Avoid Becoming a Bully’s Target


There’s always been bullying no matter where you go. Countless individuals are bullied at work, school, on the playground and many other places.

Unfortunately, the Internet is home to many of these bullying incidents as well. Year after year, you hear of suicides, related to online bullying. But why is the Internet such a hotspot for these incidents?

The Internet, as many know, has multiple access points. Mobile phones, tablets, and computers are the main doorways. Since this is the case, it allows anyone at any given time, the opportunity to view posted content. The worst part of all is that the content never really goes away, even if the original author deletes it.

When bullies target their victims in person, only a few individuals get to witness the incident. Sure, word of mouth helps with the missed incident for those who weren’t there, but it doesn’t give the whole picture. With the Internet, anyone is able to “attend” these confrontations, on any day and hour.

Is there a way to prevent yourself from becoming a target? Sure! It’s as easy as walking away from a fight in person. The Internet has many features, one of which is your good ole friend, Mr. Block Button. A lot of victims for some reason feel a need to defend themselves and stay in the fight, writing back numerous messages, in an attempt to salvage their reputation, but this isn’t necessary because it only seems to fuel the fire.

Placing someone on block is the best solution out there. You don’t need to continue the altercation for any reason. If you haven’t done anything wrong, simply walk away. It’s honestly the best solution out there. That way, you don’t have to see the many messages from users, encouraging the fight to continue. Many of us have lots of stress and fighting online shouldn’t have to be your extra weight. Follow the best solution by blocking those who wish to bully you. You’ll be glad you did!

Kik Messenger; Is It Safe?


A lot of teens love spending time on the Internet these days and that’s no surprise. Every day, teens around the world spend hours on social media, forums, video games and programs like Omegle, a web-based chat program, with webcam and audio abilities.

One of the popular phone applications is Kik messenger, a free to use chat messenger program, designed to communicate with other Kik users around the world. Its structure is simple to use, easy to install and to sign into. Unfortunately, like many other technologies, it comes with a dark side.

Since the start of Kik messenger, many teenagers and young adults have become victims of online bullying by users of the program. We’re not only talking about name calling, but the distribution of illegal imagery as well. The Cyber Crime Response Agency, as well as many other organizations, have received reports of this conduct from thousands of individuals. The numbers, unfortunately only seem to rise each year.

“Some of the users are your normal teenagers and young adults.” Said Stephen Bernardoni, Vice Executive Director of the CCRA. “But most of these users disguise themselves as teenagers, in order to make other young users more comfortable with sending their illegal images.” Bernardoni continued. “They’re actually any age, from young to middle-aged adults. They create these lies to gather the photos and then submit them onto the dark web.”

CCRA stated that from 2014 to the beginning of 2016, they received multiple calls from Kik users, stating they met someone on the program, befriended them, then were told if they didn’t send a certain amount of money to that user, their sexual images would be sent to their friends and family.

“We don’t want society to believe there isn’t a way out.” Bernardoni said. “We also don’t want them under the impression that sending sexual images, especially to strangers, doesn’t come with a heavy price to pay.” He continued.

In a nutshell, images you don’t want your family to see shouldn’t be sent to anyone. It’s also a good idea to avoid parts of the Internet, where high crime is present. Kik is no exception. Although there are block features, it’s still fairly easy for predators to contact new victims, by viewing websites and mobile apps that provide the ability to see Kik usernames and ages.

As if predators weren’t already a big enough issue on Kik, the support and management team of Kik haven’t been so “helpful” towards victims and law enforcement.

“We’ve tried contacting Kik support several times in the past, attempting to shut down sexual predator ring groups and users, but they appear to place those types of requests in the back of their queue. Bernardoni exclaimed. “I don’t know if they truly want to help law enforcement or us, especially since they rarely keep chat logs on their server.”

The CCRA ended the interview, stating they would highly suggest avoiding the Kik program completely. There is absolutely no point to moving into a high crime neighborhood, knowing of the dangers and try living a normal life. Don’t avoid reality; protect yourself and your family.

How to Prevent Identity Theft

  

Here are a few basic steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft and pretext calling.

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Identity theft is the fraudulent use of a person’s personal identifying information.

Often, identity thieves will use another person’s personal information, such as a Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, date of birth, or account number to open fraudulent new credit card accounts, charge existing credit card accounts, write share drafts, open share accounts, or obtain new loans.

They may obtain this information by:

  • Stealing wallets that contain personal identification information and credit cards.
  • Stealing credit union statements from the mail.
  • Diverting mail from its intended recipients by submitting a change of address form.
  • Rummaging through trash for personal data.
  • Stealing personal identification information from workplace records.
  • Intercepting or otherwise obtaining information transmitted electronically.

How Can Your Credit Union Help?

Credit unions often offer their members identity theft protection for their accounts, as well as resources to help recognize and prevent identity theft. Contact your local credit union to learn more about the identity theft services it may offer.

Steps to Protect Your Privacy

Do not share personal information, such as account numbers or social security numbers, over the telephone, through the mail, or over the Internet, unless you initiated the contact or know with whom you are dealing.

Store personal information in a safe place and tear up old credit card receipts, ATM receipts, old account statements, and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.

Protect your PINs and other passwords. Avoid using easily available information such as your mother’s maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your Social Security number, your phone number, as identity thieves can use this information to access your accounts.

Carry only the minimum amount of identifying information and number of credit cards that you need.

Pay attention to billing cycles and statements. Contact the credit union if you do not receive a monthly bill. It may mean that the bill has been diverted by an identity thief.

Check account statements carefully to ensure all charges, share drafts, or withdrawals you authorized.

Guard your mail from theft. If you have the type of mailbox with a flag to signal that the box contains mail, do not leave bill payment envelopes in your mailbox with the flag up. Instead, deposit them in a post office collection box or at the local post office. Promptly remove incoming mail.

Note: Consumers are entitled to one free credit report from each credit reporting bureau annually.

To prevent plagiarism, any articles obtained from a third-party are given credit:

http://www.mycreditunion.gov/Protect/Pages/Prevent-Identity-Theft.aspx

How Predators Trick Their Victims

  
The verbage such as “grooming” means a method, which online predators lure minors into Internet relationships. These predators start their conversations, and this sets the stage for online relationships. More occurring then not, the suspects main goal is to set up an in person meeting, so that he or she can start sexual acts with the minor.

Social networking is one of the most preferred venues for grooming to occur. Predators will create fake social accounts as a way to hide their real identity, should anyone they know view their profile. They may use real photos of themselves, but normally their name and age will be completely fake. Predators then use social media tools, like graph, to view sites for potential victims.

After a predator has chosen their victim, the next process is to create contact in a manner that makes the victim want to continue. Here are some tactics that predators use when grooming their victims:

Pretend to have common interests

These predators will often research the victims social media profile in order to find ways to break the ice and start their discussion

Give out excessive compliments

Minors are in transition, both physically and mentally, and this means they are most likely to be confused and insecure. These groomers will take advantage of these feelings by constantly throwing complements their way, in order to make them feel special.

Establish trust and secrecy

Predators are normally the first to bring up that their relationship with the minor must be kept secret. This usually occurs after the minor has become emotionally involved and developed a trust in the groomer.

Manipulate the victim’s thoughts

Manipulation plays an important role in grooming, because groomers have to brainwash their victims into thinking that they are in a trusting relationship, and that the relationship is normal.

Make large and common promises

Predators will get an idea of their victims desires and things they’d like to do in their life, and they all claim those desires as their own as well. They’ll make promises, such as sending money, gifts, dinners, cars, vacations, etc. The suspect’s main goal is to create a situation where the victim believes this person can actually provide all the promises they make.

Exploit victims’ sexual curiosity

Teenagers are normally curious about sex, and online predators are well aware of this. They will use the topic of sex to keep their victims interested. Teenagers might view conversations about sex and sexual acts as something that is normal, which can make them even more vulnerable in the hands of a predator.

Make threats or use blackmail to control

Great lengths are gone by predators, to stay in control of their victims. If a victim questions the illegal activity and relationship, or attempts to stop it, the suspect may issue threats as a way to keep their victim under control. Threats could be made directly towards the minor or their family. This normally results in the victim continuing the relationship, due to fear alone.

It is always the best idea to keep computers in high traffic areas of the house. Limit the amount of time that minors are alone with the computer and if need be, install security programs, such as net nanny, to give you an idea of the websites and keywords, that are typed in.

Man Attacked by Car, Falsely Accused Predator

  
DETROIT, Mich – Family and friends of a tween targeted on Kik messenger discovered who they believed was the suspect and depending on who you talk with, took things too far.

“They hit him with a car,” said Tina Pace, mother of the suspected man who was attacked. “They rolled him over and everybody is jumping out of cars and they were walking him like they were police, back towards the school.”

Tina Pace said it was vigilante justice gone wrong. Her 19-year-old son was targeted, attacked and hit by a car because several individuals thought he was praying on an 11-year-old through the kik messenger program.

“He was called the worst name you can call a person,” Pace said “To be called a pedophile, for a person who loves children, that’s the worst thing you can call a person.”

It happened the morning of March 28, after her son dropped off his 13-year-old brother at Regent Park Academy, the same school the 11-year-old girl attends.

A man followed him as he went towards Tina and his five-year-old brother – then several cars approached.

“A little silver car hits him and he rolls over the hood,” Pace said. “She deliberately tried to hit him.”

Tina claims the 11-year-old girl’s mother was behind the wheel. Detroit police later said he had nothing to do with the kik message.

Better Protect Yourself Online

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The Internet has drastically changed the way that children interact with the world. They have access to in-depth knowledge, tools to express their creativity, and people from all over the world. Yet along with offering a fascinating, new way to connect with the world, the Internet also offers new risks

  • Cyberbullying
  • Exposure to inappropriate material
  • Online predators
  • Revealing too much personal information

Learning to recognize the warning signs of these risks will allow trusted adults to intervene and lessen potential negative impacts. By acting as a resource, parents and guardians can help make the Internet a safer place for their families. As a parent or guardian, you should stay well-informed about current issues to understand what your children are experiencing on and off the Internet. If they are social networking, instant messaging, using webcams, or blogging, help them use these tools safely by learning how to use them yourself. Children whose parents and guardians regularly talk to them about personal safety are more likely to exhibit responsible behavior on their own.

  • Keep the computer in a high-traffic area of your home.
  • Establish limits for which online sites children may visit and for how long.
  • Remember that Internet technology can be mobile, so make sure to monitor cell phones, gaming devices, and laptops.
  • Surf the Internet with your children and let them show you what they like to do online.
  • Know who is connecting with your children online and set rules for social networking, instant messaging, e-mailing, online gaming, and using webcams.
  • Continually dialogue with your children about online safety.

Hazards of Sharing Sexual Images

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We’ve all heard the stories, whether it came from a friend in school or maybe even a work colleague. Someone did it again – they shared a sexual image with someone who they had an attraction with. Seems like a harmless act, that many people would do to someone they like. Wrong! That image just ended up on a revenge pornography site and on multiple cell phones, as a text message.

Now it seems as if the pictured person’s life is ending, minute by minute. With many text messages being sent to the pictured party, their stress level has just shot up, like a cannon ball launching in a battle. What all can this person do to stop it? The answer is simple – not much.

Believe it or not, many cruel individuals create websites, devoted strictly to ruining the reputations of others; even those who the website owners don’t personally know. Take for instance the website You Got Posted, which was created by Kevin Bollaert. Luckily, law enforcement and lawyers were able to obtain enough evidence and place him as the main suspect in the website creation, resulting in his arrest. The website has been shut down since the arrest, however many servers still hold data that was once on the live webpage.

Although many individuals feel great about sending private photos of themselves to people who they are attracted to, this act normally always comes with a negative consequence: photo sharing. Do you think the person you sent this image to is most likely going to keep it for themselves? Absolutely not. In many surveys, individuals admitted to sending sexual images they received to their friends and colleagues. To make matters worse, those parties who received the images also sent them to additional friends and co-workers. Now that one image sent has turned into 30 copies!

What’s the best way to prevent private images from being distributed? Simple; by not sending them at all! What’s the best way to maintain  a positive reputation? Simple; by not sending private images. Many people feel their friends and lovers can be trusted, however, we can’t see into the minds of others, so we have no idea what their next move is, in fact, most who sent their images to others, didn’t even expect their photos to end up distributed. They were left with not only a helpless feeling, but a feeling of betrayal.

The Cyber Crime Response Agency recommends that no image should be taken, which is considered provocative, sexual in nature or unprofessional. Sure, you might not be sending it out to many folks, or any at all, but that doesn’t mean your device cannot be hacked, resulting in the hacker obtaining those images! The best practice regarding images is to not take any photos you wouldn’t want your family to see. Think before you send! Once you send something, you can never take it back!