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Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Internet and Television Addiction

Internet overuse is excessive computer use ( more than eight hours daily ), that interferes with life. This addiction is said to be one of the extreme addictive disorders. The first group affected is the teenagers and the other are the above 50 group; those facing the 'empty nest' ( children leaving home) phase. Sufferers may experience loss of sleep and loss of work, and periods of deep depression. The fantasy world of the internet helps them to psychologically escape unpleasant feelings or stressful situations. The more depressed a person gets the more chances there are, that they might use internet or watch television for filling the void.
Television addiction becomes a problem when a person does not want to watch TV but experiences an uncontrollable impulse to start or continue watching; while other priorities might be suffering. The withdrawal symptoms come in form of anxiety; watching TV over long periods of time causes lack of motivation and feelings of listlessness, depressions, and anger.

Sunday, 13 May 2012


Addiction occurs when an individual becomes physically dependent on a substance. Individuals may become addicted to or have compulsive behaviors in regard to almost anything, including sex, food, exercise, spending money, work, and the internet.
A combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors may incline individuals to developing addictions. Initially, the addiction gives a person an elevated feeling ( a high ); the person believes that he/she is in control and powerful. This desire may stem from underlying causes, such as depression, stress, or low self-esteem, yet others may just try out of curiosity or peer pressure. Once a person becomes addicted to a substance, it causes chemical changes in the brain that lead to intense cravings.
Addictions may lead to social or interpersonal problems, and may cause some people to do things they normally would not ( such as lie or steal ) to fulfill their addictions. Due to this, the person may have strained relationships with friends, family members, and loved ones. Individuals who are addictive typically engage in riskier behaviors; they may developing infectious diseases ( such as HIV or hepatitis ) or get involved with wrong company.
                    Because individuals with addictions often deny they have problems, it is important for friends, family, coworkers, and to others to watch for warning signs of addiction. When people  are aware that a person close to them has an addiction problem, they should try to persuade the person to undergo some screening to confirm. People with addictions share may of the same behavioral signs and symptoms. They may lie about their behaviors, deny they have problems, or be extra secretive.

Learn The Lingo:

The text message language started with character limit for a text message, but now the use of abbreviations is quite common for convenience in swift response. You might know that LOL means "laughing Out Loud", but do you know what DUSL or PIR means?
A parent might not know if the message was innocent or had more deviant intentions unless familiar with the language. Abbreviations can also be part of a private way to communicate amongst friends, without raising parents concern. If you know that DUSL means ( Do you Scream Loud ), or that PIR means ( Parents in Room), you will have a better idea on what your kids are saying and doing with their friends. Language is an essential way to communicate; if you want to communicate with your children, learn their lingo.

Embrace the Technology:

Embracing the technology that kids use, will increase chances of improving communication with them. Instead of calling your daughter to find out what time she will be home, send her a text message. Rather than trying to get your son to watch a segment on TV about the risks of texting while driving, send him a link to the video. This will not keep the parents abreast with the latest technology, but will also increase the respect of parents for the teenager.

How can Parents Help? Guidelines and Healthy Boundaries:

Educate and talk to your kids about the dangers and responsibilities associated with using a cell phone. Explain the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Make sure to set time limits to use and when it should be turned off and placed in the parent's care. Without clearly defined guidelines, your teenager could be misguided and end up being victim.

Feelings of Inferiority and Low Selfesteem

With mobiles becoming the symbol of social status; those who do not have this gadget or an older model, consider themselves to be inferior to others. Demand of new mobile sets from their parents is mostly done to avoid embarrassment. Comparing mobile sets and the desire to get one with all the latest technological advancements, is common. To overcome Low Self-Esteem they may indulge in theft or illegal purchase and consequently misuse the device when they get one.

Mobile Phone Addiction

Mobile phones addition is a social problem and psychiatrists believe that this is becoming one of the biggest non-drug addictions of the 21st century. With the age drop of the mobile phone users and the ease of prepaid method provided by the system operators; most tennagers now own their own mobile phones and SIMs from different network services.
Teenagers  are occupied with their mobile phones all the time; phone calls, using SMS/text message or personalizing the mobile phones with ringtones and pictures etc. This has become the new status symbol and people are brand and model conscious. New models of mobiles phones are released almost every day. In order to be up-to-date, people tend to change their mobile phones quite frequently; which makes them spend extravagantly on mobile phones and bills.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Ringxiety (Ringtone Anxiety):

This is an anxiety symptom related to the over use of mobile phone, and a form of addiction. Ringxiety refers to the sensation and false belief that the mobile phone is ringing or vibrating. It also explains the condition when a person repeatedly checks the cell phone message or missed calls.

No-Mo Phobia (No Mobile phobia) :

Being phoneless can bring a panic symptom referred to as NoMo phobia or No mobile phobia. Running out of credit or battery charge or losing a phone or being in an area with no reception can cause this stress. To overcome this it is suggested to keep the battery in top condition and credit sufficient. To wear-off the mobile dependence systematically, one can deliberately avoid mobile phone for few hours and then few days to reduce its importance.

Psychological problems linked with the use of Mobile Phones:

The dependence on mobile phones has caused youth to face some new stressors. If the network is inaccessible/ down or the phone is not working; people with phone addiction are severely hassled. It is now hard to comprehend the 'Life before mobile Phones'. Cell phone abuse is a worldwide epidemic which is now affecting millions of men, women and children especially teen age students.

Credit Transfer Fraud:

This is a problem experienced by most Mobile network Operators, who provide Prepaid services. For a prepaid service credit is added to the phone by the user, before calls are made and the user then can make calls as the credit balance allows.
Credit can be added to the phone in a number of ways, for example using recharge cards purchased from a retailer, or by transferring credit to a known number. Many fraudulent people send bulk text messages, claiming they are in the hospital or under some other distress. They ask the receiver of the message to transfer a certain rupees worth of credit so that they can make the emergency call. Such messages should be ignored, and credit should only be send to those who on already knows. Also, lending your prepay phone to others who guarantee to add value back to your phone once they have used it. Since prepaid services have no record of phone calls made; one should be careful before handing over phone to strangers. Your number might be passed on to a network you don't want to associate yourself with.

Subscription Fraud:

Subscription Fraud is simply using an operator's products and services, with no intent to pay. The fraudulent application for service can include anything from false or forged documentation to identify theft. As an industry we have seen a huge increase in the use of identity theft as a means to obtain fraudulent telephone service.
Identity theft becomes lucrative for someone who wants to get a Post Paid connection with a mobile operator with an intention of extensive or illegal use and then not clearing dues.

Mobile phone dating Frauds:

Mobile phone dating has become a common issue now-a-days. It allows individuals to chat and to send messages which results in more meetings and getting romantically involved. This service permits its users to store their personal data in the form of a short profile, under their dating ID. The users can browse over the internet to find suitable dating ID, matching to their own profile; or they can call certain numbers as dictated by this service. These services claim to be free to register but the revenue is mostly generated with the service charges associated with the text messaging.
But there are certain drawbacks. Firstly, there is always a possibility for losing privacy; personal details and information may be used illegitimately. Secondly, there is a possibility of being harassed with spam messages or undesired calls even after cancelling subscription.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Bluetooth Misuse

Bluetooth is an inexpensive and speedy way to send data and information across to others. It is a wireless technology and is the short-range wire-less standard for personal connectivity of a broad range of electronic devices. It works when two devices are "paired" or configured to recognize each other, allowing them to connect and share data.
Bluetooth acquired a bad standing, mostly because of its immoral use. Concern is shown over the use this technology for circulating obscene content and promoting immorality. Mobiles, mostly equipped with cameras, are making even private gatherings insecure; as people worry over the misuse and circulation of their photos and films.
Peer pressure and absent or minimal parental guidance attract youth towards immoral social acts. Some use Bluetooth to vent their frustration and exhibit feeling of hurt publicly. Picture are published on the internet and mobiles of people, using the Bluetooth  that may be used later for harassment and blackmail.
When two Bluetooth devices are paired, the pairing must be done in what is called "Discoverable" mode. After the pairing is completed, the devices should be switched back to the non-discoverable mode.

Camera Phones:

Cameras attached to mobile phones are becoming more and more common; almost a standard feature of mobile phones. Cases identified of misuse of this facility are on the rise as well. The more convenient and technology superior they are in image quality; the more convenient and technology superior they are in image quality; the more appropriate they are to use in some of the unacceptable ways. Camera phones are designed to provide a means of transferring images via your mobile phone to compliment voice or text based communication for business or personal reasons. The network Operator cannot legally as well as logistically monitor all sent images to ensure ' appropriate content' ; exactly the same way voice and text calls cannot be monitored. However, directing the youth to make their own decision on what is appropriate to distribute via MMS is necessary. Contrary to this, benefits of a camera phone were demonstrated recently in Italy where the world's first arrest was made as a result of a MMS sent to the police. The picture helped the police identify the culprits also wanted for other petty crimes and charged for six months in jail.

Tips to encourage responsible MMS use include:
  • Respect privacy of others; the same applies if you were using a regular or digital camera
  • Remember to ask first; if you are taking a picture of someone and intend to MMS it
  • Respect the sort of image you take of someone; do not force or ignore their right to say 'NO'. If you plan to send it on the MMS to someone else, check if it is right with them.
  • Passing on objectionable material only reduces a person's self-respect, and the respect he/she can get from others.
  • Becoming part of a forward that is ridiculing another, means that you are also an abuser.

Tips to encourage 'resonsible' SMS/texting include:

Your mobile number and other personal details, would only be known if you share them.
Inform your parents if anyone bullies or threatens you. Timely action is necessary.
Online friends or chat buddies might not be disclosing their true identities. Select an appropriate chat nickname. Others will only see your nickname when you send them a message; it should reflect that you deserve to be respected.
                                             It is best not to meet chat friends face to face but if you really want to, tell your parents, take an older friend with you and always meet in a public place. Be wary of marriage proposals or invitation to meet alone.
Keep in mind the time you are sending a text; late night and early morning messaging might inconvenience another.
Send and forward messages that bring you respect, people assess your mindset by the messages you send.
Remember that these devices are made to ease your life, not bring added pressure. Use them discretely.
Treat people with the respect, as you would expect for yourself.


Mobile Chat and SMS:

Mobile chat has been a natural extension of the chat rooms, offered over the internet and on fixed lines. With the telecom companies introducing reduced rate packages, it has becoming increasingly difficult to prevent the youth from using messaging as mean of regular communication. As convenient as they are, SMS (Short Message Service) or text messages have as with all forms of communication, a few drawbacks:
SMS is extensively being used by unscrupulous people to blackmail/misguide others. Text messages are sent indicating that you have won a lottery or a prize. Responding to such messages is not under the usual rate, but at increased rate. The person never wins but ends up spending a substantial amount of time and credit on such scams.
SMS has alienated the family members from one another. Being occupied with spending and receiving than communicating with the family has become a norm in many homes. Family time is usually spent with mobiles and other devices, rather than bonding with each other. Reduced interaction/ communication, and addiction to SMS has jeopardized many a relationships.
Text messaging is non-confrontational mode of communication, bullying via the medium is more like stalking. A recipient has no way of knowing who has sent the text; so the offensive and harassing text messages become more frequent. offensive jokes, threads and forwards are sent through SMS/ text messages. The psychological effects of such bullying have a greater negative impact than face-to-face bullying.
It is not possible to control or monitor the conversations that take place amongst people in these chat sessions. However, it is the responsibility of the parents to ensure that children are fully aware of the risks involved in this respect. Also, spending quality family time has become increasingly important because of hectic schedules of family members. Once together, the family should communicate and connect with one another and be physically and emotionally present.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Online Security Measures:

Guarding financial and personal information: 

Includes credit card, bank account, driver's license, PIN and NIC numbers etc. Store such information in writing away from the source to prevent easy access and unwanted disclosure.

Being ward of imposters:

Crooks pretending to be from companies one does business with, claiming they need to verify personal information. It is always wise to authenticate before responding especially if the asked for information is previously provided.

Staying safe online: 

Clues about security on Web sites should be followed, especially where asked to provide financial or other sensitive information. Despite the browser's indication to safeguard information, there is no guarantee that the company will store it securely.

Disposable email addressing:

While registering for websites, social networking and chat rooms etc. It is a good idea to share an email address that is not actively used. This aids in preserving ones identity and keeping businesses private.

Taking Facebook Safety Measures:

Face book is the most popular site for networking also where privacy could be easily invaded. A privacy setting where photographs, videos and status etc. is only accessed by 'Friends Only' is highly recommended. Also, posting personal information e.g. about going on a vacation or business trips makes one vulnerable to break-ins. The following tips can help:
  •   Creating a password using upper and lowercase letters mixed in with numbers.
  •   Leave your birth year off your profile to help prevent identity theft
  •   Use the site's privacy controls and recheck them off and on

Turning off your computer:

When working long hours on the computer it is advisable to turn off the wireless switch or the remove the internet cable to avoid any possible access to the computer through the internet. Turning off the computer will not only protect unauthorized access, but will also save energy and give the required rest to the system.
Buying a security suite: Computer come with a few security components, such as a firewall that can be turned-on on use. Additional security measures are always helpful and wise.

Being careful with downloads:

Claiming to be approved by the better business Bureau or being secure is no guarantee that the site will spyware that may compromise security.

Using wireless connections:

A wireless connection should only be used personal or financial business if it is secured and restricted to access. Special care is to be taken if the system is public or through shared computers.

The Vulnerablility to internet Addiction:

Internet addiction is defined as using the internet for more than eight hous a day, or loss of control over the use of internet. As teenagers nowadays stay logged on the web for its convenience, many have revealed worrying signs of internet addiction. This could be identified with someone cannot clearly differentiate between cyberspace and reality which may damage mental and physical health.
According to a research survey, 18% of high schools students develop an internet addiction which may cause problems in learning school performance, developing healthyrelationships and controlling impulses. Initially denied, this condition is now being considered as a new addition in the Offical Handbook of Mental Disorders (DSMV).

The Exposure at Internet Cafes:

It become unavoidable at times to use a public computer while away from home which might not include the essential security settings and firewalls for protection. Private information such as credit card information (Online shopping), bank account details( internet banking ) and personal emails should be avoided. Using a public computer just for anonymous browsing ( e.g. weather, news, updates etc.) is alright. Risks of using internet-cafe and public-computer include:
Unscrupulous owners and managers:
There is a chance that the person running the internet cafe might be involved in the internet business or the identity-theft business.

Phony 'customs' or internet-cafe patrons are there to spy: Some cyber criminals can see precisely what you are typing regardless of how fast you can type.

'Security' Cameras:
The visible security cameras are for public safety; while the invisible cameras could be recording all windows viewed and each keystroke made, together with recording all 'immoral' acts by users in the booth; to be later used for blackmailing purposes.

Corrupted computers:
Most publicly used computers are infected with malware, have viruses, worms and Trojan horses.
Being used previously by cyber criminals is also a possible.

Booby-trapped Computers:
The cafe manager could install spying devices that would record each keypad movement. Such devices are impossible to locate, without disassembling the computer.

Unsafe Wi-Fi devices:
Internet cafes often provide local Wi-Fi hot spots.
The information even if encrypted could easily be accessed by Wi-Fi spes.