Sunday, October 16, 2011


A Video on Two Moms' Opposing Styles in Keeping their Kids Safe Online 
Which style do you use?

POS, P911
No, they’re not the latest cell phone models that your kids are salivating on. Instead, they’re Internet codespeak that kids use to alert their friends that you are watching. POS stands for Parents over Shoulders while P911 is, you guessed it, Parents Emergency. There are actually many more variations of these and a whole set of online lingo that would scare parents. And chances are when they are typing these codes, you may have something to be scared about.

Cartoon Network Kids Lifestyle Survey 2009 
In the 2009 Cartoon Network Kids Lifestyle Survey, 63 percent of the kids 7-14 years old surveyed are Internet users while 38% own a mobile phone, up from the 2007 figures of 46% and 26% respectively. What is more alarming than the rapid increase in cellphone ownership and internet use among kids is that video viewing and visits to social networking sites are rapidly catching up with online gaming, which is still kids’ number one online activity. (Unfortunately parents, it’s not researching that they do online!) In fact, in an informal photo survey done in Metro Manila, this writer found that 70% of the respondents chose Facebook and Twitter as the sites that they go to the most when online.

CyberWellness expert in the Philippines Sonnie Santos confirms this: “Kids spend an average of six hours online, in which two hours are often used for online gaming and the rest dedicated to social networking sites.”



This ready access to social networking sites has dangerous implications. Though no study has yet been done in the Philippines, statistics in the US are already quite alarming. Kids are unwittingly exposed to pornography, cyberbullying, and sexual predators.

“The Internet is a neutral ground that can offer children huge benefits but there are lurkers online that could harm them,” says Santos, whose advocacy is to ensure web safety for kids. In the series of talks that he organizes as part of his company CSR, he emphasizes the role of parents and schools in protecting kids online. Of course, kids too should learn how to protect themselves.

Below is a slideshow that presents the latest statistics on the dangers that your kids can encounter online.

Dangers That Lurk


Unfortunately, parents are often the last to know when kids encounter these problems online. One reason for this stems from kids’ fear of being banned from using the internet. A research conducted by the Girls Scout Research Institute in 2002 learned that only 7% of girls harassed online told their parents. Their excuse? They were worried that their internet privileges might change or get cut off.

Another reason is the lack of an open and honest relationship in most homes. According to Sonnie Santos, the primary thing that parents should do to keep their kids safe online is pretty basic: build an open relationship with their kids while they are still young. When kids reach puberty, a time when they will try to break out of the parents’ authority, that window closes. By then, parents should already have a good emotional bond with their kids if they want to still be part of their children’s lives.

“If your kids trust you, they will give you access to their social networking accounts. They will share with you their passwords and will not block you.”

Kids run the risk of falling prey to sexual predators and
cyberbullies online.
Today’s gadgets make “illegal activities” so much easier to do. Teeners engage in chat sex and sexting (texting sexual phrases). Some even go the extra mile of stripping in front of video cams or meet with strangers they befriend online. And parents are none the wiser. In fact, 86% of young girls could chat online and 54% could conduct a cyber relationship without their parents' knowledge (Girls Scout Research Institute,2002).

The third and the most unforgiving of reason: the lack of vigilance. Sadly, this is quite common. In a 2005 survey by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, 51% of parent-respondents “either do not have or do not know if they have software on their computer to monitor their teenagers’ online navigation and interactions.” A staggering 95% could not even identify common chat lingo red flags like GNOC (Get naked on camera), cu46 (See you for Sex) or CD9 (Code 9- parents are watching). Below are a list of internet words that parents should be aware of.


Below is an interview with CyberWellness expert in the Philippines Sonnie Santos, wherein he gives parents tips on how to keep their kids safe online.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Life in the 'Multiple Lane'

The Confessions of a Generation Slash/Slash Baby
If a mad scientist had approached me for a cloning experiment back in high school, I would have said yes. My intention would not have been at all altruistic. Pure and simple, I needed a clone.
Michael Keaton’s film about clones, Multiplicity, couldn’t have premiered at a better time in 1996, right when I was swamped with schoolwork, club meetings, contest preparations and school paper duties. I salivated at the thought of having one clone to write articles for the school paper and another to finish projects and assignments while I reread all my Judith McNaughts. Needless to say, I fixated on the idea for a long time.
But no Amyline 2 or Amyliner 3 came to be. There is only “me”, who after 15 years, is still eating stress for breakfast. Nothing much has changed. I still multi-task. My schedule book is still filled to the rafters. I still have my fair share of slashes: Section Editor/Writer/M.A. Student/Bag and Accessories Designer/Entrepreneur/ (just recently) Mo-Jo (mobile journalist) wannabe.
But taking on multiple careers isn’t much of a crazy as it was before. Technology and gadgets have paved the rough roads with seamless communication, real-time updates and on-the-go work habits. Now smart phones with internet can pretty much do what my office computer can do. For instance, what would be a wasted 15 minute-waiting time for the next train can now be spent fact checking articles. I can write and submit a reaction paper or a video assignment to my professor while waiting for a press conference to start or follow up on a bazaar schedule while in line to a movie theater or sneak a quick tweet in between meetings. Whether for work or pleasure, technology has allowed people to milk a minute to its last squeezable seconds.
And mind you, mobile internet now isn’t the “Ferrari” that it was once were. I would even call it cheap considering the trade-off: more time to do other things. Globe, for instance, recently came up with great mobile internet plans that I have been “exploiting” thus far. My favorites are the Globe SUPERSURF50 (unlimited internet for a day) and the POWERSURF30 (unlimited for three hours). I would avail of them on days when I am “on the field”. However, if my prepaid credits are running low, I would often turn to either UNLIMAIL20 (unlimited email for one day) or Globe’s unlimited per site surfing, which also costs P20. I avail of the latter every time I want to check on orders for accessories and bags in Facebook.
What’s good about it is the flexible and really affordable plans that would fit any mobile browsing activity that users have. I use each depending on my needs and the beauty of the whole scheme is it’s completely upon my whim. No need to unregister, the whole text message semantics of which, I find too taxing to do or remember. When the time is up, the service will just be cancelled. If you need it, just send another text message. One tip though, keep track of your internet time or at the very least save the registration message from Globe. There was one time when I forgot that my unlimited day was already over and I incurred per minute charges!
Of course, I am not such a work geek. And thanks to technology, I get to enjoy while I am working. As I am replying to emails, I am also checking out the latest it bags or the key trends for the upcoming season. I especially love looking at fashion blogs, The Sartorialist and Lookbook.Nu, where I draw styling inspirations. I also browse through the look books of Mango, Zara, F21 and Accessorize or check out runway reports and photos in the sites of international magazines. I also frequent Purse Blog and Bag Snob to update myself with the new bags and accessories designs abroad.
For my news fix, I go to the Yahoo homepage, which I find very comprehensive. I also bookmark a lot of the lifestyle features in New York Times, and Wired. Locally, I quite enjoy Globe’s freebie: magazine content from Summit Publishing like Entrepreneur, Preview, Smart Parenting that I download from m.globe portal. And being the App geek that I am, I check out Nokia’s Ovi store for new content all the time. Right now, I am loving this camera app Panorama, which allows my Nokia phone to seam together three separate panoramic shots. Neat!
As you may have guessed, my phone is much like my life. Multiple windows open. Multiple sites uploading. Multiple apps on. And I have done it without stepping into some lab rat’s lair. Sadly for Keaton’s character, he wasn’t born in the time of the Generation Slash/Slash, who can take on multiple careers without breaking a sweat. Multiplicity without the clones if you may.
I wonder… just how much would he have given to live in our time? His clone perhaps? Too bad, there isn’t any need for it anymore.
Check out Globe’s mobile browsing services by texting POWERSURF INFO, SUPERSURF or BB INFO to 8888