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Cyber bullies: How to cope

Bullying is the biggest problem online right now for kids and teens, reports Deepak Mankar.

business Updated: Sep 30, 2005 16:19 IST

Just finished reading Lillian de la Torre's Elizabeth is Missing or Truth Triumphant - An Eighteenth Century Mystery' (Michael Joseph, London, 1947). I had a first edition copy lurking in my cabinet for I don't know how many years, waiting no doubt for me to find it.

To reveal a bit of what it's all about, let me quote its sub-title word for word with its original punctuation and capitalisation in tact: "Being a true and complete Relation of her MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE with her low and distress State upon returning to her Friends, her fixing upon Enfield Wash as the Place of her Confinement, with her Accusation against Mother Wells, a notorious Bawd, and Mary Squires, an hideous Gipsy; on whose Behalf the Lord Mayor of London made a COUNTER-ACCUSATION, and what came of It." The sub-sub-title claims: "The whole embellish'd with many MORAL OBSERVATIONS and the TRUTH at last made manifest through many Phaenomena, now first rightly interpreted."

Take my word for it. The book is as quaint as its sub- and sub-sub-title. After you're through, you wonder a bit, though, if it wasn't much ado about next to nothing. One thing that struck me about the 'solution' was that it's based on the premise that all is perception, including the so-called 'reality'. A few scanty details about the book are found here:abbookman.com

CYBER BULLIES. How to cope.

These days, cyber stalking - and cellular stalking - is front-page news everywhere. A recent news release from Working to Halt Online Abuse (WHOA) about its new Kids & Teens Division (KTD) caught my eye.

"Bullying is the biggest problem online right now for kids and teens. They used to get a reprieve from bullies when they went home, on holidays and school vacation or summer vacation. Now bullies can follow them online anytime, via the Internet or their cell phones - it's crazy. We'll do our best to help kids and teens end the bullying before it spirals out of control," declares Jayne Hitchcock, President, WHOA and WHOA-KTD. (About a year and a half ago, Jayne had sent me a copy of her Net Crimes & Misdemeanors, because it was not available in India. Reading it made me realize how committed she was about cyber crime especially those directed against hapless ordinary folks.)

The news release has eye-opening facts to offer. A 2005 Pew Internet & American Life Project study shows that about 17 million youth or 73 per cent (12 - 17 years) use the Internet. FBI Statistics (1993) by the National Education Association show that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students.

In 1999, five per cent of students, ages 12 through 18 reported being bullied at school in "the previous six months". Only 25 per cent students say that teachers intervene in bullying situations, while 71 per cent teachers believe they always intervene.

WHOA- KTD has some commonsense advice about online safety. For instance: Use a gender-neutral or generic username, nothing cute, sexual, or overtly feminine. Never make your real first or last name a part of a username or email address. Keep your primary email address private. Use it only with people you know and trust. Block or ignore unwanted users in e-mail, IM and chatrooms. And, so forth. Learn more here:haltabusektd.org; haltabuse.org; netcrimes.net.

INDIA UPBEAT. View from the Exec cabin … and more.

The next stage of the McKinsey special coverage of the contemporary Indian scene last covered at

hindustantimes.com is about a survey of business leaders around the world. It shows that "executives at Indian companies are more upbeat than others about the effects of globalisation on their businesses but less confident of their ability to find suitable talent".

Most Indian executives view "globalisation, increasing affluence in emerging markets, and other worldwide trends" as boosters to the profits of their companies. They also look westward "to the United States for much of the expected growth and virtually [ignore] China". The other big hurdle is increased competition, they feel.

ckinseyquarterly.com. At mckinseyquarterly.com &mckinseyquarterly.com are the other two articles, 'Why believe in India' and 'What Indian consumers want from banks', respectively.

IE UP. Firefox down

Dan Shapero, chief operating officer of NetApplications, a website analysis firm that monitors 40,000 websites, has this to say about the recent events in the browser battlefield: "Microsoft's Internet Explorer actually gained ground at the expense of Firefox." This was his way of describing the fact that the market share for the Mozilla Foundation's open-source browser dipped to 8.07 per cent in July from a high of 8.71 per cent in June while Microsoft Corp's Internet Explorer's market share went up to 87.2 per cent from 86.56 per cent.

The Mac browser Safari, by the way, showed a modest growth to 2.13 per cent. Other browsers' share of the pie (1.5 per cent for Netscape, 0.49 per cent for Opera, 0.52 per cent for Mozilla and 0.09 per cent the rest) showed little change. techweb.com.

COVER THE COVER STORY. Business Week's 'podovation'

Trust McGraw-Hill's Business Week to think of a pod-related innovation. Now, its production of podcasts includes ones tied to the magazine's latest cover story. The first 11-minute episode, preceded by a 15-second ad, is about travails inside Microsoft. It has the magazine's executive editor interviewing Seattle bureau chief Jay Greene about why Microsoft's been losing key talent.

A sidebar text story features an interview with what Business Week says is "the Internet's most notorious blogger," known as "Mini-Microsoft." His Web blog is at minimsft.blogspot.com.

There's also an interesting new story ('Podcast: David vs Goliath. Indie shows are struggling to stand out amid the influx of media giants') at businessweek.com. It's takeaway?

"In one of the shortest trajectories yet for a new Internet technology, podcasting has gone from the hands of indie developers to media giants in less than a year. Credit Apple. With typical finesse, it has created a centralised, easy-to-use service on iTunes that makes it a snap to find and listen to podcasts, the audio recordings that can be downloaded from the net and played on a computer or portable music player." And: "It may not be clear today, which podcaster will end up on top. But there's no doubt that the technology is leading to an explosion in content. That should be music to all listeners' ears."

PAM'S 10-YEAR RULE. At Lycos 50

"The ever-preserved Pam Anderson tops the list in the number one spot spurring Dean Tsouvalas, writer of the Lycos 50 list, to declare it, 'The decade of Pam Anderson.'

Other personalities have survived on the list, including Britney Spears [#4], Jennifer Lopez [#12] and Janet Jackson [#24] - though the latter's appearance is likely due to the infamous wardrobe malfunction," writes Enid Burns in Ten Years of Search Terms.

The 'celebs' not mentioned by her are Princess Diana (#11), Anna Kournikova (#23), OJ Simpson (#26), Eminem (#32), JonBenet Ramsey (#33), Selena (#34), Mariah Carey (#35), Carmen Electra (#36), Howard Stern (#37), Christina Aguilera (#39), Osama bin Laden (#42), Madonna (#43), Oprah Winfrey (#44), Nostradamus (#47) and JFK Jr & Carolyn Bessette (#49).

To Tsouvalas, the Lycos 50 is a way to keep a finger on the pulse of the web and pop culture. "Marketers benefit, and I think they do pay attention to the list. It's an accurate pulse of what's resonating with people today," he concludes. clickz.com

PERSONAL JOURNALING. That's blogging

The Blog Trends Survey, by Digital Marketing Services, Inc for AOL, (via Opinion Palace, an online research site) shows that blogging is "unquestionably a medium for personal journaling …[with] nearly half of bloggers post personal accounts and journals rather than news, politics and gossip," writes Enid Burns in Blogging for the Soul, Not the Bottom Line. It's 'a form of self-therapy' for them.

Also: "one third of bloggers write about self-help and self-esteem topics. 31 per cent either blog or read blogs in times of need or high anxiety, while only five per cent prefer to seek help from a counsellor or mental health professional. The only thing more popular than blogs in times of need is seeking advice from family and friends.

Though high-profile blogs report on news and current events, only 16 per cent of bloggers have journalistic aims; 12 per cent blogs break news or advance news and gossip and eight per cent blog do political exposés. clickz.com

Previous QuiteATake.com

coverage of blogging (''6 FIGURE BLOGGING.' An innovative 'how-to' teleconferencing course.') is here: hindustantimes.com.

That's all for now though there's plenty more out there. Join me again next week, same place.

Copyright (c) 2001- 2005 by Deepak Mankar. All rights reserved. Deepak Mankar, an advertising practitioner on the creative side since 1965, is also intensely passionate about the web and web content creation. Read his online articles athttp://www.asiaondemand.com/. Website:http://www.addgandhi.com/original/. You may e-mail him atdmankar@bom8.vsnl.net.in.

First Published: Sep 26, 2005 16:13 IST