for email, chatting, homework, games, music, sports, entertainment, hobbies, health information, and shopping. With youth using the Internet so much, comes a lot of concerns about dangers and their safety. Sexual predators often lurk online and groom potential victims by exposing them to pornography and sexual violence. As well, this exposure can greatly affect the child's development. Suggestions on how to protect youth include: discussion by parents, parental participation, increase of filters, and community education.

PARENTAL SAFETY DISCUSSION AND CONTROL OF INTERNET USE
Parents often regard their kids as the household "computer guru" (Kiesler, Zdaniuk, Lundmark and Kraut, 2000). Because youth know so much, parents often allow for their children to spend extended hours online, often spending more time on the computer now-a-days, than in front of the TV (Kiesler, Zdaniuk, Lundmark and Kraut, 2000). This has lead to implications in regards to parental control over the youth's Internet usage and children's attitudes (feeling they need to be online all the time, engaging in more risky behavior, etc).

With the high rates of online crimes, it is surprising that one study conducted by Turow and Nir in 2000, found that 60% of parents felt that people worry too much about the possibility of their child being victimized through online crimes. Some parents have stated that they have had the conversation about safe online practices, children to disagree that the convo ever took place. Some parents reported that they have installed filters and blockers on their home computer, therefore, the youth are safe.

ONLINE EXPOSURE
Sometimes youth visit pornographic or violent websites by choice. However, this may subject them to unpleasant materials that they were not expecting. Research has suggested that bullying, porn, and violence all have negative effects on youth. They may display violence towards women or peers, sexualized aggression, and may even lead to rape or the belief that they need to rape. Bullying can lead to depression, low self esteem, and even suicidal ideation.

ONLINE SAFETY PRACTICES
Sexual predators often know that the Internet is a place with a high volume of youth to which they can victimize. These predators can groom their victims. Grooming is a way that predators blur the line of appropriate and inappropriate behaviors. The process is gradual, and has an ultimate goal of making the child feel comfortable enough to engage in the inappropriate behaviors (whether it may be to have sex talk, send photographs or even meeting with the predator). The predator is attempting to gain affection, interest and trust of the child. They strive to be a "mentor" to the child. Youth often desire relationships, belongingness, attention, validation and acceptance. Predators know this fact and exploit it. In the grooming process, the predators attempt to normalize the behaviors. Normalizing the sexualized and deviant behaviors means that the child is less likely to tell anyone about the interaction. The grooming path typically follows: chatting, sexual comments, presentation of pornography (in order to desensitize the victim), meeting, gift giving.

HYPOTHESES
Boys will be more exposed to sexual and violent online materials, more so than girls.
Parents who have installed blockers and filters will indicate less online exposure.
Boys will have poorer safety practices than girls.
Younger teens will have poorer online safety practices than older teens.
Those teens who have talked with parents about safety online will have better safety practices.

METHOD
PARTICIPANTS
4 high schools in the Australian Capital Territory.
709 students between 8-10th grades.
17 were eliminated due to missing data, leaving 692 participants.
464 were male and 228 were female.

MEASURES
Self report questionnaire, which consisted of demographic questions (age, sex, access to Internet at home and school).
Main reason for using the Internet: IM, email, chatting, homework, music, videos, games, health, dating, relationships, TV, movies, help seeking, other.
Frequency of Internet usage: how often they use the Internet in an average week
Age group: 13-14 were younger teens, 15-16 were older teens
Parental use of blocks or filters: Yes/No if their parents have installed these programs
Internet safety discussions between parents and teens
Exposure to inappropriate material or behaviors online: how frequently they were exposed to porn, violence, bullying, rude comments, sexual comments, other offensive materials.
Online safety practices

RESULTS
99% of both girls and boys reported having school Internet access
95% of boys and 93% of girls reporting having Internet access at home
The main reason for using the Internet was homework, followed by IM, games, email, music/videos, and TV shows.
52% reported high Internet usage.
19% had parents install filters/blockers.
Only 39% of the older youth have had an Internet safety discussion with their parents.
Both girls and boys had exposure to violent and sexual materials.

DISCUSSION
Many young people were found to being exposed to sexual and violent materials. Boys were significantly more exposed to the inappropriate materials than were girls. Boys were found to be online more than girls, therefore, this leads to greater exposure to materials and behaviors. Explanation may be that boys are more curious, therefore, they are more willing to go to violent and pornographic websites. Approximately 1 in 5 parents had installed some form of blocker or filter on their home computer. However, the usage of these programs could be much higher, as parents often don't tell their children if they install the programs.
There was no difference between boys and girls online safety practices. Younger youth had poorer safety practices than older youth.

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The main reason for analyzing this article is to show the need for education and talk. Studies show that parents think there isn't much of a problem. This shows both parents and youth are naive about online dangers. Youth can be exposed to materials that can be damaging to their development (violent and sexual materials). They can even be exposed to predators who wish to take advantage of them and groom them for their sexualized desires. Predators lurk online and know the things to say to get children's trust. Many theorists, researchers, law enforcement personnel, etc all state that the Internet has become "a predators playground". This reason alone should be enough for parents to want to take action in ensuring their kids never become a victim to these online predators.

Internet Safety

I wrote my paper on the topic of Internet safety for youth. I also wrote on the types of programs that are available. There are a number of programs available, that many people don't know about. Some of them are geared towards kids, while others are geared towards parents. Some offer games, videos, readings, etc., while others offer just readings.

I wanted to ask everyone what your thoughts are? Would you utilize a program, paid or free, to teach your kids about Internet safety? Would you tell other people about the programs? Do you think that safety programs should focus on parents or on kids?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Article Review #4

Article review #4 is for the article titled "Sexual Harassment on the Internet" by Azy Barak. The article was published in Social Science Computer Review, Volume 23, Number 1, Spring 2005, pages 77-92.

Introduction:
Sexual harassment is something that has always affected people. It h as played a role "at work, school, military installations, and social gatherings". Mostly women suffer from sexual harassment, however, men, children, and homosexuals are also targets of SH as well. The Internet has become a medium where people can be sexually harassed . "SH and offense on the Internet is considered a major obstacle to the free, legitimate, functional, and joyful use of the Net, as these acts drive away Net users as well as cause significant emotional harm and actual damage to those who remain users, whether by choice or by duty." In other words, despite all the positives of the Internet, bad exists, which causes harm and distress among the victim.

Offline Sexual Harassment
SH has largely been performed face to face in social environments. SH happens all over the world and is not limited to one culture or society. However, SH affects people in different ways. The authors state there are three categories of sexual harassment: gender, unwanted sexual attention and sexual coercion. Gender is verbal and visual comments that put down the person because of their gender. These are intended to give the person negative emotions. This could be in the form of sexual jokes, insults, posting pornography, and making gender degrading remarks. Sexual attention refers to behaviors that display sexual desire and are unwanted by the victim. This could be staring at a womans breasts or making statements that insinuate sexual activities or desires. Sexual coercion is putting sexual pressure on another person . This could be touching, bribing, or making threats.

Sexual Harassment in Cyberspace
The three above types of SH are also online, but most of SH tends to be in the form of gender harassment and unwanted sexual attention. Gender harassment is very common online. It may be verbal, which could be offensive sexual messages toward a victim. Messages may be gender humiliating, such as saying a woman shouldn't be in a forum but rather in the kitchen, sexual remarks, or dirty jokes. Based off of a study by Mitchell, Finkelhor and Wolak (2003), 62% of youth received unwanted sexualized email's, 92% from senders they did not know and 73% unintentionally visited the websites which were sex sites (pop up windows, clicking a link they didn't know what it was, etc).

Passive verbal SH online is less intrusive than the pop ups or messages described above. The individual who is performing this type of SH online doesn't necessarily target a specific person, rather potential receivers. Example depicted in the article describes user names in chats, forums, instant messaging, emails, etc, which are offensive and possibly demeaning.

SH online can be both passive and active. Active harassment can be intentionally sending pornographic materials to another individual online. The amount of offense the receiver takes, it upon the sensitivity of that receiver. Therefore, whether the person deems the material as SH, depends on their attitudes, sensitivity and preferences, as well as, the content of the materials.

SH online is different than face to face SH, because communication between the harasser and victim is not necessary. The sender may post a message, however, the victim does not necessarily has to respond. It is important to note, that these activities may also not be considered sexual harassment based on the context of the situation. For instance, if someone enters a chat room in order to meet a partner, and they have a screen name which can be considered lude in other contexts, and make sexual statements, would not necessarily be considered SH, as both individuals entered the room for a sexually driven purpose.

Cases and Prevalence of SH on the Internet
There have been numerous articles depicting the dangerousness of SH on the Internet, however, very little empirical studies have been completed. One British study found that 41% of Internet users were sent pornographic materials online. Another study found that 19% of youth, mostly girls, had some form of SH in the past year.

The Dynamics of SH on the Internet
SH behavior is based on the online interactions and situations to which they are a part of. Online disinhibition tends to lead to a person exposing more of their "true self" than they would, prior to feeling disinhibited. It has always been stated that SH is about power, not about sex. The same is true online. Getting someone to lower their inhibitions, is a powerful factor in leading to SH. Disinhibition, more openness, and an environment which can be more masculine, can lead to higher likelihood of SH behaviors, especially by men towards women. As well, people online tend to follow group standards. This leads to further disinhibition and forms the groundwork of SH behavior. It is almost as if there is a lack of clear boundaries. Online there isn't the set of rules necessarily to state that SH behavior is wrong and will not be tolerated, as there is in the work place. The lack of legal and social sanctions supports SH behavior.

Effects of SH on the Internet
The main effects SH has on the victims is avoidance of certain sites where the SH took place. As well, women tend to change their online presence after SH takes place. Much more empirical research needs to be done to assess the effects SH online has on individuals.

Prevention of SH on the Internet
The main message in preventing SH on the Internet is educating potential victims and harassers, as well, changing culture and norms. It is argued that behaviors and attitudes are based on the media and users perspective. However, targeting specific populations online is virtually impossible, due to the vastness of the Internet. Therefore, the best method would be educating people on SH, especially starting with the youth.

Conclusion
SH exists online as much as it exists online. The Internet provides a unique environment where SH can be easily facilitated. Legally enforcing the prevention of SH is virtually impossible, educating with prevention messages to people, especially youth, can help the reduction of SH.

Sunday Funday!

I haven't done a fun post in a while..so I decided today would be a good day to blog about some of my favorite things!!

I'm going to start off with my favorite song at the moment! It is Tinie Tempah "Written in the stars". It's really good. Enjoy the video here:

My favorite TV show right now is Kenny VS Spenny. It is hilarious. I highly recommend it! It is about two best friends who do various, hilarious competitions, such as "who makes the best woman" or "who can eat the most meat". The loser has a humiliation at the end. It is really really funny. Season 4 is on Netflix. Otherwise, you can watch episodes online. Check it out!! However, it is not for those with weak stomachs. Not all of the episodes are raw, but a lot of them are. The meat one especially...don't watch if you have issue with people vomiting. Enjoy!

I always say to myself "work now, play later". One day when I can afford it...I plan to buy Christian Louboutin shoes! That will be my play later purchase!!
Christian Louboutin shoes Declic Christian Louboutin Shoes, Declic
Aren't they PRETTY?!?

I am moving into a house in the fall, and have been obsessed with finding new items for my house. I found these bath accessories at Bed Bath and Beyond. They are ME!

My favorite recipe at the moment is this chicken roll up! It is SO good. I highly recommend it!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Interesting Observation

Today, as I sat in class, I made an interesting observation, that inspired this post. My PhD program is in the College of Technology. My studies are very interdisciplinary. I take a lot of courses in Psychology and Sociology. I was had been wondering if there are differences between graduate students in Liberal Arts, and graduate students in Technology. So the last two weeks of classes, I took it upon myself to do some observations of the two groups.

MY FINDINGS:
YES! There are major differences!
1. The most major difference that I found....Tech students bring computers. Liberal Arts students have paper and pencil! I noticed that the LA students were furiously taking notes. Tech students type away.
2. Tweeting during class in Tech. Granted, Twitter is part of the course requirements....LA, I would never foresee having Twitter be a part of learning.
3. Areas of research. Sure, this is part of being in Tech vs LA. We had to discuss research projects for my Psychology class. I had more questions on how I would execute a project, instruments, methodology, etc. from the LA classmates. Now, my area of research revolves around crimes against children, and this topic ALWAYS gets numerous questions because it definitely has the shock value aspect, however, the type of questioning from the LA students was significantly different than in any Tech classes I have taken.

Those were major differences that I can think of at the moment. It is interesting how we are all aiming for the same goal, yet we are so different. It really is two different worlds between the two colleges!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Article Review #3

Title: Case Study, Child Seduction and Self Representation on the Internet
Authors: Ethel Quayle and Max Taylor
Journal: Cyber Psychology and Behavior, Volume 4, Number 5, 2001

The paper is a case study of a man, who was charged with downloading child pornography. He traded CP, located children to abuse, and to socialize online with other pedophiles. This is a behavioral look at offenders, and how the Internet plays a role in child victimization.

Intro:
There are four ways which pedophiles use the Internet for their sexual interest: traffic CP, locate kids to molest, engage in inappropriate sexualized communication with kids and to communication with other adults who have sexual interest in kids (pedophiles). This case study devuldged into the mind of a pedophile, and online activity. The individual utilized chat rooms, where he could undertake multiple persona's.

A typical cognition of these individuals, is the justification of their behaviors. They deny any possible injury towards the kid, and wish bad upon anyone who looks down upon their actions. Internet child pornography allows the user to further justify their actions, because they are not actually touching the child. As well, they can find like minded individuals to communicate with, therefore, do not need to worry about condemners. Like minded individuals will support and encourage their actions and behaviors. A lot of these individuals feel that this is the "more responsible way of dealing with their feelings than going out and trying to abuse 'real' children".

Pedophiles engage in this online because of accessibility, affordability, and anonymity of the Internet. The Internet makes available not only CP images and videos, but also communities of like minded individuals, erotica (images, videos or stories, which does not constitute child pornography, but is used by pedophiles to fulfill their sexual gratification; example: a child wearing underwear in provocative poses). Anonymity allows people to also say things they wouldn't normally say, and be various persona's (this is not just unique to CP users, but for all people...people tend to feel more free to say and do things they wouldn't otherwise do or say).

Case of Q.X.
The individual used for this case study was a 33 year old, single man. He is sex offender treatment program..He has struggled with depression. He has never had a successful relationship with an adult. He sought contact with boys ages 9-14.

A number of aspects of the Internet were asked to QX.

ENGAGEMENT WITH THE INTERNET
He bought a computer with the sole goal of accessing CP. He reported that finding CP was very easy and there was a wide variety. His first area of access CP on the Internet was on Newsgroups. He found out where to find the materials online, largely by the press. The first CP images that he saw was arousing and escalated downloading. "...so there was a bit of shock, but that went very quickly..I was very much hooked..."

PROGRESSION FROM NEWSGROUPS TO CHATROOMS
He quickly became bored with Newsgroups and switched to chatrooms. "...I became hooked on chat rooms rather than the initial Newsgroups". Chats were a place where QX could meet those who had similar interests as him, as well as view child pornography movies. Collecting movies became his primary interest. He stated that he became "numb" to images, and that the same images were repeatedly traded.

ASSUMING A CHILD PERSONA
QX quickly began portraying himself as a child. He stated he did this in order to increase the possibility of accessing kids. Children are more likely to talk to another child. Therefore, the pedophile pretending to really be a child increased the chance and amount of children who would talk to him. He tried multiple child persona's, he ultimately ended maintaining Joe, 11 year old boy, who had blue eyes and blonde hair. Interestingly, the author states, that Joe was very similar to how QX would have looked at this age. QX offline life is a teacher, wherefore, it was easy for him to act as the children he saw at school. The online persona enabled him to act out fantasies that he has had. The picture that he used of himself, was that of a young boy who was on the local cricket team. Activities in the chat rooms has many people who are also participating in the same activities, and supporting the behaviors.

Discussion
This case study showed how pedophiles use the Internet to facilitate relationships and find materials to fit their sexual desires. The main focus was on how finding an online persona and forming relationships with children, heightened his arousal. Participating with link minded people allowed for sexual expression and solicitation.

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The main purpose of blogging about this article is to show how people act online. I think many people trust who they are speaking with online, however, as shown above, people lie about who they are. I think that not trusting strangers that one meets, especially in chat rooms, is a valuable lesson that people need to be informed about.