Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why Can't This Really Happen?

I found this cartoon and it caught my attention for a couple of reasons.  Although it’s made to make people laugh, it really does bring up a valid point.  If only everyone found on the Internet came with a dummy to tell people the truth about him or her.  People use online dating sites as a means to find “the one” all the time.  I even personally know a couple that will be married this summer that met on a dating site.  I guess that’s proof that it does work some of the time.  However, I personally do not think it’s the solution to one’s dating problems.  I feel like dating sites are extremely dangerous.  Like this picture shows, people can deceive whom they are talking about very easily.  I would be very hesitant to trust anyone no matter how great they seemed over the Internet.  I’ve heard of so many stories on the news and Internet about cyber dating going wrong.  If everyone had a dummy to tell the truth, I feel like many problems would be solved.  :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bad Influences

I am at fault, myself, but the way our society is today is truly sad.  People idolize athletes, movie stars, rock stars and any other types of famous people.  Don't get me wrong, I know that a lot of famous people are advocates for many organizations and great causes.  This is the good influence they have on their fans.  However, what happens when they are advocates for all the wrong things?

The rapper, Ludacris, is causing tons of controversy all over the country for his new song called "Sexting." The song is supposed to make fun of Tiger Woods for his indiscretions and all that drama.  However, people are furious because of the lyrics of the song.  In an interview he even admits to sexting himself so he's "making light of it."

This story is very disturbing to me.  Even when I was in high school, we would have speakers come to us and talk about sexting.  It's a huge problem these days.  The fact that this song is out by such a popular rapper, makes me feel like kids who listen to him will think this terrible thing isn't so bad after all.

The Bullied is Doing the Bullying

I've already told a story about cyber bullying but this story especially caught my attention for a couple of reasons.  The most shocking part was that the child in this story is only 11 years old at the time.  The other part that is disturbing is how she reacted to the bullying.  Many of the stories I've heard about online bullying end in the bullied kid becoming depressed or hurting themselves in some way.  This story is different.  The girl acted out against her bullies.  The first time she was bullied, she slapped the boy in the face and was suspended for 10 days from school.  Then, "...instead of turning to parents or an adult of authority, she posts a video ranting and raving about her 'haters'."  In the video she told her bullies that she was happy with her life and even used phrases like "get AIDs and die."

End the end, the little girl was admitted into therapy and taught about how to use the Internet safely.  I find it ironic that she ended up in a sense, bullying others herself.  She didn't single anyone out with it, but she said terrible things in her videos about other children.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cyber Bullying

I found two blogs about a topic I have no yet mentioned: cyber bullying. This is just another of the many dangers of the internet.  The blogs Textual Harassment and Nine Teens Charged in Bullying Case are similar in that they both appeal to the reader's pathos.  The Textual Harassment blog is doing this by making the reader feel sorry for the child being talked about within the blog.  "...and the child in the middle wondering how to get back to a sense of sanity in his/her world."  This blog has a dramatic tone and is made to inform readers.  The blog Nine Teens Charged in Bullying Case also appeals to the reader's pathos by giving the dramatic story about children bullying on the internet.  It appeals to pathos by making the reader sad. It even goes so far as to describe one particular victim that committed suicide due to this terrible issue.
The two blogs differ and many ways also.  The Textual Harassment blog is made to warn and inform the reader of the danger of cyber bullying through facts.  The Nine Teens Charged in Bullying Case is made to inform the reader through a particular story.  They also differ in that the second blog mentioned appeals to the readers logos as well as pathos.  This is done by giving a percentage of the number of kids who say they feel safer when they are able to tell an adult of what is going on.

Not the Real Brian

Identity theft is a major issue that many people become victim to.  When I think of identity theft I think of someone getting ahold of an old credit card that someone forgot to cut up or something of that source.  However, many cases of identity theft happens over the internet.  Now, when I think of this scenario, I think of someone trying to buy something over the internet and giving their credit card information and other information through the "transaction."  I would never guess that identity theft would even be happening through social networking sites...one of which I use everyday.  This is the story of Bryan Rutberg on The Red Tape Chronicals.
Mr. Rutberg's daughter came into his room one evening asking what was wrong with him.  He didn't know what she was talking about, he was just about to lay down for a nap.  She said that she saw his status on Facebook said “BRYAN IS IN URGENT NEED OF HELP!!!" At first Bryan didn't pay much attention until his wife also brought his Facebook status to his attention.  Knowing that he did not ever type these words for the public to see, he checked it out.  Turns out his Facebook had been hacked and all his information was changed.  There was no way for Brian to get into his account to change or delete anything.  That wasn't the worst part though.  The hacker was sending messages to his friends asking them to send him money because he was desperate and in trouble.  Many of his friends chipped in.  One person even sent $1200! Eventually, things got settled but the hacker was never caught and the many people had no way of retrieving their money they had just donated to the unknown criminal. 
This story just goes to show that dangers of the internet go in many different directions and target many different people.  One should always be aware of the possibilities of websites they use daily, such as Facebook and other social networks.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

More to the Story..

There are many cases of online sexual predators, as we all know.  What most might not know, however, is that not all these instances are completely one-sided.  I mean, not every story involved is about a kid who is stalked, sexually harassed, or anything harmful without said kid being unaware of what was about to happen to him/her.
I found a national study done on the Adolescent Health website about internet-initiated sex crimes against minors.  I find this to be a scholarly article for a few reasons.  First, I initiated this search through Google Scholar. Second, the article states that the study was done by 3 doctors: Janis Wolak, J.D., David Finkelhor, Ph.D. and Kimberly Mitchell, Ph.D.  And lastly, there are data in this article that give good proof that the study being talked about it credible.
Now, as I mentioned before, many cases with sexual misconduct between children and adults are known beforehand.  What I mean is that many of the adolescents involved in sexual relations with adults through the Internet actually want the relationship and sexual activities to happen.  This isn't a matter of a child being attacked sexually by someone they met through the Internet - which is usually what I first think of when I hear of incidents like these.
The study took a random sample of 2564 law enforcement agencies and conducted interviews over the phone with local, state, and federal law enforcement investigators concerning 129 sexual offenses against juvenile victims that started with online encounters.
This investigation proved alarming statistics in many ways.  First being that the victims were 13-15 year old teenage girls (75%).  This is not surprising because older male predators (I assume) would go after young girls.  However, the 75% statistic is very alarming because it is such a high number. Next, the study showed that the predators were - 76% of the time - over the age of 25. The study states, "Most offenders did not deceive victims about the fact that they were adults who were interested in sexual relationships. Most victims met and had sex with the adults on more than one occasion."  This is by far the most alarming part of the study in my opinion.  This proves that adolescents knew what they were getting themselves into and were not being tricked in some way.  Wow!
This article was very informative and by appealing to the reader's logos (statistics, etc.) cause one's attention immediately.  This article, being informative, helps show parents, teachers, and anyone else in the situation, how dangerous the Internet is and how dangerous it can be without alarming a child or having violence being used.  A child starting a "love" relationship over the Internet with someone they don't even know and meeting up with them and committing sexual misconduct can be just as dangerous as a sexual predator who is using profanity, threats, and things that would scare the child.  The only difference is that one situation may actually be told to a parent or teacher, the other one is likely to be a secret.

I Had No Idea...

I have to admit that I was completely oblivious to all the dangers of the "Internet World" until I took ENGL 241.  Although many of the things we learn about seem kind of obvious when I hear them out loud.  However, I never payed any attention to these kinds of things until about a year ago.
Due to many problems in the past, I have been out of touch with a certain family member for about 14 years now.  I have not heard from this person in all these years, no mail, phone calls, birthday/Christmas presents etc.  I didn't expect to ever have contact with this person for the rest of my life.  However, one day, my senior year of high school I was contacted through Facebook.
Now, many of you are probably thinking "duh."  From being a MySpace user in middle school and Facebook user all of high school and even today, how could I not have thought that maybe that would be a means of finding me if said family member really wanted to?  Honestly, it crossed my mind every once in a while when I would see that I had a new friend request but after so many years of checking requests and it just being people from my hometown or high school, the thought faded.
Anyways, back to the story..so one day I was at a friend's house and (of course) we were on Facebook and I had a friend request from someone I had never even heard of.  I clicked on the profile to investigate and saw there were no mutual friends between us.  However, much worse, there were posts with my name in them.  Posts on this user's wall talking about finding me and searching for so long and on and on.  I was seriously terrified.  The family member I have been mentioning used a friend's Facebook to look for me and "friend" me without me knowing it was actually them.  SCARY!
From the beginning I felt like I was safe about using Facebook and all the other social sites.  However, after this incident I went back to double-check and make sure that all my settings were private, my hometown was not listed, and any other information I would not want this person - or anybody else I don't know - to find out.  This definitely was a rude awakening to the dangers involved in a site that I use so regularly in my every day life.