Book: Growing Up Social by Gary Chapman

Growing up social by Gary Chapman & Arlene Pellicane - Children

Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen Driven World.

How is social media influencing the dynamics within your family?
Do digital devices foster closeness or create distance?

While we may all know the right answer, we acknowledge the immense challenge of resisting the pervasive digital era we live in. In a world that is constantly rushing, it becomes incredibly convenient to momentarily occupy a child with a screen, enabling us to attend to household chores, cooking, and the demands of daily life.

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Increased youth suicide rates linked to Netflix ’13 Reasons Why’

Study associating youth suicide with Netflix '13 reasons why'
Study associating youth suicide with Netflix ’13 reasons why’ – Image: Beth Dubber/Netflix

Two separate studies were released assessing the monthly suicide rates among various age groups with the release of the Netflix show ’13 Reasons Why’. The popular Netflix show depicted the suicide of its main protagonist which had alarmed mental health experts who were concerned about how this may influence and it’s effect on young viewers. The first study found that the suicide rate among 10 to 17-year-olds boys increased significantly in the month after the release and remained higher for the subsequent 2 months. They found no significant changes in the suicide rates among older age ranges. The second study, conducted by a separate team, came to the same conclusion. In the 3 months after the Netflix show’s release, youth suicide rate for 10 to 19-year-olds rose by 13%. This study was done on both male and female youths.

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Teen Cyberbullying on the Internet [Infographic]

The Parents Guide to Bullying

The truth about bullying, how it effects your child, and what you can do to help.

Some sobering statistics from the infographic:

  • 85% of bullying occurs inside of school
  • 82% with learning disabilities have been bullied at school
  • 70% of student say bullying is a problem at their school
  • 44% middle schoolers experience bullying problems
  • 43% of kids have been bullied online
  • 1 in 10 students drop out of school due to repetitive bullying.
  • yet… 80% of bullying acts aren’t reported to parents
  • 43% of kids were bullied while online
  • 35% of kids have been threatened online
  • yet… 58% who experience cyberbullying have not told their parents or an adult

Results in:

  • 14% of high school students have considered suicide
  • … 7% have attempted it


Know the warning signs:

It’s important that we all understand that it’s very possible that bullying could be occurring without our notice. Below are some “warning signs” that are recommended from the infographic. However note that these signs are just potential signs and it’s also important to not assume things or overanalyze behavior that is often just common to teens. One advice is to just be involved in their lives, know what’s going on, what is stressing them, what makes them happy so that communicate stays open.

  • disconnects from people and isolates self
  • physical problems such as headaches and stomachaches
  • difficulty concentrating
  • difficult falling/staying asleep or experience frequent nightmares
  • seems listless, unenthusiastic and disinterested in many aspects of life
  • hyper vigilant, extremely nervous, depressed or emotionally explosive

Teen Bullying and Cyberbulling Guide

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Twitter to Censor Tweets by Country – You be Quiet!

Twitter Censorship Content

Twitter Can Censor Your Content

Twitter has announced through it’s blog that it could “reactively withhold content from users in a specific country”. Basically, twitter is saying it has the right to remove content if it is against the laws of a particular country or if needed by special request.

This created a bit of controversy.

Is upholding Freedom of Speech important enough to break local laws?

Twitter Controversy – Freedom of Speech > Local Laws?

Freedom of information advocacy groups criticized the decision, afraid that it curbs the freedom of information and expression. Their concern is that it opens a dangerous precedent. Twitter’s response is that as they enter countries “that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression,” that they need to comply to such laws. One example is France and Germany banning pro-Nazi content. Of course, there are more controversial bans such as China’s famous suppression of information regarding Tienanmen Square, and more recently the killing sites discussing human rights issues during the Beijing games.

Google famously refused to cave into China’s censorship rules thus was never able to gain ample market share in the region. However remember China is a unique case of extreme censorship control.

Twitter has said that they have not used this ability yet, but if they do, they said “we will attempt to let the user know, and we will clearly mark when the content has been withheld”. They also admitted that some country’s views on this issue is so divergent that they won’t be able to exist there at all. China is one such country where twitter has been banned altogether due to being a source of news the government does not look kindly on.

Questions to Ponder about Twitter

  • Is Freedom of Speech being violated considering this Local Laws of other countries may differ?
  • Should we demand Twitter to uphold Freedom of Speech, if it means ignoring Local Laws if other countries?
  • Is Freedom of Speech a right that goes beyond Laws, a higher right that everyone deserves?

[poll id=”30″]

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Social Networks Help or Hurt Social Interaction?

Facebook Logo - Large SquareImpact of Social Media on Real Life Social Interaction

The impact of social media on actual live social interaction really cuts both ways. Yes it does open a venue in which people can hide behind their computer, interact through online personalities, and perhaps under-develop their social abilities. It’s so much easier to comment or like someone’s post or post up updates about your own life. But in the same time, it does open a venue in which friends can interact more often which in itself can lead them to hang out more in the real world and keep up with one another when you probably wouldn’t have done so in the real world to begin with. There are many arguments and reports that go both ways, and I am certain it’s not black and white as many arguments on both sides are valid.

Social Mythbusting Report

One such study was released by ExactTarget and CoTweet, which showed the large social networking sites are not having a negative effect on face-to-face relations. Note the claim is face-to-face relation, not necessarily negative effects in social ability or personal development or any other topics that are tempting to drag into the conversation.

The study consisted of studying a series of focus groups of 44 people as well as a survey of 1,506 US citizens. The research showed that among people who report they’re using Facebook more than before, 27% say they hang with friends in person more often as well. 13% say they hang out less. A full 60% said there is no significant impact whatsoever. The trend is even greater amongst Twitter users showing 46% say they hang out with friends more while 7% said less.

Issues with Social Media Report

Of course let’s keep a few things in mind before we just consume anything and everything media tells us. If we didn’t we wouldn’t be Clean Cut Media!

First, the CoTweet is a social media management tool, meaning it benefits from good press for social media. If Facebook came out with a report saying users of Facebook tends to have more friends and happier lives, you would take it with a grain of salt right? Same here. I am not questioning their validity of the data, but when you conduct experience but are hoping for a specific result – it can have an impact on the methods that are used to carry it out.

Secondly, the data was gathered from people who are using Facebook and Twitter more than before. Let’s say you love watching NFL football, and over time you watch it more and more because you are getting more invested in your favorite team. Let’s say a study was conducted to determine if you have become more violent because you watch more NFL. Let’s be honest with ourselves, most likely, we wouldn’t be inclined to agree to that. Why? Because we like the NFL. We want to do more of it. We don’t want something to say what we do is bad for us. This is a huge factor in the discussion over violence with video games. If you like playing violent games, you are less likely to agree violent games make it more likely that in a strenuous situation that you may resort to violence. Seems like the same argument can be made for social media. You love facebook? You’ve been using it more and more? Your mom questions that it’s making you a social fart, that your skin color is getting pale, and you are becoming more distant – you would argue that point. “I am more aware of what my friends are going through.” “This let’s me grow closer to them.” “It gives me stuff to talk about.” “It’s fun.”

What are your thoughts?

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This is obvious an interesting discussion. What are your thoughts on this matter?

  • Does Social Sites like Facebook, help or hurt social interaction?
  • In what ways?
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The Social Network – Business Ethics in Movies

The Social Network Movie Image“…virtually all of the practices that nearly wrecked the global economy back in 2008 were legal—all of which goes to prove that just because something is legal doesn’t make it ethical or right… So the question isn’t “why?” but “why not?” If the only thing standing between you and millions, even billions, is other people’s disapproval, why not do what you want to do?”

Social Network the Movie- Business Ethics

The following is an excerpt from Breakpoint discussing Business Ethics. The question that is asked is:

If it is legal – does that make it ethical?

Thought it was interesting so wanted to share here. Enjoy.

Facebook’s Beginnings in The Social Network

Even before the critically acclaimed film The Social Network opened in theaters, there was one big financial winner: Newark, New Jersey’s public schools.

While critics were screening the movie, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million to the struggling school system. Not only that, he made the announcement on Oprah.

Apparently, Zuckerberg was looking for a little bit of good PR. He’s concerned that people who see the film may question his personal ethics. The more important concern ought to be, however, what the film says about business ethics in our culture.

I personally don’t have an opinion on whether the $100 million donation was a PR move versus perhaps something he wanted to do all along. Maybe his PR people told him to do it now versus later. Either way, I do want to acknowledge that this is a very nice gesture on his part and definitely hope to see more of it in the future.

  • What are your thoughts?
  • Do you think it was a PR move? Or do you think it was intended all along? or both?

The Social Network - Justin TimberlakeThe Social Network, based on the book The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich, tells what’s been called a “creation myth” about the wildly successful Facebook. The “myth” alternates scenes from Zuckerberg’s days at Harvard and depositions taken in connection with two lawsuits filed against him by former schoolmates.

One lawsuit alleged that that Zuckerberg stole the plaintiffs’ idea. The other lawsuit was brought by Zuckerberg’s best friend, who accused Zuckerberg of cheating him out of his share of Facebook.

Well, regardless of the legal merits of the allegations, Zuckerberg has reason to be concerned: His actions depicted in the film ranged from merely duplicitous to outright treacherous.

While the filmmakers have acknowledged taking some creative license, Zuckerberg’s ruthlessness is well-documented, which prompts the central question of the film: Why? In the film, the answer is that he’s an insecure outsider who wants to be one of the “cool kids.” Others have speculated that he suffers from autism spectrum disorder, which is unfair to autistic people: They may be socially awkward, but they are the farthest thing from ruthless.

The Social Network Movie ClipPersonal Failure or Broken Culture or Both?

This is where it get’s interesting. Everything Zuckerberg did was very legal. His lawyers made sure of that. but does it make it right? But if it’s legal why not? Interesting to think about.

Focusing on Zuckerberg’s foibles misses the point: The most important failure wasn’t personal but cultural. Every one of the actions depicted in the film was arguably legal: You don’t have a proprietary interest in an idea. Zuckerberg’s friend signed away his interest in Facebook because he wrongly thought that Zuckerberg’s lawyers were looking after his interests as well.

Similarly, virtually all of the practices that nearly wrecked the global economy back in 2008 were legal—all of which goes to prove that just because something is legal doesn’t make it ethical or right. Any lawyer worth his hourly billings can find a way to exploit weaknesses in the system.

So the question isn’t “why?” but “why not?” If the only thing standing between you and millions, even billions, is other people’s disapproval, why not do what you want to do? Especially since you can subsequently buy their approval with a check and an appearance on Oprah?

Of course, if this becomes normative, then the kind of trust that makes free markets possible would dry up, which is exactly what happened in the aftermath of sub-prime crisis. Lenders have money to lend—what they lack is confidence in borrowers’ ability or willingness to repay.

What is your take? Thoughts?

  • Love to here your thoughts on this matter?
  • Are you going to watch the movie? If you have, how was it?
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Pretzel Crisp says “You Can Never Be Too Thin”

Disclaimer: The narrator in the video calls the campaign “bull****” at the of the video.

You Can Never be Too Thin – Pretzel Crisp

In early August, Pretzel Crisp launched an an ad campaign in New York City with several slogans including “You can never be too thin”. The ad was found everywhere from ad stands to bus stands and in subway stations. Immediately the news took hold of the blogosphere spread the the power of social media, but the attention was clearly not the attention Pretzel Crisp intended.

Pretzels Never Too Thin Marketing

Photos of the ad was posted on a women’s blog called Jezebel followed by a scathing and condemning posts angry at the implications of such a message: “you can never be too thin”. The slogan was brought up as a “thinspiration” motto used by the pro-anorexic community. It was deemed wrong and completely irresponsible as it promotes unhealthy weight loss. The photo was posted and reposted on numerous blogs and spread through articles, tweets and videos from other bloggers.

Pretzel Crisp’s Response to Thin Message

The company responded to the flurry with a tweet on it’s twitter account. The response? “Thin just happens to be a good word to describe the shape of our product.” As the issue became bigger and bigger, the VP of Marketing started to show up on interviews with bloggers to explain the situation. He explained that they were a small company and simply wanted to launch an attention grabbing ad. Well if that was the goal, they achieved what they wanted!

Pretzel Crisp soon tweeted that “We didn’t intend to advocate unhealthy weight loss with our ads. Thanks to all for the feedback. The ads will be taken down asap.” The people rejoiced. Justice was served, or so they thought. The ads were replaced with one of the other pro-anorexic play on words, “Taste as good as skinny feels”.

Outrage ensued again, but this time Pretzel’s response was that “you can never be too thin” was but one of four slogans and only that particular ad had negative responses. So they did the logical thing to replace that particular ad with one of the other three.

A week later, the company finally agreed to take down all their ads.

Many bloggers feel that this may have been a publicity stunt to raise more awareness of their brand. Though I am certain they were not expecting this level of response.

Thoughts on Pretzel Crisp’s Ads

My opinion?

It seems like Pretzel just made a really bad mistake. They thought they had a clever advertising motto as they tried to convey their Pretzels’ thin shape. They did the right thing in quickly responding to the criticisms and taking action. Where they made the mistake was claiming ignorance in saying they only thought one of their ads were causing the problem. If they would have taken them all down, the impression they would have left with people could have been very different.

But I don’t think they had any intention of promoting a pro-anorexic message. Also as exciting as the idea of them plotting this as a publicity stunt – it unlikely they did that as well. Not with a touchy subject such as anorexia.

Take our Poll! Let us know how you feel in comments!

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  • What is your opinion?
  • Intentional or a Bad Mistake?
  • Does this ad anger you?
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Third of US Teenagers sends 3,000+ Texts a Month

1 in 3 Teenagers Send 3,000+ Texts a Month

Texting TeenagersPrepare for an overload of Teenager Texting Statistics:

  • Half of teens send 50 or more text messages a day, or 1,500 texts a month. One in three send more than 100 texts a day (or more than 3,000 texts a month.)
  • 15% of teen texters send more than 200 texts a day, or more than 6,000 texts a month.
  • Boys send and receive 30 texts a day while girls send and receive ~80 messages per day.
  • Teen texters ages 12-13 send and receive about 20 texts a day.
  • 14-17 year-olds who text, send and receive 60 text messages a day.
  • Older girls who text are the most active, with 14-17 year-old girls sending 100+ messages a day or more than 3,000 texts a month!
  • 22% of of teen texters send and receive just one to 10 texts a day, or 30 to 300 texts a month.
  • Just the Girls

    • Girls typically send and receive 80 texts a day; boys send and receive 30.
    • 86% of girls text message friends several times a day; 64% of boys do the same.
    • 59% of girls call friends on their cell phone every day; 42% of boys call friends daily on their cell phone daily.
    • 59% of girls text several times a day to “just say hello and chat”; 42% of boys do so.
    • 84% of girls have long text exchanges on personal matters; 67% of boys have similar exchanges.
    • 76% of girls text about school work, while 64% of boys text about school.

    Teens & Texting Report - Text Messaging

    More interesting tidbits about Teens & Texting –

    • A third of U.S. teenagers with cellphones send 100+ texts a day as texting has exploded to become the most popular means of communication for young people, according to new research.
    • The Pew Research Center said that three-fourths of young people between the ages of 12 and 17 now own cellphones and of those that do, girls typically send or receive 80 text messages per day and boys, 30 per day.
    • Study author Scott Campbell said focus groups conducted by Pew also offer insight into the subtleties of teen communication and culture, revealing for example that, while boys don’t typically use punctuation, for girls such nuances are critical.

    “If a girl puts a period at the end of a text message (to another girl) then it comes across as she’s mad,” Campbell said, which explains the prevalence of smiley emoticons.

    “They have these practices because they’ve learned that texts can lead to misunderstandings,” Lenhart said. “It’s a deliberate thing and it’s also part of a culture that’s interested in differentiating itself from adult culture.”
    Cell Phone Text Image

    • The mobile phone has become the favored communication hub for the majority of American teens.
    • Cell-phone texting has become the preferred channel of basic communication between teens and their friends, with cell calling a close second. Some 75% of 12-17 year-olds now own cell phones, up from 45% in 2004. Those phones have become indispensable tools in teen communication patterns. Fully 72% of all teens2 — or 88% of teen cell phone users — are text-messagers. That is a sharp rise from the 51% of teens who were texters in 2006. More than half of teens (54%) are daily texters.
    • Among all teens, their frequency of use of texting has now overtaken the frequency of every other common form of interaction with their friends (see chart below).

    How are Parent’s Responding to it All?

    For parents, teens’ attachment to their phones is an area of conflict and regulation.

    Parents exert some measure of control over their child’s mobile phone — limiting its uses, checking its contents and using it to monitor the whereabouts of their offspring. In fact, the latter is one of the primary reasons many parents acquire a cell phone for their child. However, with a few notable exceptions, these activities by parents do not seem to impact patterns of cell phone use by teens.

    • 64% of parents look at the contents of their child’s cell phone and 62% of parents have taken away their child’s phone as punishment.
    • 46% of parents limit the number of minutes their children may talk and 52% limit the times of day they may use the phone.
    • 48% of parents use the phone to monitor their child’s location.
    • Parents of 12-13 year-old girls are more likely to report most monitoring behavior.
    • Limiting a child’s text messaging does relate to lower levels of various texting behaviors among teens. These teens are less likely to report regretting a text they sent, or to report sending sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude images by text (also known as “sexting”).
    • Teens whose parents limit their texting are also less likely to report being passengers in cars where the driver texted behind the wheel or used the phone in a dangerous manner while driving.

    Cell Phone Uses Functionality

    • 83% use their phones to take pictures.
    • 64% share pictures with others.
    • 60% play music on their phones.
    • 46% play games on their phones.
    • 32% exchange videos on their phones.
    • 31% exchange instant messages on their phones.
    • 27% go online for general purposes on their phones.
    • 23% access social network sites on their phones.
    • 21% use email on their phones.
    • 11% purchase things via their phones.

    Texting & Driving

    • Half (52%) of cell-owning teens ages 16-17 say they have talked on a cell phone while driving. That translates into 43% of all American teens ages 16-17.
    • 48% of all teens ages 12-17 say they have been in a car when the driver was texting.
    • 40% say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put themselves or others in danger.

    What are your Thoughts?

    That my friends, is a ton of statistical information. What is clear is that texting has become the favored form of communication for teenagers. 100-200 texts a day? Many will grow to have finger arthritis at that rate. But seriously, what are your thoughts in all this?

    Though I see it can be beneficial in being able to stay constantly connected to friends, what I fear the most is that when teenagers grow up relying on less personal mediums that do not requires face-to-face interaction – it could have some negative effects in the way a teenager is able to relate to people in real life situations. It is so easy to text something, especially something seemingly uncomfortable, then to pick up a phone and call or *gasp*.. meeting up with someone. It creates a easy way to not experience the real work of building personal relationship. Just a thought. What do you think?

    • Do you feel there is little harm in youths sending 100 texts a day?
    • Do the benefits of constant connection outweigh the detriments of losing real social interaction?
    • How many TEXTs do YOU send a day?
    • If you don’t mind – kindly state your age (or age range) since I am going to go out on the limb to assume different age groups will think very differently about this issue.
    • Take the Poll: Come Back to See Results:

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    Sexualization of Girls in Media – New Report

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    Sexualization of Girls Report by the APA

    American Psychological Association came out with a report that shows girl as young as 4 and 5 years old are wearing new clothing styles such as push-up bras, thongs, mini skirts and other adult type outfits. Following the onslaught of media images girls see on TV, there is a changing standard born out of the pressure these images give to children to “get with it” or “fit in”. This report brings up the decrease in self-esteem and the increase in depressions and eating disorders linked to the increasing sexualization by the media. It also emphasizes the increasing underage sex rate.

    Sexy Children Halloween Costumes
    Please don't let your daughters dress like this

    Defining Sexualization of Girls

    The APA taskforce on the Sexualization of Girls was formed in response to these public concerns. The APA taskforce also produced reports on the Violence in Mass Media, Advertising to Children, Video Games and Interactive Media among other similar reports. The “sexualization” process was defined having one of the following criterias.

    • a persons’ value comes only from his or her sexual appeal or behavior, to the exclusion of other characteristics;
    • a person is held to a standard that equates physical attractiveness with being sexy;
    • a person is sexually objectified – that is, made into a thing for other’s sexual use, rather than seen as a person with the capacity for independent action and decision making; and/or
    • sexuality is inappropriately imposed on a person

    Examples of Sexualization in Advertising

    Sexualization of Girls is pervasive throughout all media. The report outlines a few categories:

    • Ads – Sketchers “Naughty & Nice” – featured Christina Aguilera dressed as a schoolgirl in pigtails with her shirt unbuttoned, licking a lollipop
    • Dolls – Bratz Dolls – dressed in sexualized clothing such as miniskirts, fishnet stocking, and feather boas
    • Clothing – thongs sized for 7-10 year old, some printed with slogans such as “wink wink”
    • TV – Televised Fashion show in which adult models in lingerie were presented as young girls.

    In addition, I find the most powerful media messages are often a lot more subtle. It is true that the constant barrage of images of pretty women with questionable outfits changes what we consider the “norm” in terms of how we define “beauty” and what is “appropriate” behavior. However just as powerful, is the message found in the lifestyles of sitcom characters. People love watching sitcoms. They become attached to characters and they see the characters in the context of “life”. When people watch their beloved characters living a promiscuous lifestyle or behaving in a sexualized way (using their beauty to charm guys, chasing after pretty woman, gawking at a pretty girl who walks by) we take in these “behaviors” as normal reactions and how things actually are in the real world. We learn what is normal through what we observe in carefully constructed sitcoms that milk on what sells and let’s face it – sex sells.

    Interesting Studies of Sexualization in Report

    List of some interesting studies covered in the report:
    Note that these bulletpoints are not at all comprehensive.

    • Sexualization inhibits Mental Capacity – Women who were in bathing suits trying to conduct a test did poorly then when wearing sweaters. Men found no such drop off. Thinking about the body and comparing to sexualized cultural ideals disrupted mental capacity.(Frederickson, Roberts, Noll, Quinn, & Twenge 1998; Gapinski, Brownsell, & LaFrance, 2003)
    • Mental Health Problems – Researched links sexualization with 3 of the most common mental health problem of girls and woman: eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression (Abramson & Valene, 1991; Durkin & Paxton, 2002)
    • Diminishing Sexual Health – Self objectification linked directly with diminishing sexual health among adolescent girls measured by decreased condom use and sexual assertiveness. (Impett, Schooler, & Tomlman 2006). Negative effects such as shame due to sexualization may lead to sexual problems in adulthood (Brotto, Heiman & Tolman, in press)
    • Sexual Stereotypes – Girls and young woman who more frequently consume or engage with mainstream media content offer stronger endorsements of sexual stereotypes that depict women as sexual objects (Ward, 2002; Zurbriggen & Morgan, 2006)
    • Effects on Men – Exposure to narrow ideals of female sexual attractiveness make it difficult for some men to find an “acceptable” partner or to fully enjoy intimacy with a female partner (Schooler & Ward, 2006)

    Problem of Sexualization of Girls is Deep

    The problem is not just the clothing they wear or even what girls are learning about sex – the problem is that girls at a young age are being taught how to approach relationships and how to approach intimacy. Media is teaching girls that being sexy and using their sexuality is important. Even Disney is responsible for using pretty, skinny woman characters using their beauty to get what they want. In the real world, many big name celebrities also are using their “sexuality” for all it’s worth.

    Parents: Protect Your Child from Sexualization!

    The ultimate message is that parents must protect their child. Some may think it’s cute to allow their young daughter to wear t-shirts that say stuff like “Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me” (the main line from a popular song) or allow your daughters to those “cute” mini skirts or short-shorts that have things written on their bottoms. To buy them make-up kits as a child and teach them to adorn themselves with beauty products. But it won’t be funny when those very children becoming sexuality active by middle school and learn to objectify themselves, placing their self-worth on how they look.

    Download & Read the Full “Sexualization of Girls” Report Below

    • Please let us know what other good pieces of statistics or information you find below in the comments section!
    • Also what are your thoughts about the Sexualization of Girls? Do you see it as a big problem?
    • What do you think we can do?

    Summary: Executive Summary
    Full Report: Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls (PDF, 408K)

    The proliferation of sexualized images of girls and young women in advertising, merchandising, and media is harming girls’ self-image and healthy development. This report explores the cognitive and emotional consequences, consequences for mental and physical health, and impact on development of a healthy sexual self-image. – American Psychological Association

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    Nobel Peace Prize Nominates.. the Internet

    Nominees for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize includes a Russian human rights group, a Chinese dissident and of course the Internet.

    Nobel Peace Prize Emblem Logo
    Nobel Peace Prize Founder Alfred Nobel: Not Amused

    Say what?

    The Internet to Win the Nobel Peace Prize?

    Yes, the Internet was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. This is the year after Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize for doing nothing at the time he won. It sparked a lot of debate on the value of the Nobel Peace Prize as well as the whether the committee should ever award a nomination based on “potential” rather than concrete actions. Before discussing the Internet, let’s note the other real-human candidates that are known at this time.

    Svetlana Gannushkina – Russian Human Rights

    One nomination is a Russian human rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina and her group “Memorial”. Nominated by Erna Solberg, the head of Norway’s Conservative Party, this organization often leads the criticism against the Kremlin.

    “These are people who are at the forefront of human rights and are putting their lives at risk for their work,” Solberg told The Associated Press.

    Liu Xiaobo, Chinese Dissident

    Kwame Anthony Appiah, president of the PEN American Center and a Princeton philosophy professor mentioned that he had nominated Liu Xiaobo. Liu Xiaobo is a Chinese dissident who was jailed by the government. Kwame Anthony Appiah says that he nominated Liu due to his “distinguished and principled leadership in the area of human and political rights and freedom of expression.” The Chinese government is obviously against this nomination.

    “It would be completely wrong for the Nobel Prize committee to award the prize to such a person,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu

    George Ryan, Former Illinois Governor

    Francis A. Boyle, a law professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, nominated Former Illinois Governor George Ryan who is currently in jail for federal corruption charges. He was nominated for his campaign to abolish the death penalty.

    Alfred Nobel: Nobel Peace Prize 2010
    Alfred Nobel: 2010 Winner.. What the heck is an Internet?

    Would they really give the Nobel Peace Prize to the Internet?

    Last year’s choice of Obama already stirred a great deal of controversy as Obama had just joined office and had no real accomplishments that warranted the prize. Some felt that it cheapened the Award.

    This year, some speculate that due to the controversy the committee may select a conservative winner. Others say that last year is just more evidence that we can expect anything.

    Alfred Nobel left simple, vague instructions on how to select winners in his 1895 will. It was to promote “fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies”. It was meant for people who promoted peace through what they did. This definition has since been broadened by the Nobel Committee to also include human rights activist and the protection of the environment. The Nobel Committee is appointed by Norway’s parliament.

    Why mention Nobel Peace Prize on this Blog?

    The mere fact that the Internet is being nominated for what is considered one of the greatest awards today speaks volumes about how central internet has become.

    Plus the internet is a mixed bag. Yes the internet has brought upon great proliferation of information and news. Yes, it has connected people from all around the world. It has opened new doors and opportunities to collaborate. It has truly been amazing. However we also know the Internet has caused a whole new set of emotional issues. It has opened the world to wide spread pornography and other degrading material for easy access to all ages. It has caused more people to waste more time staring at a screen whether it be simply cruising the internet or playing online multi-player video games. Our children grow up watching 8 hours of screen time a day, a huge chunk of that watching videos or tv shows on the Internet. 8 hours per day. There are many studies and professionals who mourn at the influence of media on our children’s development.

    Nobel Peace Prize Nomination Process

    Before getting carried away, let’s remember that numerous people are nominated every year for the Nobel Peace Prize. The information regarding who was nominated is not released by the Nobel Foundation until 50 years after the prize, but some information is made public by the ones who nominate the candidate. Yes the Internet was nominated, but in the past so was Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini, and believe it or not Adolf Hitler, thought the latter was done out of protest to the nomination of a different candidate. Meanwhile candidates like Mohandas Gandhi was nominated several times but never awarded.

    • What is your first gut reaction to this news?
    • What do you think? Does the Internet warrant consideration?
    • Do you think if the Internet wins the Nobel Peace Prize, it cheapens the Prize?
    • Did the Internet bring about Peace in some way?
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