Snapchat Capture App – Another reason to guard your children (and yourselves)from SnapChat   Leave a comment

SnapCapture for Snapchat SnapCapture is the most popular solution for easy snapchat saving.Save all the snaps and stories you’d like to keep forever.

Well, if you didn’t believe it before that Snapchat photos don’t really disappear, Take a look at this app. I just saw over on Appbrain.com. It’s an app that can save Snapchat photos: http://www.appbrain.com/app/snapcapture-for-snapchat/de.innovationz.snapcapture.noroot

If you haven’t read about why we must make sure our kids aren’t using Snapchat, check out:

https://greggornation.com/2014/01/01/urgent-parents-i-strongly-recommend-uninstalling-snapchat/

I’m going to leave you with a comment one user made about this new app:

A Google User
Yesterday 5:16 AM

“Yay Great app lol I get to save nudes”

Posted January 28, 2014 by sotpyouth in Family, General, Media, Technology

BBB Warns Of “One Ring Scam”   Leave a comment

Better Business Bureau warns of “one ring” scam
Published: Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014 10:46 a.m. CST

By NORTHWEST HERALD

The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers of a cell phone scam it is calling the “One Ring” scam, that can result in unauthorized charges appearing on a consumer’s cell phone bill.

According to a news release, a scammer will program a computer to send thousands of calls to random cell phone numbers, ring once, and disconnect. When the call is returned, the caller is charged $19.95 for an international call fee, and a $9 per minute charge.

“As yet, we have not had any complaints filed but given how rapidly this scam is spreading and growing across the country our opinion is it won’t be long,” Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois said in the release.

Consumers who have been duped by these calls report that they are coming from the Caribbean Islands, including Grenada, Antigua, Jamaica, and the British Virgin Islands, according to the release.

Posted January 28, 2014 by sotpyouth in Uncategorized

URGENT – Parents, I Strongly Recommend Uninstalling Snapchat!!!   1 comment

First of all, I ask you to find out if your child is using the popular social media photo app Snapchat and then read this entire post. Yes, I know it’s long, but I’m serious here…Serious enough to spend part of my New Years Day providing this post to plead to you to protect yourself and your children.

Second, just go to this link: http://lookup.gibsonsec.org/lookup , yes, right now, and input your and your children’s Snapchat user names into the box and see what comes up. Then come back here and read the rest of this post.

Well, what did you see? Your phone number? Your child’s phone number? Yep, phone numbers and names were leaked from Snapchat. I checked…Mine was. I also checked your kids who were my contacts on Snapchat, and they were leaked too.

As we can read from Brian Barrett at Gizmodo.com http://goo.gl/2wT6Up:

The leaked user info from SnapchatDB matches phone numbers to user names, and in some was in retrospect probably inevitable. Just a week ago, a group of researchers calling themselves Gibson Security not only publicized how easy it would be to acquire data like this from Snapchat, but detailed how one might go about doing it. And so someone has!

Fortunately—well, relatively—the minds behind SnapchatDB have shown some restraint, blurring out the last two digits of phone numbers to “minimize abuse.” They are offering, however, to show the full listings “under certain circumstances.”

If names and phone numbers were leaked, don’t you think pictures could be too?

Although it seems to be a fun app to take goofy pictures and send them to people and the pictures “disappear” (more on that soon), Snapchat is really just an avenue of nefarious activity, with possible negative effects on our children later in life when snapchatted photos surface of them online.

Bottom line – Snapchat was created for sexting by some creepy guys from Stanford. From Adam McLane’s post at http://adammclane.com/2013/08/22/why-you-should-delete-snapchat/: (In part):

“Currently, the creators of SnapChat are busy suing one another about who really created the application in the first place. The case has revealed documents which confirm what everyone has known since the beginning. SnapChat was created as a “safe” sexting app.

Here’s an email about drafting the first press release, included in the court documents. (The app was originally called picaboo)

snapchat-email-1

And this is an exchange between the creator and a person they are asking to promote the app’s release.

snapchat-email-2

The creators refer to themselves as “certified bros” who brag about their fraternity getting kicked off Stanford’s campus. And they refer to women, their target demographic, as “betches.”

Is that how you like to be talked about? If you are a parent, are you excited about your daughter being targeted to send images through a service to “certified bros” who call your daughter a “betch.”

I think not.

The fact is that SnapChat was created as a sexting app.Like a do it yourself version of Girls Gone Wild. You might not use it that way, but that’s what it was created for.

And the fact is that the images are not deleted, according to the terms of service, they can store for whatever purposes they want for as long as they want.

(Read this article about the lawsuit, including more documentation about how the creators talk about women, the app, and their hopes to get very rich selling your usage data.)

Worse yet?SnapChat is funded with venture cap money, lots of it. So the goal of SnapChat is to sell it for a lot of money… including all of the data… meaning you have zero control where your “private” images will one day end up.

Check this little gem out in their privacy policy: “Sharing of information: We may share information about you as follows or as otherwise described in this Privacy Policy: In connection with, or during negotiations of, any merger, sale of company assets, financing or acquisition of all or a portion of our business to another company;”

What does that mean? That means your “private pictures” are ultimately for sale. And you’ve given them permission to sell them.”

You read above about how the photos aren’t deleted but stored on Snapchat’s servers to be used for whatever the creators want. Check this out from MSN.com http://goo.gl/wEGucH:

“According to a KSL report, a 24-year-old digital forensics examiner in Utah has found a relatively easy way to recover supposedly deleted photos from the incredibly popularSnapchat app.

Back in December, Buzzfeed discovered a simple way to retrieve supposedly deleted Snapchat videos. The whole gimmick behind the app is that app users can send friends photos and videos, which are then supposedly deleted 10 seconds later. The photos and videos are supposed to be wiped even from the company’s servers.

Now, Richard Hickman, of Orem, Utah-based firm Decipher Forensics, says that along with videos, he and others like him can recover the photos that Snapchat says are gone forever. Hickman told a local TV station that it takes him about six hours to recover the shots. But they are available. He says he’s already perfected the method for recovering photos on Android devices, and is now looking to do the same for shots taken with iPhones.

“The actual app is even saving the picture,” Hickman told the station. “They claim that it’s deleted, and it’s not even deleted. It’s actually saved on your phone.”

Hickman says that rather than deleting the photos, Snapchat’s makers simply affixed an extension on them. That extension makes them ‘unviewable’ to most of us without a background in computer forensics. But when an expert like Hickman gets his hands on the phone, it only takes a few hours for him to find the photos that might be of interest to parents, teacher, and law enforcement.”

So parents – I beg you to dig into this yourself, and then I hope that you will decide that this app should not be on your child’s phones. Even innocent photos can come back to haunt. Read the story of Angie Varona, who shared some images at age 14 and is now a face & body used to sell porn and fake Facebook accounts against her will.

One other item to note…It is possible to take a screen shot of a Snapchat. Imagine your child sending a not so proper Snapchat to some who takes a screen shot of it. That screen shot can be passed around, posted on internet sites, or held on to haunt a person later in life.

 

 

Posted January 1, 2014 by sotpyouth in Media, Technology

The No. 1 Killer of Teens in the U.S.   Leave a comment

The No. 1 Killer of Teens in the U.S. Originally posted at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jamison-monroe-jr/prescription-drug-abuse_b_4276845.html
Posted: 11/20/2013 10:12 am

There is a growing epidemic in America that is taking the lives of our young people. It’s in most of our homes and it can easily be obtained from a friend or doctor. Prescription drug abuse is real problem among teens and young adults that gets bigger every year.

According to an alarming report by the Centers for Disease Control, prescription drug abuse takes the life of one person every 19 minutes. In teens and young adults, fatality rates are only increasing. Between 2000-2009, deaths for poisoning in teens raised an alarming 91 percent due to prescribed medication.

These aren’t drugs that kids are buying on the street corners. About 70 percent of prescriptions drugs kids take are from their own homes.

Just take a minute to think about how many over the counter medications you have. One from a tooth ache you had two months ago or a bottle of pills you have to take the edge off a particular stressful week — they’re all there in open season for a child to experiment with right now.

Abuse can also start from medication from a prescription for a child’s sports injury or a perceived attention problem.

In our over-medicated society, kids are given medication every day to manage discomfort, anxiety and other behavioral disorders. But the truth is we set them up for failure.

From an early age, kids are pressured to meet unrealistic goals whether it is for academic achievement or sports recognition. This obsession with success leaves many parents too ready to give their children pills to cover up minor problems that are more of environmental issues than physical.

Now, that is not to say we all shouldn’t strive to succeed, but the destructive circle of forcing children to perform and medicating them when they don’t measure up to preconceived standards can set them on the path for substance abuse.

A DrugFree.org study out earlier this spring showed that one in six parents thought that using prescription drugs to get high was safer than street drugs. That line of thinking is dead wrong. A Yale School of Medicine study found that teens who use marijuana between the ages of 12-17 were two times more likely to turn to prescription pills for their fix. It is because of these findings that many researchers argue that early intervention is key to stamping out drug abuse.

The solution to stamping out the plague of prescription drug abuse starts with education. Eighty-one percent of parents reported that they have spoken about the dangers of using marijuana with their children, but only 14 percent said they were ever told of the risks of misusing prescriptions, as found by a DrugFree.org study.

Together with schools, parents need to recognize the accessibility of these drugs to young people and teach them the dangers from an early age. Families also need to be engaged with their children and willing to be parents. When children display behavioral issues, it often isn’t just an independent issue and the entire family must be treated or else it is just putting a band aid on the real problem.

A pill isn’t always the answer. We have to look at the enablers of this epidemic — the doctors, families and our culture — and become more proactive about changing our behavior. Much like the root of this problem, a lot of this starts at home.

Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.

Posted November 21, 2013 by sotpyouth in Drugs/Alcohol

A Parent’s Guide to Cyberbullying   Leave a comment

As a follow up to my previous post about the girls who were arrested on charges of aggravated stalking, and their cyber-bullying of Rebecca Sedwick, I’d like to offer you a guide on Cyber-Bullying from Walt Mueller at the Center for Youth and Parent Understanding. www.cpyu.org.

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Posted October 16, 2013 by sotpyouth in Bullying

Sheriff weighs charges for parents in bullying death   Leave a comment

Florida sheriff says one suspect’s parents are in “total denial” of their daughter’s online activity.

Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY    1:22 p.m. EDT October 16, 2013

1381930674000-A03-BULLYING-16

(Photo: Calvin Knight, The Ledger, via AP)

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • One 12-year-old suspect shows
    “remorse and cooperation”
  • Boyfriend at the center of the feud says he was “shocked” by girl’s death
  • If convicted, the suspects are unlikely to serve much jail time, if any
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The sheriff who arrested two girls for allegedly bullying a 12-year-old into committing suicide says authorities are trying to decide whether they can also charge one of the suspect’s parents.

The pair — ages 12 and 14 — were arrested Monday and charged with third-degree felony aggravated stalking in connection with the death of Rebecca Sedwick, of Lakeland, Fla., who jumped from a cement factory tower Sept. 9.

Rebecca, who authorities say was bullied relentlessly for months, was “terrorized” by as many as 15 girls physically and online. One message to Rebecca said she should “drink bleach and die.”

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Tuesday that the bullying began after the 14-year-old suspect began dating a boy Rebecca had been seeing. She “began to harass and ultimately torment Rebecca,” Judd said, and prodded the 12-year-old to join in.

The younger suspect has shown “remorse and cooperation” over the incident and was released into her parents’ custody, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. The older suspect, described by Judd as “very cold,” is in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice.

The sheriff said authorities are still investigating the girls, and also trying to decide whether the parents should be charged.

“I’m aggravated that the parents aren’t doing what parents should do,” Judd told reporters. “Responsible parents take disciplinary action.”

CYBERBULLYING: A wake-up call for parents about monitoring Web use

Judd told NBC’s Today on Wednesday that investigators so far have found no criminal charges that could be filed against the parents, “but if we can find contributing to the delinquency of a child, we would certainly bring that charge.”

He said the parents of the 14-year-old suspect are in “total denial.”

“They don’t think there is a problem here, and that is the problem,” he said. Judd added that the girl’s parents gave her back her Facebook access even after learning about her alleged bullying of Rebecca. “That’s terrible,” he said. “That’s why we moved fast to lock their daughter up.”

1381928758000-RebeccaSedwick1

Rebecca Sedwick, 12, of Lakeland, Fla., is shown in a family photo. She killed herself Sept. 9, 2013, after enduring months of bullying .(Photo: Family photo via WTSP-TV)

The sheriff said the tipping point leading to the arrests came when the older suspect allegedly posted on Facebook on Saturday: “Yes ik [I know] I bullied REBECCA nd she killed her self but IDGAF [I don’t give a (expletive)]”

“We decided, look, we can’t leave her out there,” the sheriff told reporters. “Who else is she going to torment? Who else is she going to harass? Who is the next person she verbally and mentally abuses and attacks?”

The suspect told deputies that her Facebook account was hacked and that she did not write that post, WTSP-TV reported.

A man who answered the phone at the older suspect’s Lakeland home told the Associated Press that he was her father and said that “none of it’s true.”

“My daughter’s a good girl, and I’m 100% sure that whatever they’re saying about my daughter is not true,” he said.

A man who answered the door at the home of the younger suspect identified himself as her father. He told WTSP that he had lost a daughter himself years ago and that his whole family is devastated over what happened to Rebecca.

“I feel horrible about the whole situation, but like I said, there’s two sides to every story,” he told the Tampa TV station.

“The day that this happened, we all felt super horrible. I’ve even brought my daughter numerous times to the grave where she jumped. She even went over there and prayed at night, but that’s all that can be done right now and I can’t really say too much more,” he said.

John Borgen, the boyfriend at the center of the feud between Rebecca and the two suspects, said he was “shocked” by her suicide.

“(It) made me mad because she should have just told somebody,” Borgen told WTSP. He said he knew as many as 15 girls from school were teaming up against his former girlfriend, but never expected what happened.

“They need to take life seriously,” Borgen said. “Why do you need to be bullying somebody?”

Rebecca’s mother, Tricia Norman, told reporters that the day the arrests were announced was “really rough,” WTSP-TV reported.

“It is bittersweet for me,” she said. “There’s some relief. There’s some regret. There’s some sadness because of her birthday being this weekend.”

Norman, who has created an anti-bullying page on Facebook in her daughter’s name, said the suspects needed help.

“I can’t say that I want these girls to spend the rest of their time in jail or any time in jail, but they do need serious rehabilitation,” she told reporters.

Rebecca’s mother said both girls were former friends of her daughter and that the younger girl had even been in her home for a slumber party.

“I had to ask her to leave because of problems with other girls. She was doing bad things and gossiping; she made other girls cry,” she said. “I told her she had to leave. I always had a bad feeling about that girl.”

Sheriff Judd, noting the suspects have clean criminal records, said that the girls — if convicted — are not likely to serve much time in jail, if any.

Contributing: Associated Press

Posted October 16, 2013 by sotpyouth in Bullying

An EPIC View on Teenagers Social Media Hookup Culture   Leave a comment

What follows is a (long) article from Vanity Fair which gives us a close look about the teenage hook up  culture and how they view sex and relationships. It’s important to read this. I haven’t read anything to this point that gives such point blank statement on the thought processes of teenagers.

WARNING-THERE IS SOME EXPLICIT LANGUAGE AND FRANK DISCUSSIONS ABOUT SEX! THIS MAY BE

        OFFENDING TO SOME.

From Vanityfair.com- http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2013/09/social-media-internet-porn-teenage-girls

Friends Without Benefits

This year, 81 percent of Internet-using teenagers in America reported that they are active on social-networking sites, more than ever before. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and new dating apps like Tinder, Grindr, and Blendr have increasingly become key players in social interactions, both online and IRL (in real life). Combined with unprecedented easy access to the unreal world of Internet porn, the result is a situation that has drastically affected gender roles for young people. Speaking to a variety of teenaged boys and girls across the country, Nancy Jo Sales uncovers a world where boys are taught they have the right to expect everything from social submission to outright sex from their female peers. What is this doing to America’s young women?

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“Social media is destroying our lives,” a 16-year-old girl from L.A. tells contributing editor Nancy Jo Sales. But without it, she says, she “would have no life.”

NOTE: Some of the names and identifying details in this story have been changed.

THE TINDER GUY

She wanted it to be like the scene in the Lana Del Rey video for “Blue Jeans”—“hot and slow and epic.” The scene where strangers meet and fall into an easy intimacy, making love in a pool—“and they look so hot and it’s just, like, totally epic.” A boy at her school—she didn’t want to talk about him now; he’d broken her heart; but “like, whatever.” She’d “deleted him” from her phone. “I was stalking him too much, seeing him doing fun things on Instagram, and it hurt.”

They’d been instant-messaging on Facebook, and one night he told her he loved her. And then “I found out he was talking to, like, four other girls.” And now she wanted to do something to get over it, maybe to get back at him. “I mean, I should have known. All men are basically whores.” When he didn’t turn out to be her “true love”—“like Bella and Edward, or Bella and Jacob, you know?”—she decided she had to “lose it to someone,” so why not with someone she would never have to see again? And yet, she hoped it would somehow be like the Lana Del Rey song. “I will love you till the end of time,” it goes.

The guy she was supposed to meet that day—the guy from Tinder, the dating app kids were using to hook up—“I know, like, five guys who’ve done it; girls use it too, but they pretend like they don’t”—he was cute and had tattoos on his arms. He looked “James Franco–ish,” but younger. On Tinder you could meet people in your age group. She was 16; he was 17.

Alone in her room, the night before, reading her friends’ Twitter feeds and watching YouTube videos (Selena Gomez and “baby animals being cute”), she’d started feeling lonely, restless, and bored. “Sometimes I just want to talk to a guy so bad.” So she downloaded the app and started swiping through the pictures of boys in her area. She “hearted” his picture, and within a few minutes he had hearted hers, and then they were instantly texting.

“Ur hot,” he wrote. “U wanna meet?”

“When?”

They arranged to rendezvous at a shopping mall in Los Angeles not far from the neighborhood where they lived. “Of course it was going to be a public place. And if it turned out he was really some gross old man, I’d just run away.” But there he was, standing by his car, looking almost like his picture. . . . Almost. There was something different about his face—it was “squishier. Like, he was almost fat.” But now here they were, and she didn’t know quite how to get out of it.

He smiled and kissed her on the cheek. He smelled of Axe Body Spray. She was sorry she’d spent so much time getting ready for this. “I even waxed,” she said. He wanted her to get in his car, but she knew she shouldn’t. They started walking around the mall, “talking about nothing, nothing. It was awkward, totally weird.” He asked if she wanted to sit down, but there was nowhere to sit except in restaurants, so they wound up going inside a Pottery Barn and making out on a couch. Later she posted something on her Tumblr blog about the difficulty of finding love.

WHEELING IN THE BITCHES

“Gotta wheel the bitches in. Gotta wheel the bitches in,” said the teenage boy on a city bus in New York. “Nowadays you can do it so easy. There are so many apps and shit that just, like, hand you the girls. They don’t even know that’s what they’re doing, but really they’re just giving teenagers ways to have sex.”

This year, 81 percent of Internet-using teenagers in America reported that they’re active on social-networking sites, one of which is Tinder, a mobile dating app that teens use to hook up.

SEX, LIES, AND SOCIAL MEDIA

If you’re between 8 and 18, you spend more than 11 hours a day plugged into an electronic device. The average American teen now spends nearly every waking moment on a smart phone or computer or watching TV. This seismic shift in how kids spend their time is having a profound effect on the way they make friends, the way they date, and their introduction to the world of sex.

Kids have always been interested in sex, of course; but there have never been more ways for them to express that to one another, at any moment of the day, no matter where they are. They don’t even have to be together, and often they are not. “You can be sitting in class getting a boner ’cause some girl is texting you that she wants to suck your dick,” said a boy in L.A. “It’s kind of distracting.”

As quickly as new social media appears, teens seem to find ways to use it to have sex, often sex devoid of even any pretense of emotional intimacy.  There’s sexting, and there’s Snapchat, where teenagers share pictures of their bodies or body parts; on Skype, sometimes they strip for each other or masturbate together. On Omegle, they can talk to strangers, and sometimes the talk turns sexual. A boy in L.A. told me about a boy he knew who had a PayPal account where he accepted payment for being sexual online with “random guys . . . Two hundred bucks.” And then there is Tinder, where kids can meet each other on their phones. “It’s like Grindr used to be for gay guys, but now kids are doing it,” said a girl in L.A. “No one cares about anything but how you look.”

“We don’t date; we just hook up,” another girl in L.A. told me. “Even people who get in a relationship, it usually starts with a hookup.” Which can mean anything from making out to having sex. “When you have sex with a guy, they want it to be like a porno,” said a 19-year-old girl in New York. “They want anal and oral right away. Oral is, like, the new kissing.” “The cum shot in the face is a big thing,” said another girl.

And then there are “texting relationships,” a disembodied coupling that takes place solely on a screen. It can still become very sexual, often very quickly. “Guys you know from just, like, having one class together will be like, ‘Do you like to suck dick?’” said a 17-year-old girl in New York. “And if you say no, they just move on to the next person.”

THE GIRLS AT THE GROVE

“Social media is destroying our lives,” said the girl at the Grove.

“So why don’t you go off it?” I asked.

“Because then we would have no life,” said her friend.

The girls had been celebrating a birthday at the busy L.A. mall, and now they were on their way home; they carried bags of leftovers from the Cheesecake Factory. There were four of them: Melissa, Zoe, Padma, and Greta.* They stopped to sit down and talk awhile at an outdoor table.

They were pretty girls with long straight hair—two blonde, two brunette, all aged 16. They wore sleeveless summer dresses and looked fresh and sweet. They went to a magnet high school in L.A.

Greta, they said, was famous—or Instafamous, having thousands of followers on Instagram. She showed me a gallery of her Instapics; some were of her dog and some were of Greta pouting and wearing “the duck face.” Some of her followers, she said, were “random dudes in Italy and Arabia.”

Melissa said, “I have Facebook, a YouTube account. I’ve used Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine . . . ”

Blendr, another geosocial dating network like Tinder, describes itself as a “free, socially flirtatious chat-to-meet app.”

“Path, Skype,” Zoe said.

“Tumblr,” said Padma.

“I have a Twitter, but I don’t use it except for stalking other people,” said Greta.

They all laughed knowingly.

“I think everyone does it,” Greta said. “Everyone looks through other people’s profiles, but especially being teenage girls, we look at the profiles of the males we find attractive and we stalk the females the males find attractive.”

“It’s a way to get to know them without the awkward ‘Oh, what do you like to do?’ You already know,” said Padma.

“You can know their likes and dislikes,” Greta said. “‘Oh, they like this band.’ So you can, like, casually wear that band’s T-shirt and have them, like, fall in love with you or something. Or you can be like, ‘Oh, they listen to that music? Ew. Go away.’”

I asked them how they knew when a boy liked them.

“When a boy likes your [Facebook] profile pic or almost anything you post, it means that they’re stalking you, too. Which means they have interest in you,” said Zoe.

I asked them how they made the transition from social-media interaction to real-world interaction.

They blinked.

“You talk to them on Facebook; you do chat with them,” Melissa said.

I asked if they had boyfriends.

“There’s this boy Seth,” said Greta, “and when he liked my profile picture, I knew it was like, ‘Hey, ’sup, you cute.’ Then we held hands at a party. We were cute. But the one thing I didn’t like about him was he didn’t follow me back on Instagram. Social media causes soooooo much anxiety.”

They all agreed on that.

“The thing with social media is, if a guy doesn’t respond to you or doesn’t, like, stalk you back, then you’re gonna feel rejected,” said Melissa.

“And rejection hurts,” said Padma.

“And then you’re gonna go, like, look for another person to fill that void and you’re gonna move on to stalking someone else,” Melissa said.

“That’s how men become such whores,” said Greta.

“Guys actually take the Facebook-talking situation way too far,” meaning sexually, said Zoe.

They were nodding their heads.

“Like, when guys start a Facebook thing, they want too much,” said Padma. “They want to get some. They try with different girls to see who would give more of themselves.”

“It leads to major man-whoring,” Greta said.

“They’re definitely more forward to us online than in person,” said Zoe. “Because they’re not saying it to our faces.”

“This guy Seth, who is normally timid in real life,” said Greta, “sends girls messages asking for nudes.”

She showed me a text exchange in which Seth had asked her to “send pics”—meaning nude pics, a request Seth had punctuated with a smiley face. Greta had responded “Lololol” and “Hahahaha” and “Nope.” “It wasn’t THAT funny,” Seth had texted back.

“He isn’t my boyfriend,” clarified Greta.

“My friend, she was VC-ing,” or video chatting, “this guy she was kind of dating,” Melissa said. “He sent so many nudes to her, but she wasn’t trusting that he wouldn’t show the pictures to other people. So she Skyped him and showed him nudes that way. He took a screenshot without her knowing it. He sent it to so many people and the entire baseball team. She was whispered about and called names. It’s never gone away. He still has it and won’t delete it.”

I asked if they knew girls who posted provocative pictures of themselves. They all said yes.

“More provocative equals more likes,” said Greta.

“It attracts more guys and then it makes other girls think about doing it just for the attention. They’re attention whores,” said Padma, frowning.

“My father thinks all my photos are provocative,” Greta mused.

“I think some girls post slutty pictures of themselves to show guys the side to them that guys want to see,” said Zoe. “It’s annoying.”

“Girls call them sluts. Boys call it hot,” said Padma.

Greta shrugged. “I call it hilarious.”

MIRROR, MIRROR

In the video for ”We Can’t Stop,“ Miley Cyrus writhes around on a bed, sticking her ass up in the air. She grinds her ass into the crotch of a woman twerking. She writhes around in an empty bathtub, sticking her ass in the air some more. She appears at the V.M.A.’s twerking into the crotch of Robin Thicke, causing an international sensation.

In the video for ”Summer Fling,“ Willow Smith stares at the nipple of a teenage boy while offering him her phone number. Willow’s 12.  She sings about having a summer fling: “It’s just a couple nights, but we do it anyway.” A boy shoots water into a pool party at which Willow and her bikini-clad friends jump on a trampoline, spreading their legs.

“Of course girls want to emulate this stuff,” Kim Goldman said one afternoon at her home. Goldman is the director of the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Project, a counseling service for teens that reaches around 23,000 kids in 14 schools in the district. (She’s also the sister of Ron Goldman, the man slain along with Nicole Brown Simpson, the ex-wife of O. J. Simpson.) “Girls talk about feeling like they have to be like what they see on TV,” she said. “They talk about body-image issues and not having any role models. They all want to be like the Kardashians. Kendall Jenner posts bikini shots when she’s 16 and gets 10,000 likes, and girls see that’s what you do to get attention.”

Santa Clarita, an affluent community nestled in the arid Santa Susana Mountains north of L.A., has its share of troubled kids. There’s been a rash of heroin-related deaths over the last year. A Facebook page entitled “Santa Clarita Sluts” was finally taken down. In January, Michael Downs, a local teen, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for sexually assaulting 15 girls (one a 12-year-old), many of whom he met on Facebook.

“We’re seeing depression, anxiety, feelings of isolation,” said Goldman. “I think social media is contributing to these things. We have kids who’ve had sex with people they meet on Chat Roulette. At one of the junior highs we work with, we found out there were a few kids engaging in an online orgy. They all signed into a video chat room.” One of their parents walked in on it.

“We had girls selling oral sex for $10 and $15 in the bathroom at a school,” said Goldman. “Sex is everywhere. Everything is sexualized. They’re all reading Fifty Shades of Grey.”

CYBER-QUEENS

On a bright, hot day in June, I met Sydney at the Popover Café on the Upper West Side. She was blonde and angelic looking, like a girl from a Beaux Arts painting of the 1890s; she was 17.

She gave me her headshot; I’m not sure why. She said she wants to be an actress.

“I was cyber-bullied when I was younger,” she said over popovers, “on this [social-media site for kids]. It was this thing where you create a profile of a cartoon character, and this random stranger started talking to me and saying really creepy things. I was in sixth grade.

“I didn’t know who it was at first. It turned out it was one of the girls at my school,” a private girls’ school in Manhattan. “She was saying, like, all this sexual stuff. I don’t even know how she learned how to talk that way.

“I was 11 years old, and I didn’t know how to respond. And then she and her friends took screenshots [of the conversations] and spread them around and started calling me a slut.” She winced.

“I was completely traumatized. I had to switch schools. I became insanely insecure.” But nothing ever happened to the girls who bullied her. “I begged my mom not to bring the school into it. I didn’t want to be that girl that tattletaled.”

And then a few years later, she saw her former victimizers on Facebook. “They kept stalking me and I was curious, so I friended them back.” That’s when she found out that these girls had become “famous.”

“In New York every kid knows each other,” and some kids are “famous,” Sydney said. “Everyone’s obsessed with the feeling they have fame. They post pictures of themselves at certain parties. They friend certain kids. There’s so much social climbing.”

Her bullies were now two of the most visible girls in the Manhattan high-school scene, the type of girls who “go clubbing with 21-year-olds” and get invited to “events.” “One of their moms has, like, a clothing line.” On her iPhone, Sydney showed me the girls’ Facebook pages, where they had posted many pictures of themselves partying in nightclubs and posing, hand on hip, Paris Hilton–style, surrounded by Euro-looking men. These pictures got a lot of likes.

“They dress like sluts,” Sydney said, “in bandeaus and short shorts that show your butt cheeks—excuse me, you’re not at the beach.” She admitted she sometimes dressed like that too. “Because if you don’t, you will get shunned. Girls are just so mean.

“I don’t go into the bathrooms at school,” she said, “‘cause they just say mean stuff to you. They look at you up and down like, ‘What are you wearing?’ Social media makes it so much worse. Like on Ask.fm”—a social-networking site with 65 million users, half under the age of 18, on which subscribers are invited to speak their minds about each other—“they just say mean, mean, mean, mean things.

“I love Tumblr,” she said, “’cause it’s just kids expressing themselves with writing and pictures; but it’s also a lot about how to look and dress, and it makes a lot of girls feel bad ‘cause there’ll be beautiful girls with beautiful everything and everyone re-posts it, and, like, it makes you feel bad about all the things you’re doing wrong.

“On Tumblr there’s ‘The Rich Kids of Instagram,’ which is these kids trying to show off their wealth, and it’s so not O.K., it’s revolting, but it still makes me feel bad about myself—kind of like I’m not part of it.”

She said there was a term for this, FOMO—fear of missing out.

She told me about parties where girls “literally wear nothing” and kids take Molly, MDMA. “The ‘in’ thing for girls to do is to really just go nuts at parties, just go insane. They feel like the more they drink and the crazier they act, the more guys will come to them.” Crazy how? “Dancing around, flashing their boobs.”

At these parties, she said, which take place “at people’s houses or a space somebody rents out to make money,” “people hook up with more than one person. It’s dark and, like, 100 kids are there. It’s not considered a big deal. Guys try and hook up with as many girls as possible.”

“At one party?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she said. “They have lists and stuff. This kid in my grade has this list of 92 girls he’s hooked up with.”

“BAD GIRLS”

“We know this girl Ursula that had a list of guys she had given blow jobs to, like 45 people,” said Sarah. Sarah and her friends Elena, Jeff, and Abby, all teenagers from the Valley, were having dinner in L.A. one night before going to a movie.

Over burgers and fries at an outdoor café, they started talking about the “bad girls” at their high school.

“Ava’s like that too,” said Jeff. “She asked me out and then took my head and, like, shoved it in her bra.”

“She gave Richie a hand job on the back of the bus going to band competition,” said Sarah.

They talked about girls who had made sex tapes; girls who had sex with different guys at parties every weekend. “Was that the same weekend she went to the emergency room [for drugs]?” asked Abby.

“Remember when Anita got semen on Maya’s jacket?” Jeff asked with a smile.

“And then Maya posted it on her [Facebook] wall,” Sarah said with a laugh.

“She asked to borrow Maya’s jacket and she wore the jacket, and she gave this guy a blow job at a party while she was wearing the jacket,” said Jeff.

“And then she gave the jacket back to Maya without washing it, so Maya took a picture of the jacket with the stain and posted it on Anita’s wall: ‘You didn’t wash my jacket,’” said Sarah.

They laughed.

“Which was so mean, but I love that she did that,” Jeff said. “I was like, ‘Oh my God.’”

They laughed again.

“There was this girl in 10th grade who was gonna be on My Super Sweet Sixteen,” said Jeff. “I don’t think it ever aired. That same girl, she was in a porn video going around school. People were in math class watching the video.”

SELFIES

“I first started seeing people doing selfies in sixth grade,” said Emily, a senior at a private school in L.A. “Back then everybody was on MySpace. In sixth grade everybody started getting phones and they started posting pictures of themselves, and it was weird, ’cause, like, a lot of the pictures were supposed to look sexy and they had the duck face and we were all, like, 11.”

“Guys do selfies, too,” said Alexandra, a girl at a public high school in L.A. “They post pictures of themselves smoking weed and drinking codeine cup”—a narcotic mixture of Jolly Ranchers, cough syrup, and 7-UP—“like, ‘Look how boss I am, look how gangster.’ They think that makes them hot. If a guy posts a picture in his boxer shorts, people say that’s funny, but if a girl does it, they say she’s a slut. It’s a double standard, but girls still do it ’cause it gets them more likes on Facebook.”

“My little cousin, she’s 13, and she posts such inappropriate pictures on Instagram, and boys post sexual comments, and she’s like, ‘Thank you,’” said Marley, a New York public-school girl. “It’s child pornography, and everyone’s looking at it on their iPhones in the cafeteria.”

SEXY BABIES

Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus are the co-directors of Sexy Baby (2012), a documentary about girls and women in the age of porn. It follows three subjects: Nichole, 32, a porn star who bemoans the mainstreaming of porn in the digital age (she thinks it’s unhealthy); Laura, 22, who has plastic surgery on her labia (her ex-boyfriend deemed them unattractive) so that she can “look like a porn star”; and Winnifred, 12, a middle-school student in New York who does sexy photo shoots with her friends and posts them on Facebook. Winnifred also posts a video of her little sister dancing around provocatively to a pop song.

Gradus, a photographer for The Miami Herald, was on assignment shooting strip clubs in Miami in 2009 when she first encountered young women who were not professional strippers pole-dancing for young men. “These were regular college girls. They didn’t seem to be having fun,” she said. “It was like, ‘This is what we’re supposed to be doing.’”

Gradus and Bauer, a writer for the Herald, then went on a research mission to a porn convention in Miami where “they were selling stripper poles to college girls and housewives,” said Bauer. “There were so many mainstream women idolizing the porn stars and running after them to take pictures, and we were like, ‘Whoa, this exists?’”

“We saw these girls embracing this idea that ‘If I want to be like a porn star, it’s so liberating,’” Gradus said. “We were skeptical. But it was such a broad concept. We asked, ‘What is this shift in our sexual attitudes, and how do we define this?’ I guess the common thread we saw that is creating this is technology.

“Technology being so available made every girl or woman capable of being a porn star, or thinking they’re a porn star,” said Gradus. “They’re objectifying themselves. The thinking is: ‘If I’m in control of it, then I’m not objectified.’”

PORN HISTORY

Porn is more available now than at any time in history—especially to kids. Ninety-three percent of boys and 62 percent of girls have seen Internet porn before they turn 18, according to a 2008 study in CyberPsychology & Behavior. Seventy percent of boys have spent more than 30 minutes looking at porn, as have 23 percent of girls. Eighty-three percent of boys and 57 percent of girls have seen group sex online. Eighteen percent of boys and 10 percent of girls have seen rape or sexual violence.

“Historically a spike in interest in pornography is associated with advancement in women’s rights,” said April Alliston, a professor of comparative literature at Princeton. She teaches a class on the history of pornography and has an upcoming book about porn, Consenting Adults: On Pornography, Privacy and Freedom (2013).

“What happened at the time of the invention of the printing press was very similar to what’s happening now with the Internet,” Alliston said. “With the printing press you had porn suddenly made available through technology. At the same time you had women getting more rights; there was more literacy and freedom for women. I see the spread of porn in part as a backlash to women’s increased independence.

“I believe that porn has gone mainstream now because women have been gaining power. The feminist movement was somewhat successful. Rather than being about sexual liberation, porn is a form of control over sex and sexuality.

“It’s become unfashionable to [take a negative view of porn] because of the reaction to the extreme anti-pornography views of [radical feminists] Andrea Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon in the 90s. There was a reaction to their calls for censorship, and at the same time you had ‘sex-positive feminists,’ as they called themselves, saying porn is good, saying sex is the same thing as pornography, and seeming to imply that if we like sex, we like pornography too, which I think is equally extreme and incorrect.

“When it comes to children, there is really nothing to argue about,” Alliston went on. “Kids are defined by our laws as not being able to consent to sex or to using pornography. There are few protections against them seeing it, and some people take the attitude that it’s inevitable and benign. I think a lot of people who make this argument don’t realize what porn today really looks like in terms of how the women are treated.”

THE ANTI-DAPHNE MOVEMENT

“In the eighth grade, I had friend—it was a toxic friendship,” said Daphne, now 19 and in college in L.A. “We got into a fight. I can’t even remember what it was about—probably I had bought the same shoes as her or something. It got really bad, and one of her friends, a guy, decided to make a YouTube video starting an ‘Anti-Daphne Movement.’

“Their goal was to get me to kill myself.

“It was, like, a 10-minute video. He showed a picture of me. He said my name. He recounted all the details of the fight. He said I was ugly and that I should kill myself. He told everyone on Facebook, ‘I’m a member of this movement. If Daphne has ever done anything to you, post about it.’

“It caught on really fast. I had a lot of people writing really mean messages to me and deleting me as a friend [on Facebook]. I had never done anything to these people. At school they would put gross things in my bag, cottage cheese in my binder. It got over all my homework.

“It took three months before I got the courage to tell my dad. My dad got the school to get [the boy] to take the video down. The guy who did it didn’t get in any trouble. The principal was friends with his mom. The principal said I must have done something bad for him to act that way, and I was actually suspended for a few days.

“I didn’t know this boy at all. He was kind of a weird kid. People thought he was quirky and cool. He would say he was ‘brutally honest,’ but mostly he was just rude to people. I had to stay in the same school with him all through eighth grade. I went into therapy for what happened. It’s made me so much more insecure. It’s really hard for me to trust anyone.”

THE SCENE GIRL

Amanda, 17, a senior at a high school in Santa Clarita, tried to kill herself last year. Her boyfriend of eight months had broken up with her so that he could play the field before graduating from high school—“he just wanted to live it up, was what he said”—and, after some months of turmoil, Amanda took an overdose of one of her mother’s prescription medications. She was hospitalized briefly and is now in therapy.

She’d been slut-shamed on Facebook in ninth grade by a girl at her school, along with the girl’s mother. “She”—the mother—“was saying I was a slut and all I do is lay on my back, but I’ve only been with one person,” Amanda said. The police said nothing could be done about it because no direct threats were made.

Feeling isolated and depressed, Amanda got into drugs, ecstasy, and weed, and started hanging out with the Scene kids (kids into hard-core punk rock). “All I talked about was sex, drugs, money, and partying,” she said. “I’d post pictures on Facebook of me smoking weed and partying.”

When she started dating her boyfriend, with whom she went to school, she finally felt as if she had something to live for. “We were like the one couple that everybody knew, that everyone was like, ‘You’re so cute. You’re gonna be together for a really long time.’” And now that she had a steady boyfriend, she was no longer called a slut.

But that ended all too soon. She attributes her boyfriend breaking up with her to the influence of his friends. “All his friends were like, ‘Dude, you have a girlfriend. You can’t do anything,’” meaning sexually, with other girls. And, Amanda says, he confessed that after breaking up with her, he did sleep with another girl.

“Boys have no respect for girls,” Amanda said. “They’ll be like, ‘Damn, that girl’s hot. I’d fuck her.’”

THE SEX EDUCATION OF JENNA: PART I

“One reason my boyfriend broke up with me senior year was that I was not a real person,” said Jenna, 19, a college student in New York. She and her boyfriend dated online for two years after meeting at a beach resort where their families stayed when they were in high school. They communicated via Facebook, e-mail, and text. They met in person only twice. “I sat there and contemplated suicide when I heard he wanted to break up with me,” she said. “I was like, ‘What was the point of living?’ I had given so much of myself to this person.”

Jenna, a quirky beauty of the Zooey Deschanel variety, aspires to a job in the arts; her senior year in high school, she got a job working prefessionally in her chosen field. She friended a boy on Facebook, also an aspiring artist, who had already gotten some attention for his work. “I was like, ‘Let’s stick together and be friends and do this together,’” she said. They became good friends (in cyberspace). And then the boy developed feelings for her. But at the time Jenna was still dating her online boyfriend, so she declined the artist boy’s online advances.

“After that, every time I would do any kind of status update on Facebook or post something on Tumblr or Instagram,” she said, “he would comment on it, like, ‘Jenna, you’re not funny.’” Jenna often posted comical status updates; she thought of herself as a funny girl; she’d always liked to make people laugh. “He got everyone at my school”—a Manhattan magnet school—“in on it,” she said. “His sister went there, so we knew a lot of the same people. Suddenly everyone was like, ‘Jenna’s not funny. She’s stupid.’ Everyone was posting mean comments about me, and he was egging them on. I saw him at a play at my school, and I asked him, ‘Why are you doing this to me?’ He said, ‘Because, Jenna, you deserve it.’”

After that, she said, “I lost all my self-confidence. . . . And I realized in life there’s only two ways for a girl to go, and that’s to be a dumb bitch or just a bitch. I decided that from now on I’m just gonna be a bitch, ’cause at least from now on guys would be intimidated by me. At least I would have the upper hand. So from then on, if anybody ever tried to say anything to me, I would come back at them 30 times harder.”

BREAKING UP IS HARDER TO DO

“So you broke up with your ex-boyfriend,” said a freshman girl at a college in Manhattan; she was speaking hypothetically. “It’s very sad. So of course he’s not gonna want to see you in real life, so you wanna see him on Facebook. But then he defriends you on Facebook, so what do you do? You get your friend’s account so you can stalk him. You check up on him on her account.

“But then he deletes your friend; he figures it out. So right now you have no connection to him, so what do you do? You create a fake account . . . call her [Jane Doe]. You literally Google ‘brown-haired girl Instagram’ and find a picture where you can’t really see their face, but it’s an actual person. You friend a bunch of his friends as [Jane Doe], add people from his family. Then you add his ex-girlfriends.

“What are they like? What are they into? What’s the difference between them and me? Are they skinner than me? In their profile picture, they’re in a bikini—they must be sluts, right? Maybe lesbians. And then finally after you have about 400 mutual friends, that’s when you add him. This is so intelligent; it’s like war strategy.

“You add some more pictures. You start a new persona. You start a new life, just so you can keep tabs on the person who doesn’t want to ever speak to you again. Just so you can know he goes out to clubs all the time, and he’s with this other girl. Why would you do it? Because it’s an obsession. Social media breeds obsession.”

SEX AND THE SOUL

What kind of love lives are teenagers headed for after they graduate high school? Sadly, more of the same, according to Donna Freitas, a former professor of religion at Hofstra and Boston Universities. Freitas’s The End of Sex (2013) might as well be called The End of Love. The book studies hook-up culture on college campuses.

Much has been written about hook-up culture lately, notably Hanna Rosin’s The End of Men (2012) and a July New York Times article, “Sex on Campus: She Can Play That Game Too,” both of which attributed the trend to feminism and ambitious young women’s desire not to be tied down by relationships.

But Freitas’s research, conducted over a year on seven college campuses, tells a different story. “Both young women and young men are seriously unhappy with the way things are,” she said. “It’s rare that I find a young woman or a man who says hooking up is the best thing ever.”

She describes the sex life of the average college kid as “Mad Men sex, boring and ambivalent. They drink like they’re Don Draper to drown out what is really going on with them. Sex is something you’re not to care about. The reason for hooking up is less about pleasure and fun than performance and gossip—it’s being able to update [on social media] about it. Social media is fostering a very unthinking and unfeeling culture. We’re raising our kids to be performers.” And researchers are now seeing an increase in erectile dysfunction among college-age men—related, Freitas believes, to their performance anxiety from watching pornography: “The mainstreaming of porn is tremendously affecting what’s expected of them.” College kids, both male and female, also routinely rate each other’s sexual performance on social media, often derisively, causing anxiety for everyone.

“The conversation that is missing is what rape is in hook-up culture,” Freitas said. “These young women’s sense of their own agency is incredibly detached. They tell me, ‘And then I found myself in someone’s bed having sex.’ There’s little actual choice or volition when you are drunk, and there is this expectation among everyone that if you are walking with a boy to your dorm room after a party, sex will necessarily happen.”

And yet, with all the dangers for young women in hook-up culture, Freitas says, she’s faced criticism from feminist colleagues for her take on it. “Big-time feminists won’t go near hooking up because they look at it in theory as a sexually liberated practice,” she said. “But I’m looking at it on the ground, talking to actual people, and it doesn’t hold up as sexual liberation.”

THE SEX EDUCATION OF JENNA: PART II

At the end of junior year of high school, Jenna met Ethan. “We were drunk, we hooked up,” she said. “We saw each other again, drunk at another party, so we hooked up again, then we met at after-prom and hooked up ’cause we had hooked up before, and so it was comfortable and whatever.”

And so began their non-romance. In fact, Jenna made it clear to Ethan that she didn’t want “a Facebook relationship. There’s people who have Facebook relationships where every day it’s like”—typical status update, delivered in a singsong—“‘Out to lunch with babe.’ Kissy picture of this, kissy picture of that. Two weeks later, they’re broken up. And then it’s”—bitchy voice doing the status update—“‘Certain people need to, like, stop stalking me on Facebook. Clearly we are never getting back together.’ There’s the Taylor Swifts and then there’s the people who are just long-hair-don’t-care. They just don’t give a single fuck. They’re just like, ‘I’m gonna have sex with you.’ ‘I’m gonna have sex with you.’ ‘Hey, you’re cute. I’m gonna have sex with you too if I want to.’ They don’t give a shit.”

That, she told Ethan, was how it was going to be. “I told him it was just hooking up. I was so used to guys treating me like shit, I didn’t want any guy to take advantage of me.”

And Ethan took her words to heart. “He said, O.K., he wanted to hook up with other girls. And I was like, ‘Sure, if you don’t want to be in a relationship with me, I don’t really care.’ So I was like, ‘Fine, I’ll start hooking up with other guys.’ So I would come to this house—no nonsense, clothes off, let’s do this, get into my bed. And we would hook up every couple days; it started being a casual thing.”

This went on for about a year. “We were friends with benefits,” Jenna said. “Sometimes we wouldn’t even talk that much. I’d just be like, ‘I’m coming over,’ and then I’d go over and we’d sleep together and then I’d leave.”

Even when Ethan, drunk at another party, admitted to Jenna that “I think of you as my girlfriend,” she told him, “‘I would never, ever in my fucking life be your girlfriend.’ Immediately his face fell and he walked away, and after that we were pretty mean to each other.”

They still continued hooking up. And then, last spring, Jenna’s grandfather died, and Jenna was furious with Ethan when he didn’t reach out to console her. “I finally texted him like, ‘My grandfather died and you have nothing to say to me? And I’ve been sleeping with you for a year?’ And his response was, ‘So I really just don’t see why you said I could never be your boyfriend.’”

She smiled.

“So we realized we were being super stupid, and I was like, ‘Do you want to be in a relationship? What do you want?’ And he was like, ‘I really love you. I’ve never met anybody like you. You’re not a dumb bitch.’

“So now we’re together.”

Posted October 4, 2013 by sotpyouth in Uncategorized

Facts & Dreams

"Each man should frame life so that at some future hour fact and his dreaming meet." -Victor Hugo