May 31, 2011

Sexting Educational Programs

Filed under: Cell Phones — publicandprivatespace @ 4:06 pm

           Katie Roberts  

               Sexting has only recently been introduced to our society, and with its introduction there has been much controversy.  The blame is continuously placed upon the younger generations.  This is because the younger generations are the ones who prominently use this new way of communicating.  For anyone who is not familiar with the term sexting it is the use of technology, normally a cell phone, to produce and distribute sexually explicit messages, photos, and videos.  It is illegal for teenagers to participate in this activity because they are not of age.  Therefore, most states charge those caught sexting with the punishments that sex offenders would receive.  Many argue that teenagers are not prepared mentally to make decisions with regard to sexting situations. 

              Psychologists argue that teens do not have the mental capabilities to think of the repercussions of their actions before performing them.  This concept not only applies to sexting but also to many other irresponsible activities that teenagers typically immerse themselves in.  The question at hand is why teenagers are the ones who are most likely to experiment with destructive behavior, in particular sexting?  There are two plausible answers to this question.  The first one is that they have not had the chance to experience the real world.  All that children know is what surrounds them, and that environment is typically controlled by their parents.  With constraints and boundaries, teenagers are forced to concentrate only on the present.  When it comes to interacting in intimate situations, we all know from experience that teenagers tend to contemplate only on how to please the other person and not on how this may affect them in the future.  They have not had to experience the consequences of their actions, which causes them to act without thinking through their actions thoroughly. 

            The other plausible answer to the question of why teenagers sext is because their brains are not fully developed.  The frontal cortex is the part of the brain that controls rational decision making capabilities.  There has been much research and experimentation performed on this hypothesis, and the underlying conclusion that has been drawn is that the frontal cortex is one of the last parts of the brain to develop .  This means that we are all literally programmed to act as we do when we are teenagers.  Although this breakthrough may not justify or excuse sexting, it most definitely provides a reasonable answer to why teenagers typically act in this way.

March 9, 2011

Texting + Teens = Awkward

Filed under: Cell Phones — publicandprivatespace @ 9:10 pm

Julie Whalen

         Cell phones have taken over by storm in the past ten years, especially amongst teenagers.  Almost all teens have a mobile phone, and studies show that almost all teens use SMS messaging on their mobile phones more than they actually use them for talking.  Teens use texting more because texting is easier and faster than having an entire conversation with someone.  But talking is important!  Verbal communication is key to a teen’s development.

          According to a study done by Donna and Frasier Reid, people who usually text on cell phones are significantly more lonely and anxious in social situations than people who usually talk on their cell phones.  Texting lets teens carefully weigh different responses before deciding exactly what they want to say.  It is a stress-free form of communication.  So when they are face-to-face with someone and don’t have time to think through what they want to say they turn into shy, awkward, uncomfortable people.  SMS messages are a safety net, and teens can feel lost without it.  For example, I recently reconnected with a friend I haven’t seen in twelve years on my college’s campus.  We didn’t have time to chat, so we exchanged numbers and text each other later instead.  While that was easy and pleasant, when we actually met up for lunch the conversation was stilted and awkward.  Without texting and the time it gave us to think we didn’t know what to say.

            Naomi Baron agrees with this.  Her research showed a correlation between cell phones and mental distress.  This distress led to problems with their relationships with friends and family.  Texting causes miscommunications too, because SMS messages lack any kind of tone, body language, or facial expression.  Because of this, messages can easily be taken the wrong way, which could wreak havoc on any relationship. 

            Another way texting is harmful to a teenager’s socialization is that it pressures teens to always be instantly available, because if they wait too long to answer a message they seem rude.  Being able to be constantly reached really takes away from a teen’s independence.  The constant availability keeps teens from escaping situations they need to get away from.  For example, when my sister was fighting with her boyfriend, all she wanted was some time alone to relax and think, but because they both had cell phones she couldn’t escape the fight.  Her boyfriend kept texting and calling her, denying her a chance to calm down.  This destroyed their relationship and they never managed to fix it.  Too much talking can be just as bad as not enough, and cell phones enable too much talking.

                Too much texting spells disaster for any teenager’s relationship.  Teens need to forget the keyboard and start talking, really talking, to each other.  Good communication skills are crucial to develop at this time in a person’s life, so teenagers should be encouraged to hang out with their peers in safe social environments.  That is what will help improve teens’ social lives, pull them out of the world of technology, and bring them back to reality.

Smart phone apps, NOT worth it

Filed under: Cell Phones — publicandprivatespace @ 1:37 pm


Over the past decade smart phones have become the newest and most popular form of technology a person can have. Smart phones provide thousands and thousands of applications that can do almost anything for a person. People of all age groups use these apps to do tasks that go from games to managing a portfolio. These applications are extremely dangerous for a person’s privacy and can leak personal information to the public.

Take into account Scott Thurm and Yukari Iwatani Kane’s Wall Street Journal article. Every time somebody buys or downloads an application, they agree to a contract and agreement that explains to them that their private information will be sent to various places. A very little amount of people actually read the contract before clicking agree, and now they wonder why the world knows about their private life. Another reason this is such a problem is that some of these companies do not even send contracts; they just do as they please with the information without the users’ knowledge. Even when they do know what is being released, people express that more personal items are being sent than they wanted or expected, according to Poremba’s article.

Many personal traits are being sent all over the country. Thurm and Kane discuss how with a simple touch or click, people can send their name, gender, age, location, contacts, and phone identification number. Parts of this information may not worry some, but I know I don’t want a complete stranger and company knowing this. The main reason I wouldn’t want this is that I have no idea what they are actually going to do with the data. I don’t know if they are keeping it safe or if it is getting into the hands of the wrong people. There is no way of knowing, and the fact that some person knows my location at all times is just too creepy. Also, if I was a parent and my child wanted a smart phone, there is no way I would allow it, knowing the potential risks. There are way too many criminals in the world that would take someone’s private information and commit frauds with it that can ruin someone’s life. The safety of my life and the lives of my family is way more important to me than getting the most popular application.

YouTube Video

Most of time however, the private information gets sent to an advertising company. These companies write smart phone companies huge checks just so that they send them this information. What they do with this data is review it and get to know the basic personal traits of a person. Now, they can send advertisements to these people based on that information. Everyone has received these ads and pop ups, and I think I’m safe to say that people do not like them, and that it is an invasion of privacy. It all comes down to the fact that the cell phone companies only care about money. They do not care for their customers’ feelings or privacy. I don’t want to buy these phones and applications from a company like this. All people should use phones for are calling and texting. A case study  performed says that most people have cell phones because they provide people with a certain personal safety at all times. This is what cell phones are for. They are not so that people can play games or be on Facebook all day.

This website explains many more dangers that are associated with smart phones. In my opinion, the number one reason is these applications.  They are just not worth the risks that come with them. Overall, people will always own smart phones and continue to download applications. The increase of new apps is huge and will continue to rise. With this increase comes the possibility for more “dirty” applications and more dangers. What people need to do is always read their agreements and know what privacy policies the companies provide about collecting data. Knowing is number one. If people do this, they can decide whether the application is worth the risk. Personally, the apps are not very appealing, and I am perfectly happy with my normal Nokia cell phone.

“Bugs” on the Wall……Or in Your Pocket?

Filed under: Cell Phones — publicandprivatespace @ 1:30 pm

By: Daniel Latz

Cell phones are perhaps one of the greatest inventions in the last century.  Today, people use them for everything, from telephones to PDAs to alarm clocks to even game consoles.  A large majority of people do not realize however that the more that a cell phone is used, the more susceptible the user becomes to being tracked by an outside party.

Something that some people do not realize is that there is a GPS in most phones that can track a phone wherever it goes.  The few people that do understand this fact are not aware of how this can be and is used.  I hope to make people more aware of how this technology can hurt them, and to make people understand that this technology is not a great thing after all.  The other way that cell phones are tracked is by tracing any calls or texts made by the cell phone to the nearest phone tower. 

One major agency that has total access to this feature in cell phones is the government.  The government can use these methods to keep track of where its citizens are at all times.  An article by Newsweek writer Michael Isikoff highlights this fact.  Although this can be used for good, it is incredibly invasive of people’s personal space.  It takes very little for the government to establish probable cause and obtain the cell phone records.  As I read this I could not believe my eyes. To me, this should not be allowed to happen or at least there should be a more difficult process through which the government has to go to obtain the records.  The FBI could establish probable cause on a mild offense, such as not paying a traffic ticket.  The reason this alarms me is because sooner or later, the government will have ultimate control, because they will know where everyone is at any given time.  Imagine sitting at home on a Sunday, enjoying your weekend when all of the sudden, the FBI comes to your front door, just to make sure that pay for the parking violation you had a month ago.  This notion alarms me.

It is scary to see how easy it is to track a cell phone as a regular person too.  Upon searching Google, I found an incredibly large number of how-to articles on how to track a cell phone.  One such popular site, eHow, gave step by step instructions on how to do this.  I found this to be incredible.  Now, an untrusting spouse can use a cell phone to keep an eye on a cheating spouse.  A school bully can spy on the kids that he picks on in school.  Although these examples may seem extreme, these are actually very realistic situations.  New Standard News writer Catherine Komp exposes some of the possible misuses of this new technology; Newstandardnews.  There are many ways that people can abuse this technology.

The availability of this cell phone feature has become even more accessible with the new smart phones.  Many of these high-tech phones can download programs that track the GPS of another phone.  This is very concerning, but it seems as though little is being done about this problem.  This problem needs to be corrected in a timely fashion, or else the GPS in phones will be used for the wrong reason.

If Your Relationship is a Blazing Fire, Texting Makes a Great Lighter Fluid

Filed under: Cell Phones — publicandprivatespace @ 1:26 pm

The text message. Until just recently, this noun had hardly been heard of and only ten years ago, it did not even exist. And yet in the past five years, the text message has exploded and become one of the most popular mediums of communication. Almost everyone in America is familiar with the distinct sound of a vibrating phone in a front jean pocket or the faint beep that comes out of a modern mom’s purse at the grocery store. With its use being nearly invisible and silent, texting has entered into realms where other modes of communication were politely asked to leave (such as the movie theatre and occasional chess tournament viewing) or incapable of communicating (like a New York Stock Exchange or public transportation). It is for these very reasons that texting has become so popular and desirable and it is for these same reasons that teenagers have made it their number one option in starting relationships.

For most people over the age of forty, it has always been believed that body language, tone and inflection in voice are critical to the understanding how a person is feeling, and therefore, a healthy relationship. And indeed this premonition is well found.  “The face and the body both normally contribute in conveying the emotional state of the individual” says one study. Without this body language, the seductive wink, the occasional eyelash batting, relationships could not achieve the emotional fortitude that would normally occur if a relationship began with a face-to-face interaction. However, many recent studies show that the building up of, or as the kids say, “talking” period, prior to the first encounter often lead to a stronger initial relationship.

In research done by McKenna and Bargh, relationships that began on the Internet, relationships that began online and then transferred to a “real-life” aspect had a much higher success rate than if they would have just began with a face-to-face first date.  While although the pseudo-safety provided in anonymity is forfeited during texting, the time provided to create some sort of bond prior to going out, a “talking” period, relationships are able to have history before being thrown into the fire. How much more enjoyable the conversation between the newly acquainted people can bypass the boring common questions of “What’s your major,” “How many siblings do you have,” “Where are you from?” What if we could begin a relationship without the awkward small talk, accidental touches, or the dreaded Freudian slip? Now a first date can feel like more like a third or fourth date.

As a person receives a text message he or she is allotted time to respond and think about his or her answer. This extra time can allow for more time to correctly voice their opinions so that a rash or inappropriate statement can be stifled. As McKenna and Bargh note in their paper, “These differences and timing and pacing provide an individual with a great deal more control over his or her side of the conversation.” This allows for the person to truly voice their opinion in an uninterrupted forum. They get to “hold the floor.”  We can sympathize with the person who has been on the date and said no more than two words because our date really enjoyed hearing themselves talk. Or the person who asked you to repeat yourself after every sentence, giving you all the evidence you need to convict him/her of being a bad listener. With texting, each sentence is literally spelled out for the other person and up for multiple reviews if the texter has forgotten what was said prior. This gives people like “talks-too-much-Tim” and “never-listens-Nancy” a chance to not waste our time on a date.

The real reason that teenagers find the thought of texting to be so mouthwateringly good is that you can do it without anyone even noticing (unless of course you want people to notice). Besides the obvious switching your ringtone to silent and switching your phone to vibrate, touch screens also have eliminated the sounds of button mashing. This makes texting the stealthiest forms of communication ever invented. Communication can now be done anytime, anywhere. As Timo Kipomaa so eloquently puts it, “Free from the limits of time and space… text messaging… is used typically in some urban environments: on buses… in cafes, and in extreme environments of communication (such as noisy rock-concerts, silent libraries, or dark cinemas full of people.” This kind of stealth is beneficial and desired for teenager and single adult alike. As a teenager, it allows you to stay in contact with your significant other during class (although this is frowned upon by many institutions) or perhaps just to wish him or her good luck right before their big game against the in-town rival. And what better way to stick it to the parents than texting under the table at dinner or telling Billy to not pull his car up to the house because the “rents” are still awake (sorry mom and dad)?  Silent. Stealthy. Perfect. College is an extremely busy time for most young adults as well and a conversation on the phone is not always appropriate or wanted. Thanks to the flexibility in access that the texting provides, one can multi-task while still attending to the needs of his gf/bf (in text lingo, this means boyfriend and girlfriend).

This type of conversation has drawn attacks from critics because it does not offer, as Ilana Gershon, a professor at Indiana University, puts it, “the broadest bandwidth of information.” However, the conversation that does exist thanks to texting is better than the conversation that didn’t before texting was created. Texting has allowed for communication to proceed in places that before were unreachable, even for the cell phone before the innovation of texting.

Texting is no golden goose. As mentioned earlier, texting does not allow for that personal one-on-one contact that is necessary for a proper relationship to unfold. There are many warning signs and issues that can accompany texting such as the over-texter, the ambiguous text, overstressing texting, and the classic complaint of “they’re a completely different person in-person.” For the person being over-texted, this is no new problem. There have always been clingy boyfriends/girlfriends and this is just another example of that. For the person who is stressing over every text message, we find again, another old problem. In the eighties it was waiting for the phone for two hours and in the 1800’s it was waiting for that letter via pony express. However, the other two issues can be serious hurdles to the beginning of a relationship. A text message misinterpreted can lead to hurt feelings, distrust, and possibly the ending of a relationship. For the person who acts differently when you are actually speaking with one another, it may need a little extra attention like actually (gulp) talking about it face-to-face.

Nonetheless, texting is a great way to “get the party started.” Whether it’s that cute girl who sits in the front row in English class or the boy who’s always outside playing soccer, text messaging acts as the perfect buffer before things escalate to a date. It allows for a person to learn whether or not they’re actually interested in a person they might’ve never talked to otherwise and eliminates a majority (but not all, unfortunately) of the awkward first encounters that we have accustomed ourselves with when we gone on the dreaded first date. We can hold our heads high knowing that their favorite color is orange, they like to listen to Paramore and No Doubt and they have 2 brothers and sisters. With this kind of small talk out of the way, it’s easy to go straight for the good stuff like their favorite food. That way you know exactly what to make them on the second date.

-Will Paton

March 7, 2011

Cell Phones: How Private Are They Really?

Filed under: Cell Phones — publicandprivatespace @ 12:54 am

By Hilario Cabrera

Cell phones have become part of our daily life. Whether we use them to talk to people or communicate through text message. We are always aware of our phones and we are constantly checking them Doesn’t matter where we are, we could either be in church, school, bed etc. we have become attached to our cell phones in ways that would of never been thought off when this devices first came about.

today mostly everyone owns a cell phone and is able to fit in their jeans pocket without anyone even noticing it. Our dependability on these little devices has pushed us to use it in public places without noticing the people surrounding us. Some people can have some really private conversation in a public place filled with other people and act as if no one could hear the conversation they are having, Even though everyone is able to her the person talking. Some people don’t mind having to listen to some people talk on their phone because they do it their selves sometimes. But not everyone shares such points of view.

Some people believe that phone jammers should be used in some places like churches, schools or in private properties if they choose to, in order to stop people from using their devices and disrupting other people in these places. But this theory cannot be tested since the use of cell phone jammers is illegal here in the U.S. but it is legal in other countries. So in order for the phones jammers to become legal here, a lot of people would have to petition for the use of the jammers, but it would be really hard to regulate the use of such devices so it is most likely that they will remain illegal and people will just have to deal with careless people invading the public space.

The use of cell phones in modern society is very common, but most people are not aware of the amount of information being shared by their devices while they are in use. Now days cell phones have evolved to the point of being able to connect to the Internet and be personal pocket computers, but how personal are they really? And the answer to that question would be, not personal at all. The ability to use the cell phones to surf the web allows outside sources to know in what basic area we are. Or what we are looking at which allows them to personalize what adds to send us. Some of the new phone apps also give out information about us, and our phones to advertising companies without us even knowing or being able to stop them from doing so. Some of the info can be our phone numbers, gender, age and if we have a new smart phone that we use to search the web and enter personal information they could be able to get a hold of it too. It would be recommended that before acquiring any cell phone apps, we read the warnings or terms or use that some of them come with, and stop the ones that request access to our personal information like access to our contact list. Also, it is recommended that when you don’t plan on using your cell phone, and don’t want to be contacted, then turn your phone off And prevent unwanted people or organizations from tracking you.

The apps are not the only ones who have access to our locations, one agency that has access to our cell phones is the emergency 911 number. If we were to call them, they would be able to spot our location very accurately within seconds. Or even if we didn’t call them, but someone called us missing or kidnapped for example, they could look up our number and if the phone is on, they would be able to see where the phone is therefore telling them where we are. But is that the only occasions they look up our locations? What if someone just wanted to see where we are and had access to that technology, they would be able to see exactly where we are at any given time and we would not be able to do anything about it since we cannot turn off the emergency locator. So as long as our phones are on, we are always vulnerable to being tracked by someone with the technology, without us being able to prevent this from happening.