SnapChat & Sexting

One of the most popular apps categories amongst young adults and teens are social/messaging apps.  There are a plentiful supply of them too.  Vine, Kik, WhatsApp, LINE, pinger, KakaoTalk, WeChat, Tango, Telegram, and of course Snapchat.

Image from CyberSmart

Snapchat is a particularly interesting one from a business perspective since it is a company that has no revenue to speak of, yet it recently attracted and rejected a $3 billion buy-out offer from Facebook.  SnapChat’s claim to fame has been the ability to send “temporary” images between a closed group of “friends” with the confidence that the picture, after a number of seconds will disappear, never to be seen again.  Well thats the theory, anyway.  While this opens the floodgates for many and varied hilarious images to be sent back and forth, it also has had a massive impact on the ease and supposed confidence to engage in sexting.

Now, what is SEXTING?

Sexting is the modern conjunction given to the act of sexually explicit texting.  The concept of texts is used in this term because previously, the only way to do this was to snap a photo with your 1 megapixel camera on your clamshell mobile phone, and place the lo-res grainy image in an SMS/MMS message and send it.  All this with the knowledge that the image would then forever remain on the recipients phone until they chose to delete it.  But it didn’t really matter because no-one could make out what the image was of anyway! 🙂

Enter Snapchat and the advent of up to 41 MegaPixel(MP) camera perched in a mini computer that is your smart-phone in your pocket.  As an example, I have a stunningly detailed canvas picture on my wall which is approximate 1 meter wide.  The photo on the canvas was taken with a popular smart phone at the time with a 5MP Camera.  A 41MP could potentially be blown up as a picture to be displayed on the side of a skyscraper with great clarity.

What is the RISK?

So, I hear you saying, “if the photo disappears, why are we concerned?”

The reality is that it is notoriously difficult to remove data from mobile devices simply because of the way data is stored. Since mobile devices are so regularly recycled for newer versions, this means that Snapchat photos may inadvertently be passed on to unknown persons, when users are under the impression they no longer exist.  If you know how, it is relatively easy to retrieve them with forensic software.

 What do I need to be aware of?

There are a couple of things to be aware of, depending on your role in the use of SnapChat and other similar apps, and how they are being utilised.

A Concerned Parent

Ensure you have open communication with your child.  Explain the risks, and ensure that they are aware that even when they think images are totally gone, in reality they most likely are not.

Here are some sites which may help:

And while this link will expire on the 18th of Dec – I recommend watching the ABC2 Documentary “Suicide and Me
There is an astounding stat at the start – every 10 minutes, someone in Australia makes an attempt on their own life.  This program deals with, amongst other things, how to communicate with someone who might be considering drastic actions.

A Sexster

What you do with your phone is absolutely your choice – unless you are under-age, or the phone is not yours.  If you want to find out what the potential effects could be, or if you have been the victim of an embarrassing mis-use of a photo you intended to be private, you may want to review some of these sites:

Closing Comment

“Teen sexting is a very rational act with very irrational consequences.” Danah Boyd

This is not a practice exclusive to “Teens” – it is practiced by many age brackets – during my somewhat disturbing research on this article, I encountered many images I could easily have done without ever seeing.  There are many beautiful women exposing themselves and many not so aesthetic male and female images as well.  Both are doing it either through a lack of self worth, or simply without understanding the consequences of they are doing.  Either way, when their trust is broken by someone publicising the image without their authorisation, chances are the victim is going to be feeling pretty low at the time.   Great care is needed in communicating with them.  Not condemning, or punishing.  That could be the trigger for the victim taking an even more drastic course of action.

While we are not counsellors here at Askkiz, we certainly have some knowledge and technology to help in regards to the activities discussed.  Give us a call if you would like to take proactive steps to help minimise the effects, or stop it from happening in the first place.

For a little extra assistance in detecting Sexting activities, you can use the following list to help translate some of the acronyms used in communications.

Common Sexting Slang Terms

sexting

Warning: some of these terms are vulgar. This list is nowhere close to exhaustive, words can be combined, removed, and invented on the fly.

8 Oral Sex
143 I Love You
cu46 See You For Sex
DUM Do You Masturbate?
GNOC Get Naked On Cam
GYPO Get Your Pants Off
GNRN Get Naked right Now
FMH F#&k Me Harder
IWS I Want Sex
IIT Is It Tight?
Q2C Quick To Come
RUH Are You Horny?
TDTM Talk Dirty To Me
S2R Send To Receive
NIFOC Naked In Front Of Computer
SorG Straight Or Gay?
JO Jerk Off
PAW Parents Are Watching
PIR Parent In Room
POS Parent Over Shoulder
YWS You Want Sex
WYCM Will You Call M?e
RU18 Are You 18?
CD9 / Code 9 Parent / Adult around
NALOPKT Not A Lot Of People Know This

Internal Social Media Policy Considerations

Social Media has become much more than just something you “do”… for some it is a way of life which demands to roam freely through the workplace.  Social media provides a big opportunity for your company to engage with both your employees and customers, but you have to be careful so that the interaction does not impact negatively.

An Internal Social Media policy deals with how staff members interact with each other, and how a staff members actions in the social forum affect the company, whether or not the action occurs on work premises or within work hours.

The video here briefly discusses six things which need to be considered in the creation of a solid Internal Social Media Policy.

ENJOY

Cyberbullying Terms

If you are looking for solutions to any problem associated with these terms – click here

Here is a list of some common terms used in context with cyberbullying, although this list is not exhaustive – you can view the referenced sources for more information.

  • Anonymizer: An intermediary which hides or disguises the IP address associated with the Internet user. Generally, this allows a person to engage in various Internet activities without leaving a digital footprint that can be tracked.
  • Bash Board: An online bulletin board on which individuals can post anything they want. Generally, posts are malicious and hateful statements directed against another person.
  • Bullying: “Longstanding violence” – physical or psychological. Aggressive behavior or intentional “harm doing” by one person or a group, generally carried out repeatedly and over time.
  • Cyber Bullycide: Suicide stemming directly or indirectly from cyber bullying victimization.
  • Cyber Bullying: Willful or repeated harm inflicted through the medium of electronic text. Generally, the offender has perceived or actual power over the victim(s).
  • Cyber Stalking: Repeatedly sending message that include threats of harm or are highly intimidating; engaging in other online activities that make a person afraid for his or her safety.
  • Cyber Threats: Electronic material that either generally or specifically raises concerns that the creator may intend to inflict harm or violence to other or self.
  • Denigration: “Dissing” someone online. Sending or posting cruel gossip or rumors about a person to damage his or her reputation or friendships.
  • Digital Footprint: Evidence of a person’s use of the Internet. This includes anything that can be linked to his or her existence, presence, or identity.
  • Exclusion: Intentionally excluding someone from an online group, like a “buddy list” or a game.
  • Flaming / Flame War: Online fights using electronic messages with angry and vulgar language.
  • Friending:  The  act  of  requesting  another  person  to  be your  friend (and  thereby  formally connect with you) on a social networking Web site (like MySpace or Facebook).Harassment: Repeatedly sending offensive, rude and insulting messages.
  • Happy Slapping:  An  extreme  form  of  bullying  where physical assaults are recorded on mobile phones or digital 
  • cameras and distributed to others
  • Impersonation: Breaking into someone’s account, posing as that person and sending messages to make the person look bad, get that person in trouble or danger, or damage that person’s reputation or friendships.
  • IRC: Internet Relay Chat, a network over which real time conversations take place among two or more people in a “channel” devoted to a specific area of interest.
  • Offender / aggressor: The person who instigates online social cruelty.
  • Outing and trickery: Sharing someone’s secrets or embarrassing information online. Tricking someone into revealing secrets or embarrassing information, which is then shared online.
  • Trolling: Intentionally posting provocative messages about sensitive subjects to create conflict, upset people, and bait them into “flaming” or fighting.
  • Victim / Target: The one who is on the receiving end of online social cruelty.

Sources:
http://archive.adl.org/education/curriculum_connections/cyberbullying/Glossary%20of%20Cyberbullying%20Terms.pdf
http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/terms-you-should-know-about-cyber-bullying
http://www.cyberbullying.us/cyberbullying_glossary.pdf

The new battle – Social Media in the workplace

IT says NO Marketing say YES HR is the umpire

Workplace social media policy challenges

There are a number of challenges facing companies in relation to the use and misuse of Social Media by employees.

There are issues around

  • productivity
  • GenY expectations
  • control / moderation
  • data and confidential information leaks
  • company reputation
  • staff retention
  • cyberbullying

One of the biggest challenges, outside the threat of cyberbullying, is the war which rages between the  I.T., Marketing & H.R. departments.

Marketing Playground

Social Media is the biggest and best playground a Marketing department could hope for.  It’s like the greatest playground you can remember as a child; with swings, slides, roundabouts, climbing equipment, and every other possible bone crunching source of childhood enjoyment you can think of – multiplied by 100!!  The challenge for Marketing is controlling and maintaining the information which is presented, both by the company and it’s customers.

IT Challenges

For the IT department, Social Media is like a minefield, or one of those elite defence-force obstacle courses, with barbed wire, mud, huge vertical climbing walls, and moats with hungry sharks and ravenous piranhas in it with a single thin frayed thread to swing across it!  The only weapon available to IT departments to combat this threat has been a massive bomb dropped squarely on the source of the offending technology – block all access.

HR Considerations

1. Between a rock and a hard place

Then you have the HR department caught up in the middle.  The umpire who has to balance between creating an inviting workplace for new young employees, maintaining a high level of productivity, monitoring possibly destructive interactions between office personalities and departmental communication requirements.

2. Workplace bullying

Additionally, much like the challenges of cyberbullying in the school environment, Social media does not magically turn off, or disappear when the employee walks out of the office.  There have been many reports of employees being reprimanded and even fired due to inappropriate social media activity outside work hours.  As part of the profile settings on social sites like facebook and linkedin, people will often place their current employer on show.  As a result of this, any drunken status updates or activities they partake in, have the potential to reflect poorly on the organisation they work for at that time.

3. Monitoring, Detection and Action

Detecting activity such as this would generally be a manual process, and not often picked up by less socially-proactive or tech-savvy companies.  For every reprimand enforced, hundreds of reputation-damaging activities would simply go undetected.

Is there an answer?

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to free up IT resources so they can get on with the job of maintaining critical systems?  Wouldn’t it be great to give marketing the freedom to take full advantage of social media in a controllable environment to expand your company’s exposure?  Wouldn’t it be fantastic for the HR department to be able to concentrate on important workplace concerns, like staff retention and development?!

Wouldn’t it be great!

Has your company encountered any of these issues?  Have you seen examples of social media sabotage in your office?  Has productivity dropped as a result of relaxed internet policies?

Askkiz has been researching these topics for a number of months now, and we believe we have partnered with the perfect solution provider to assist in providing the right departmental balance, combat workplace bullying and protect your companies reputation online too.

The technology is unique in the marketplace and offers solutions to all the issues discussed above.

Contact us for more information
or call me directly – Kieran Cook – 0409 905 025

Review information related to the CyberSafe Office HERE

my anti-bullying technology search

Do you suffer weekday morning dread?

More often and intensely felt on Sunday afternoon/evening, in anticipation of walking through the office door on that dreaded Monday morning. This can be the curse of company executives, office workers, accountants, warehouse staff, delivery drivers, retail staff, teachers and even students as young as 5 years old

Many a time, it’s simply due to the fact that the person is not in their dream job. They wish they could do something better, but they’re just not motivated to do anything about it. That is a subject for a whole different conversation.       Other times though, it can be because of workplace or playground bullying.  Unlike many articles written these days where even the smallest incident is casually labelled “bullying”, I’m talking about a long term, methodical, calculated regime of either verbal, physical and/or emotional abuse.

According to the OHS Act 1986 (S.A.)

Workplace bullying means any behaviour that is repeated, systematic and directed towards an employee or group of employees that a reasonable person, having regard to the circumstances, would expect to victimise, humiliate, undermine or threaten and which creates a risk to health and safety.’

At some point in our lives, most people have been bullied in accord to this definition.  Either in the workplace, in social circles, at school.  Both my wife and I have first hand experience with this.  I was the target of relentless bullying at school.  My wife has been the victim of targetted attacks from her time in the workforce.

And at some point, either maliciously, or unwittingly, a lot of us have also been someone’s bully.

Some of you may have been aware of the significance of the recently past March 15th, 2013.  It represented the NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION AGAINST BULLYING AND VIOLENCE 2013.

Unfortunately, I did not personally see a lot of exposure to raise awareness of this event.  Then again, I may have missed it.  I avoid news media as much as possible, as I see a lot of it’s content as a form of bullying as well, but that is a different conversation again.

We now live in a world where bullying is no longer confined to work or school hours. Bullying is no longer about someone waiting for you every day outside school to beat you up, spit at you or hurl verbal abuse at you.  This all happens through digital communication mediums.  Text messages, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Blogs, Email, and the list goes on and on.

Unlike 10-20 years ago… you can no longer go home, shut the door and feel safe for a few hours.  Now when you arrive home… you get to face bullying alone in your bedroom, while you are alone with your phone, email or facebook profile.

This is where some recent research I have been doing comes in.

I initially started out wanting to provide parents with a tool which would allow them to monitor their school child’s behaviour online, and to be alerted when something untoward occurred during their time online.  On investigating a number of popular tools in this category, I realised 2 things.

  • The problem is too big to invest time into individual cases on my own. Certainly,  it needs to be done. However, I am just one person.  Much like the famed Elvis water dumping helicopter called in to assist with major bush fires, I believe my efforts would be best served tackling the issue at the organisational level.
  • Secondly, the technology I reviewed just didn’t cut it for what I felt was needed.
    • It either wasn’t intuitive enough for the average, non-technical parent to install, navigate and get the greatest effectiveness out of it
    • or, it simply lacked what I considered to be mandatory features to make it an effective tool for anti-bullying.

In addition to these points, it was made clear to me that bullying is NOT just a school issue.  It can, and does occur just as frequently in the workplace!!

So, my search took a slight detour to an Australian based organisation that I believe fits virtually all the points I was looking for.  I need to make clear here that no technology is EVER perfect.  No single piece of software, or technology will ever tick every single box required.  But of all the solutions I have found, this is about the closest I can find to perfect.

Among it’s many features, in addition to providing comprehensive protection at work or school, it ensures a safe environment while at home or out of the office.  This way school children, office workers, and tele-workers can be protected on and off site.

What does it provide in the way of protection? Read on:

  • identifies and blocks potential predators
  • blocks inappropriate communications (racism, sexual abuse etc etc)
  • identifies vulnerable victims of cyber-abuse and those considering self harm.
  • On the back of this, there are all sorts of customisable responses to these situations.
    • Blocking, Alerts, monitoring, even directing the person to something like the kids help line service, and alerting the school counsellor, or HR manager.

All of this is across multiple platforms – not just facebook, not just social media – while these categories feature heavily as areas of interest.

Are you a school principal?  Are you part of the pastoral care team?  Are you a HR manager, or involved in the HR process?  We need to talk.

I believe this technology has the capability to make vast improvements in the morale of both students and employees.  This in turn will improve productivity in both office work and homework. Without trying to sound melodramatic (although it’s hard not to) it can help to save lives.

There are too many stories of kids and adults taking their own lives as a result of bullying, both online, and offline.  I cannot provide anything to aide in the offline world… but this behaviour invariably spills into the online world.  If you have an early detection mechanism in place to assist at this level, your battle is half won!

Call me,
email me,
facebbook me.
contact me