Sorry, My Yahoo Email Account was Hacked

Hi Readers — I just want to apologize to anyone getting a weird email message from me today. My Yahoo email account was hacked.

And just in case Yahoo is reading this: It is impossible to get a hold of you, so let me state my complaints here:

1 – Your new email template is frustrating, and your FAQs don’t answer any of the Qs I happen to have about it. I’m sure I’m not alone.

2 – If anyone using your email service is unfortunate enough to get hacked, there is no way to get help from you. No phone number, nothing.

3- Perhaps someone from your “help” desk can contact me via email or this blog. That would be lovely! — L.

 

Sext or Kiddie Porn: Who Decides?

Hi Readers — Today’s post comes from guest contributor Anne Collier, who blogs at NetFamilyNews.org and is co-director of ConnectSafely.org, a forum for parents, kids, and everybody interested in safety on the fixed and mobile social Web. Take it away, Anne!

THE SEXT TALK by Anne Collier

Are we turning our kids into criminals? We just may be, thanks to the laws equating “sexting” photos with child pornography.

Right now, about 4% of American 12-to-17-year-olds have sent “sexts,” and 15% have received one from someone they know, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. (Click here for more info.)

While sexting seems to be a  mind-boggling new dating ritual, the fact is: people involved with creating, sending or even receiving a nude or explicit photo of someone under 18 can be charged with the production, distribution, or possession of child pornography. And those could be federal felonies.

What law enforcement doesn’t seem to be considering much – yet, hopefully – is that kids sext for a lot of different reasons. These range from developmentally normative behaviors like “Truth or Dare” games gone very wrong (“I dare you to send a naked photo of yourself to the boy you like” said one 13-year-old to another at a sleepover), to malicious peer pressure (popular boys pressuring shy girls in a “prank,” an incident the mother of one of those shy girls emailed me about), to criminal intent like blackmail. I can hardly imagine anything worse than a shy girl who was pressured into making a huge mistake and then getting prosecuted for producing child porn, can you?

Pew found that the “three main scenarios for sexting” are: 1) Romantic partners sharing images just between the two of them. 2) Romantic partners sharing images of themselves outside their relationship (to show off, or get revenge after a fight, and so on). And, 3) Someone sexting a person he or she wants to get involved with – a “flirting” scenario.

Since most of this is not criminal behavior, prosecution should not be the goal. The goal should be support for any child being victimized. It should also be community-wide learning in the areas of critical thinking, ethics, and civility.

So what do you tell your child about sexting?

If a sext gets sent to his phone, in most cases, he should just delete it. The only time you and he should think twice about that is in a situation where he’s the friend of a kid to whom a girl sent a photo of herself (either willingly or under pressure). He might be able to help keep the photo from going viral by reporting it to school administrators as evidence of something they need to stop. In that situation, your child could really be helping a friend or two by having the school stop the problem from getting worse.

Certainly also tell your child NEVER to forward a “sext.” At the very least that’s mean and disrespectful. At the worst, it could be seen as trafficking in child porn.

And by all means, if you have any influence with your kids, be sure they’re not creating these photos, whether they somehow find themselves in disrespectful relationships or are floating in a “romantic” bubble of denial that says, “Maybe other people would share these private photos with anyone, but we never would.” They must know by now that all digital media can easily be copied and pasted into the permanent searchable archive called the Internet!

But here’s what kids are most concerned about, and rightfully so: One expert at a recent online-safety conference said that, if you peel off all the legal and moral layers in these situations, what you usually get, if not outright cruelty, is the violation of a friend’s trust. This isn’t about technology or something new under the sun. It’s about learning to respect your peers and community online and off

Yes, even when tethered to the 24/7 reality-TV drama that is school life.

Related links

ConnectSafely.org‘s Tips to Prevent Sexting.

* About being tethered to “The Drama” of school life.

* MTV study (released a week or so before Pew’s last December) offering insights on “digital abuse” and sexting <http://www.netfamilynews.org/2009/12/new-study-on-digital-abuse-youth.html>

Kid, 18, Sends Stupid Photo via Email. Now He’s A Sex Offender

Hi Readers: This is a GREAT column about a truly insane decision by a parent, a prosecutor, a judge and a jury. In other words, by modern day America. (It’s also a good way to remind your teens: Do NOT send sexy photos.) Read it and think how the Puritans are running the ship. — Lenore