Holiday help

This is the last post from iQ for sometime to come. Best wishes to all readers for a safe and happy Christmas and New Year and beyond.

Just a note that if you need support due to online issues, there are a number of avenues you can use:

You can also search the iQ archives for further assistance.

Facebook takes on cyberbullying

Facebook has reacted to the number of teenagers leaving the platform by addressing online bullying. NBC News (USA) explains:

After reports that Facebook is losing teen users, the social network has released a way for parents and children to deal with cyberbullying.

The new step is considered a beneficial but belated one, according to NPR. Facebook’s new Safety Center about bullying is considered a prevention hub with resources for teachers, teens and parents on how to deal with both online and offline bullying. There will also be ways for users to deal offensive posts which mainly consists of engaging the potential cyberbully.

Access Facebook’s new resources on cyberbullying here. Read the whole article here.

New sexting laws for Victoria

The Herald Sun is reporting that:

ELECTRONICALLY sharing sexually explicit images of another person without their consent – also known as sexting – will become illegal in Victoria.

The government tabled its response to an inquiry into sexting in parliament on Tuesday and the legislation will also ensure youths found sexting do not end up facing child pornography charges.

Legislation will be introduced into Victorian Parliament in 2014, with penalties to be decided then.

The Herald Sun have also promoted the Australian Federal Police video warning young adults of the dangers of sexting.

Help to clean up your Facebook account

If you feel you might need assistance to clean up your Facebook account, the website Your Dirty Mouth may be of help. Yahoo news reports:

 A new website called Your Dirty Mouth scans through your Facebook history and finds the most profane, controversial Facebook statuses you ever dared to publish.

The site, first spotted by AllFacebook, is not just good insurance for anyone in the job market, or applying to college, as employers and admissions departments are increasingly scrutinising the social media presence of applicants; it’s also a pleasant trip down memory lane, and an intriguing capsule into the shifting ways in which you’ve used Facebook.

Although the reference to college admissions is US based and not really applicable in Australia, it could be a good idea to scan your Facebook history anyway.

It’s complicated by danah boyd

iQ was fortunate enough to hear internationally recognised social media researcher danah boyd speak back in 2012 (click here to access all of iQ’s resources on danah boyd). Now boyd has a book coming out entitled It’s complicated. The blurb from the book (via Amazon) explains what it’s about:

What is new about how teenagers communicate through services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Do social media affect the quality of teens’ lives? In this eye-opening book, youth culture and technology expert danah boyd uncovers some of the major myths regarding teens’ use of social media. She explores tropes about identity, privacy, safety, danger, and bullying. Ultimately, boyd argues that society fails young people when paternalism and protectionism hinder teenagers’ ability to become informed, thoughtful, and engaged citizens through their online interactions. Yet despite an environment of rampant fear-mongering, boyd finds that teens often find ways to engage and to develop a sense of identity.

Boyd’s conclusions are essential reading not only for parents, teachers, and others who work with teens but also for anyone interested in the impact of emerging technologies on society, culture, and commerce in years to come. Offering insights gleaned from more than a decade of original fieldwork interviewing teenagers across the United States, boyd concludes reassuringly that the kids are all right. At the same time, she acknowledges that coming to terms with life in a networked era is not easy or obvious. In a technologically mediated world, life is bound to be complicated.

This is not an advertisement for the book, just a pointer to a resource that many people may find useful. Public libraries may stock this book.

Knicks star fined for tweets

SBS online has reported that New York Knicks basketball player J.R. Smith was fined US$25,000 by the NBA after publicly threatening Detroit player Brandon Jennings on Twitter.

NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn said the fine was imposed “for directing hostile and inappropriate language to another player via his Twitter account, in violation of NBA rules”.

Interestingly, Smith was the target of a tweet back in 2009 that cost Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban a $25,000 fine. It’s a shame that Smith has joined the league of sports people who have fallen foul of public expectations via his ill-thought-out tweets.

Read about the NBA rules here. Read the whole report here.

You posted that on Facebook?

Ellen Degeneres has a segment on her show called You posted that on Facebook??

Knowing the names of her audience members, their public Facebook accounts are searched by researchers and the funnier and more questionable photos are then displayed on Ellen’s show. What never fails to amaze me is how embarrassed people are when their photos are displayed publicly. It seems that they’ve forgotten that they were the ones who uploaded the photos to a Facebook account that can be accessed by the general public.

Too much, too soon

The Age recently published an article looking at how parents can stop their children inadvertently viewing pornography online.

Statistics on pornography:

• 70% of boys and 53.5% of girls have seen porn by age 12; 100% of boys and 97% of girls have seen porn by age 16. (Source: The Sex Lives of Australian Teenagers by Joan Sauers.)

• 67% of teens have cleared out their browser history or cache to make sure their parents can’t view their online activity; 64% of parents do not use online parental controls or filtering software. (Source: Microsoft, 2011.)

• 88% of scenes in mainstream pornography contain some sort of physical or verbal aggression. Significantly, 94 per cent of that aggression is directed towards women. (Source: Aggression and Sexual Behavior in Best-selling Pornography Videos, University of Arkansas.)

• Porn sites account for 30% of all internet traffic. (Source: Google DoubleClick Ad Planner 2012.)

• The most popular porn site on the internet attracts 4.4 billion page views per month. (Source: Google DoubleClick Ad Planner 2012.)

Tips for parents include:

• Create individual logins, passwords and security settings for each family member. Microsoft recommends that passwords contain at least eight characters and be a combination of upper-case and lower-case characters, punctuation, numbers and symbols.

• Employ security filters, such as Net Nanny or Norton 360 Multi-Device.

• For Apple iOS devices (iPhones, iPads, iPod Touch) you can change and control settings in just three clicks. For more information on parental controls go to support.apple.com/kb/HT4213.

• The Parents, Tweens and Sex iPad app is available on iTunes. For more information, see ptsapp.com.au.

Read the whole article here.

Hey, you with the phone, listen up!

Have you ever been a victim of ‘phubbing?’ I know I have. Maybe you were the perpetrator. What is phubbing? Wendy Squires wrote in an article in The Age on 2 November that phubbing is:

snubbing someone in a social setting by looking at your phone instead of paying attention.

She continues

here’s what’s not justified: checking what some friend you barely know said about a message you posted while bored on the cab trip over. Neither is digesting whether a text message from a new beau reading ”cool” means yes or maybe, or learning that your 17-year-old can’t find the Milo in the pantry.

Then there’s texting during a film (Madonna was recently booed by cinemagoers for this), while eating (manners, please!) and before or after sex (never a turn on – even if the phone is switched to vibrate).

Because what those things are is rude. Damn rude. As in ”do you think I’m so boring that reading inanities on a tiny screen is somehow better than my company?” inconsiderate.

Sometimes we all need to do a quick check of our phones for important messages, but what I’m talking about is extended distraction from the people in front of you – perhaps 10 or more minutes. We need to be mindful that if we make a commitment to see people in a social setting, then we need to spend time with them, not the people in our online world. They’ll still be there when you get back home. But your f2f friends may not.

I know that when I was phubbed, I was angry and annoyed that I’d bothered to go out with my friend. If she would have preferred to be online than see me and my friends, then perhaps she should have stayed home.

Read the whole article here.

‘Eraser’ law will let Californian kids scrub online past

California Governor Jerry Brown has spoken to Phys.org about the US state passing a law that entitles young adults to delete their online past.

“Kids so often self-reveal before they self-reflect,” James Steyer, founder of Common Sense Media, a  in San Francisco that pushed for the law, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

“Mistakes can stay with teens for life, and their digital footprint can follow them wherever they go.”

But now

social media titans such as Facebook, Twitter and Google [will] let minors scrub their personal online history in the hopes that it might help them avoid personal and work-related problems.

Do you agree with the passing of this law? Do you think it will help young adults or prevent them from learning about the realities of social media?

Read the whole article here.