Archive for January, 2011

Facebook Plays a Major Role in Egyptian Protests

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Facebook is proving to be an asset in times of political unrest and mayhem for the thousands of Egyptians who have taken their battle to the streets last week in hopes to de-throne their 30-year-old government. 

A Facebook page created by an anonymous activist has played a major role in the country’s protests, rallying thousands to Egyptian’s to rise up and fight against their President, Hosni Mubarak who is said to use torture against its people to stay in power.

The Egyptian government has repeatedly shut down access to the Internet over the past week, but the Facebook page created by an anonymous activist, “We are all Khaled Said” continues to stay active with over 36,500 fans as of January 31st, 2011   “We were tortured, humiliated and lived in injustice & poverty for 30 years despite our enormous resources” , and “Nothing justifies the continuation of this dictator” the activist wrote on the page’s wall earlier today.

According to the Facebook page, Khaled Said, a 28-year-old Egyptian from the coastal city of Alexandria, Egypt, was tortured to death at the hands of two police officers. Several eye witnesses described how Khalid was taken by the two policemen into the entrance of a residential building where he was brutally punched and kicked. The two policemen banged his head against the wall, the staircase and the entrance steps. Despite his calls for mercy and asking them why they are doing this to him, they continued their torture until he died according to many eye witnesses.

Khaled has become the symbol for many Egyptians who dream to see their country free of brutality, torture and ill treatment. Many young Egyptians are now fed up with the inhuman treatment they face on a daily basis in streets, police stations and everywhere. Egyptians want to see an end to all violence committed by any Egyptian Policeman. Egyptians are aspiring to the day when Egypt has its freedom and dignity back, the day when the current 30 years long emergency martial law ends and when Egyptians can freely elect their true representatives.

Did you ever think that Facebook’s technology and reach would help bring a government like Egypt’s to its knees?

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Shawn Marie Edgington is Americas leading “Texpert” and cyberbullying prevention expert.  She’s the author of “Read Between the lines: A Humorous Guide to Texting with Simplicity and Style” and “The Parent’s Guide to Texting, Facebook and Social Media”, which is slated for release in February of 2011. 

Shawn has been profiled on Fox Business, Fox News Radio, in the San Francisco Chronicle, View From the Bay, KRON 4 News, NPR, CBS Radio, The Leslie Marshall Show, InfoTrak, The John Carney Show, Mom’s the Word, The San Diego Union, American Cheerleader Magazine, CNN Radio and dozens of radio stations around the country.

After a personal experience she had with her 16-year old daughter being threatened by text and on Facebook, she’s made it her mission to help parents “parent” around technology. Her solution?  Shawn’s developed The One-Click Safety Kit, a turnkey program that helps families defend against sexting, online predators, cyberbullies and textual harassment.                               

  http://www.shawnedgington.com

Mobile Messaging Offers Student Support in Oakland California

Friday, January 21st, 2011

This week several schools in Oakland, California started a new “text-a-tip” program. The program allows students and community members to alert campus police directly about potential and dangerous problems with cell phone text messages using specialized technology from Guest Assist. If your child is ever caught in an emergency situation, text messaging is the technology you want them to have immediate access to. The technology associated with mobile messaging offers benefits to students and educators that phone calls can’t:

  •  A way to instantly report critical and life threatening information anonymously
  • Concerned friends and parents have a way to report issues about drinking, drugs or violence
  • Harassment by bullies (including cyberbullies) can be reported without concerns of retaliation

Why don’t more schools offer this service?  The cost runs about $2 per student on an annual basis.  For a school with 3000 students, we are talking about $6,000 a year to offer mobile messaging support for our students.  Kudos to Pete Sarna, the Chief of Police for Oakland Public Schools – serious forward thinking that will benefit everyone involved!

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Will Your Child Be a Victim of Sextortion?

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Sextortion; a new term and a growing concern for parents to watch out for occurs when a person uses guilt, power, or knowledge of a certain secret, to force another person into providing sexually explicit photos, having sex or performing sexual favors.

Sextortion is one of the “crimes of choice” that Internet predators use to gain access into their targets personal life.  Predators that practice sextortion pressure their victims to give them sexually explicit photos and/or favors in exchange for their secrecy of previously obtained private information or for a promise to hold off on future violent acts.

Predators generally target teens or young adults on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace.  Once they gain trust by pretending to be someone they aren’t, they ask for more: “If you don’t give me more of what I want (sexually explicit photos) or if you don’t meet me for sex, then I’m going to post the sexually explicit photo or information you’ve already given me to destroy your life.”

Take the sextortion case that occurred in the Milwaukee area with, an 18-year-old former New Berlin high school student who is serving 15 years in prison for sextortion.  Anthony, an honor student, got more than 30 boys to send him naked photos of themselves …by posing as a female on Facebook. He then blackmailed several boys into sexual acts by threatening to share those pornographic images if they said “no.”

In 2010, there have been ongoing acts of sextortion occurring at universities across the country.  A predator is preying on sorority pledges by first studying their Facebook profile and then approaches them using Facebook, pretending to be a sorority sister or an alum. The first communications seem harmless to unsuspecting freshman, yet are obvious attempts to gain trust. Subsequent Facebook chats and e-mails get creepy, with requests for naked pictures, followed by threats to reveal secrets and commit violent acts. The dozen or so victims to date attend southwest schools: University of Florida, Florida State University, Auburn University, University of Alabama and Louisiana State University.  So far, several college students have actually provided their assailant with naked photos.  Here’s an interesting stat:

  • Out of the people who report sharing nude photos of themselves to others online, almost a third of them have shared these photos with people they only know online … or with people they’ve never met face-to-face.

What’s important about sextortion is that parents should teach their children:

1. Not to trust anyone they don’t know online,

2. Keep their profile private, even after they turn 18-years-old

3. Make sure they report any online contact they’ve received from online strangers who are asking for personal and/or creepy information.

Most importantly, teens and young adults need to understand that when they take these types of photographs… or if they turn “on” their web camera for strangers, the person on the receiving end can easily record, and spread the information anywhere they choose.