Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Accepted at Mumsnet & Cyber Bullying

Hi again, excellent news, Mumsnet has accepted me as a featured blogger! I'm so pleased! The only other time I've ever had anything “published” was when I was in school in year 9. We had to write a poem on any subject and it would possibly have been featured in a young poets book. I'm not very good at poems, so I scribbled something down at the last minute and it was rejected – probably because my facts about space were all wrong and made up. I can't remember what I wrote, but I think I may have made some planet names up and said something about another planet having a million moons? I re-entered the poem the year after, as I'd been studying the solar system in physics, so I was able to use actual facts and it was accepted. Although, I cringe looking at it now as it's awful, it's not really a poem, it's just a mash-up of facts (although at least they're true and I got a B in physics so I suppose it was good revision!).

A new radio volunteer joined us last week too for some work experience with our GBK Radio team to help with the production side of things. I'm not entirely sure of everything the radio team do at the moment, as they lock themselves away in their little radio production booth, but I know that they are currently working on recording new jingles for the upcoming radio shows. I'm sure whatever it is is WAY too complicated for me.

I've also been able to create a Google+ Business page for GreatBritishKids so more people can be updated on future news & press releases. Link to the page can be found here: https://plus.google.com/109528989796422524847/posts or alternatively by clicking on the Google+ badge on the menu on the right hand side of this page.

Google+ announced in August that they were rolling out a new verification badge program, making it so celebrities, public figures and those who have amassed vast quantities of people in their circles can verify their identities with a check mark and a small banner that rolls out next to their names. This sounds like an excellent idea (sounds slightly familiar too!), but as they're only offering this to extremely popular people, it's only protecting people from following fake celebrities, it doesn't necessarily protect the individuals themselves (the followers), or everyday people like you and me from speaking to normal people that claim to be someone else. However, this could be a valuable stepping stone in making the internet a safer place, as it stops the anonymity of some people which can help prevent cyber bullying.

A definition of Cyber Bullying is “the use of the Internet and related technologies to harm other people, in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner”. Unlike regular bullying, cyber bullying has the advantage (for the bully) of the ability to remain anonymous through the use of fake email account names, nicknames in chatrooms etc.

For someone at the receiving end of this torment, it can feel as though they have no other options left but to end their lives as they don't have anywhere safe to hide any more. I came across this article yesterday: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/facebook/8885876/Cyberbullying-victims-speak-out-they-were-anonymous-so-they-thought-they-could-get-away-with-it.html which talks about a girl whom was bullied over the internet to the point where she was self harming after users of the site Formspring told her that she should kill herself.

For those of you who don't know what Formspring is, it is a website where users can sign up and post under an account name or remain anonymous and post questions to other users on any topic. There is an option where users can block anonymous questions from being asked of them, however as most young people see this site as a bit of fun initially, or a test of character, they usually prefer to accept all comments. There has been a lot of controversy around this site due to the amount of suicides in which cyber bulling on websites such as Formspring is believed to be the root cause.

There is also an option to link a Formspring account up to a Facebook or Twitter account where you can invite your friends or followers to ask you anything. I have seen in the past that this gives people who you may even be friends with on Facebook, the opportunity to post nasty, anonymous questions to you. Again, like Facebook, Formspring requires new members to be 13 years or older to sign up to their services, however I also believe that like Facebook, there are many that will lie about their age to gain access.

Although Formspring itself participated in a White House Conference on Bullying Prevention. I think they need to look more at stopping bulling on their website, for both younger and older members, by moderating all comments posted on the site before allowing them to be posted to members, removing personal attacks and being more responsible for their members' safety and well-being.

Thanks for coming back again to read my posts. See you all soon!


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