USA, July 3, 2013: The Hayward Police Department has joined the Wisconsin Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. “The City of Hayward Police Department is looking forward to being a member of the Wisconsin ICAC Task Force,” Hayward Police Chief Joel Clapero said. “Together we will identify and solve crimes against children and help bring justice against those individuals who choose to prey on our children.” As part of this affiliation, the Hayward Police Department is eligible for investigative assistance, reimbursement for ICAC-related expenses, including computer hardware and software, notification of and priority for ICAC-related training, both nationally and in Wisconsin. The task force has nearly 200 members statewide, up from slightly more than 20 local law enforcement agencies in 2007. Last year the task force was responsible for arresting 131 suspected child predators — the highest number of arrests during a calendar year recorded for the task force.
USA, July 3, 2013: Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning has sent a letter to Google expressing concerns that the company is profiting from adverts tied to online YouTube videos that promote illegal activity. The letter was co-signed by Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and pointed out concerns with Google’s internet safety and advertising policies. Bruning says Google stands to make money from ads running in conjunction with instructional videos promoting illegal activities. Examples given by Bruning include videos on ways to illegally purchase prescription drugs, how to create a fake driver’s licenses and passports and the promotion of human trafficking and “terrorist propaganda”. Bruning and Pruitt voiced their issues with the revenue being created by placing related online ads next to the videos promoting illegal activity.
USA, July 4, 2013: idcloak Technologies has today published a four-part article in their Knowledge Centre which advises victims of cyberbullying on how to cope with the attacks. Despite the severity of the issue, idcloak found that relatively few online information resources are available to help victims, especially where technical advice is concerned. Guidance offered in the article combines technical protection strategies – such as how to prevent a Facebook hack password attack – alongside behavioural advice, such as when and how to react to the abuse. “The article is divided into three sections,” says, Robin Welles, the article’s author, herself a former school support mentor, “The first –Cyberbullying Definition: What is cyber bullying? – is primarily for parents and educators, as it explains the nature of the problem and its prevalence in modern youth society.” The remaining sections of the article give advice to victims. Part 2 – What is cyberbullying to you, the victim? – offers a sympathetic analysis of what the attacks usually entail and how it feels to be a victim of them. Part 3 and 4 deal specifically with addressing the problem. “We wanted to give an almost procedural feel to the advice,” explains Welles, “so it can help victims form a clear plan of action. That positivity alone, as long as it is realistic, can help them find the confidence to move through the difficult time. We also wanted them to feel okay about seeking help if things get too tough. Reaching out is an important part of coping.”
UK, July 4, 2013: Disney is launching internet safety campaigns targeting 100m children and parents in Europe, the Middle East and Africa based on its Club Penguin virtual world, capitalising on the recent paedophile scandal surrounding rival Habbo Hotel. Disney says it will put up £3m of media to support the campaigns: essentially advertising space on its TV channels, websites and magazines across the EMEA region, as well as on Club Penguin and its other virtual worlds. Club Penguin co-founder Lane Merrifield – now executive vice president of Disney Online Studios following Disney’s $350m acquisition of the virtual world in August 2007 – announced the initiative in a keynote speech at the Children’s Media Conference in Sheffield. Club Penguin remains the largest virtual world for children, with 175m accounts created since it launched. It now has users in 190 countries. Merrifield’s commitment to child safety is genuine, but the new education campaign must also be seen in relation to Habbo Hotel’s recent troubles. A Channel 4 News investigation appeared to show that sexualised chat and sexual approaches to young users were common on Habbo. Investors 3i and Balderton subsequently handed back their stakes in the company, while several British retailers stopped selling Habbo gift cards. Rigorous safety measures are thus even more of a competitive advantage for virtual worlds aimed at children. Disney says Club Penguin has a team of UK moderators based in Brighton, who receive regular training from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre. Club Penguin also has a relationship with Childnet International, which runs internet safety sessions in British schools.
Canada, July 5, 2013: A study of social media and bullying in Atlantic Canada shows that Facebook is one of the less commonly used tools for cyberbullying among teens. Released this week by the online research company MediaBadger, the study shows that sites such as Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and Skype — as well as others that parents may not have even heard of — are outpacing Facebook for use in bullying. “The youth, they’re using all kinds of different tools all the time,” says Giles Crouch, the CEO of MediaBadger. “They use Chatroulette, or they’re using Snapchat now with their mobile devices; they’ve moved over to Tumblr from Facebook. Most parents have never heard of Tumblr. They don’t know what it is, and their kids are not about to tell them.” The company analysed data from 2,500 teens’ accounts on various social media sites between January 2012 and March 2013. The results show that 4Chan is the top mode of online bullying for boys, followed by Tumblr, Twitter and YouTube. For girls, Tumblr topped the list, with Skype and Google+ ranking second and third. The study also looked at 5,000 tweets and blog posts published between January and March this year that contained cyberbullying, and analysed the frequency of certain words and the differences in their usage between boys and girls. In those posts, boys used the words “fag,” “whore,” “slut” and “stud” most frequently, while girls used the words “bitch,” “freak,” “whore” and “pony.” Boys also shared more images and video than girls, and girls used text to bully more than boys.
USA, July 8, 2013: Omega is inviting parents, guardians, and educators to their Rhinebeck, New York campus from August 2– 4 for a residential, immersive parenting conference called, Hold On to Your Kids: Parenting in the 21st Century. Omega is convening top leaders in related fields, including Gordon Neufeld, Susan Cain, and Rachel Simmons, to give parents the tools to maintain strong bonds with their children while navigating the never-before-seen issues that have come about in the digital age. “At Omega, we understand that family relationships are central to how we develop and who we become in the world. We want to empower parents by giving them tools to enhance their capacity to maintain healthy relationships with their children, and deepen the lines of communication to stay connected,” said Carla Goldstein, chief external affairs officer at Omega and cofounder of the Omega Women’s Leadership Center. “At a time when parents are just trying to keep their heads above water in the unchartered world of the internet, this conference gives them a chance to slow down and learn how to hold on to their kids without being a helicopter parent,” added Goldstein. Hold On to Your Kids will include keynote addresses, small-group workshops, and experiential learning led by some of the most renowned leaders in the field of parenting and psychology. Parents have the option to enroll their children in Adventure Game for Kids (ages 6–13) and their teens in Teen Rising: A Workshop For Teenagers (ages 14–17). Both workshops run concurrently with the parenting conference.