Friday, October 24, 2014


Dress Codes are sexist towards women and, in some cases, are completely unnecessary and hypocritical. In schools all over the world today, girls are getting called out for what school staff deem as “inappropriate for school wear,” such as leggings and tank tops. However, male students may continue on with their day without interruption.

Image Source
This is actually on a high school website!
Take the dress code at your school as an example. Are there any main dress code guidelines directed specifically at males, aside from the no sagging rule? Typically there aren’t. However, there is an abundant amount of restrictions and fine lines for a girl to follow regarding her way of dress. A very common guideline is no spaghetti strap tank tops. This “no spaghetti strap” rule affected one high school student from North Ogden Junior High, in Utah. She wore a tank top to school one day, covering her shoulders with both a scarf and her hair, but still got called out by the assistant principal because tank tops were not permitted in the dress code. In order to fix this “offense” she was required to change into gym clothes. Not only did this cause her emotional despair, but being publicly humiliated by the assistant principal, who forced her to finish her day off in gym clothes, took her humiliation one step further. This was all caused because her assistant principal deemed her attempt of covering up, “not good enough.” The Utah student was spared some embarrassment in comparison to Miranda Larkin of Oakleaf High School in Florida. Miranda was not given the opportunity to change into gym clothes. Instead she was forced into what is known as a “shame suit.” The shame suit was an oversized, bright yellow t-shirt with ‘DRESS CODE VIOLATION’ displayed across the body of the shirt. To pair off the t-shirt she was also given bright red sweats to match. How can these articles of clothing not distract the boys and girls of her class? Clearly, this outfit was created to send a message, and when messages are sent, aren’t they supposed to be noticed? This actually goes against the purpose of the dress code, to prevent distraction, and it humiliates the student at the same time. Congrats society, you win “The Most Hypocritical” award.

School makes teen wear 'shame suit' for too-short skirt

Other articles of clothing frequently targeted by dress code rules are yoga pants and leggings. People have made the argument that the way women dress, like in leggings, is distracting to boys. Which raises the question of whose education is more important, being that girls are typically the people sent out of class whereas the male gender remain in class without any complaint. So who’s learning is being distracted, the “hormonal boys” in the class, or a girl sent out for a costume change? People say that they can’t help looking, and they won’t be able to focus in school, but is it really a girl’s job to ensure they can control themselves? Society as a whole is blaming the girls for this. It’s the ladies’ fault for dressing like that; they’re asking to be distracting. However, I think that it is the other way around. If boys, and other women, for that matter, grew up thinking positively about a girls’ body, and learned to not sexualize our body, then we wouldn’t have to change the dress code for the boys’ greater good in school. Is it really that big of a deal if a girl wears some leggings to school? Most girls wear them to be comfortable, not to show off anything. Not all boys think or act that way either, so should we assume this biased stereotype about boys too? There is one article I found called Seeing A Woman: A Conversation Between A Father and Son that I really enjoyed reading. It proves my point that all men do not think of women as sex objects. Father Nate Pyle says that when he sees his son looking at a girl in that certain way, he's going to have a talk with him about treating women like they are more than just objects of lust. He plans to tell his son that "It is a women's responsibility to dress herself in the morning. It is your responsibility to look at her like a human being regardless of what she is wearing." That is a very powerful and true quote.

If a dress code must be enforced, it should at least be consistent. Not just between genders, but within one gender itself. An experiment at Washington High School proved that consistent enforcement is a problem. Candee Blanc, a junior at Washington High School (WHS), purposefully wore short dresses and skirts to school in order to prove a point. Weighing 104 pounds at 5’3, Candee is very petite among her classmates, which proved as an advantage in upholding her school dress code. She never was reprimanded for her short and revealing clothing, whereas a close friend of hers, Athena Hamilton, was continuously singled out for dress code violations. Athena is bigger in size when compared to Candee, and toward the end of the year Athena questioned Washington’s assistant principal as to why she was in trouble for wearing the same leggings as other students the same day, the assistant principal replied, “It’s more noticeable on you,” as if to say because she was bigger she couldn’t “pull off” the clothing as well. How can we validate the school dress code, when it’s clearly being misused among schools, and, in fact, leads to body shaming?

Perhaps the sexist and hypocritical dress code does have good intentions when it is initially enforced. According to Fresno Pacific University News, the dress code is used as a safety precaution and to ensure better learning amongst all students. However, we see that due to the misuse and shaming of girls’ bodies this is not what is accomplished. In fact, the opposite occurs. Girls begin to feel uneasy when choosing clothes for school because they fear the embarrassment of being called down to the office. To say that this offense just happens in a school setting is a major understatement. Women all over are being deemed as distracting because of their wardrobe choices. The amount of women dismissed from their jobs because their outfits are “tempting” is sickening. For example, a woman named Debrahlee Lorenza was fired from her job at Citibank because she was too “hot.” She wore the same professional attire as the other women in the bank she worked with, but was told that they didn’t have to worry about them turning her on because “as their general unattractiveness rendered moot their sartorial choices, unlike plaintiff.” To think that an article of clothing can decide your ability to fully function around the opposite sex is wrong and ridiculous.
Image Source
This is what Debrahlee wore to work-completely proffessional. 

Don’t get me wrong, I agree there should be some limitations, but not at the expense of someone's emotional safety. If these limitations are enforced they must be equal and just, as any good regulation and guideline should be. What starts locally can have a more global effect in a matter of seconds. Thanks to the technology and media of today’s generation, people are awakening to what’s going on in the world and can (hopefully) fix the flaws in society abruptly and right. Girls and their families everywhere are using the media to explain to the world their problems with the dress code. Before there was social media, the problem that the girl in question and the school had about the dress code would have stayed really quiet, only between the school and the family. Now girls can share their problems with their school and how they’re handling the dress code on a variety of social media. After so many years of women living in the shadow of men, they are ready to break free from constantly pleasing others and have developed perspective and now have people listening to their voice.

Respect my Securitah!

The internet can be a very unsafe place, from people accidentally giving away their first child, to hackers having at it at peoples computers. All this stuff can lead many people to the conclusion that the internet is a bad place, when in fact if you are knowledgeable about how to use network security working to your advantage you will be just fine. A better way to describe it, is that they have themselves a double edged sword, in the way that they get all these cool services and yet they always end up having troubles with their computers. These troubles may include getting hacked, having your private information stolen, or getting stuck with an annoying virus. All of the above problems that can happen to you and your computer can be avoided, with a little help that I like to call knowledge.

A study done by Armeen Khan from the Telegraph, stated that over the past six months about 12 million people had their computer attacked by a virus. All of those people got attacked, even though 95 percent of them said that they had antivirus software. Following that study, lets get into the basics of protecting yourself and your computer. When you first get your computer, be sure to adjust your computer's security settings. As you are adjusting the settings make sure that you have some sort of updated version of virus/malware protection loaded on to your computer. Many computers already have a free version of this so make sure to have it on. Besides this be sure to have your firewall up and running, by going to the security settings on your computer, which stops unwanted outside access to your computer. The last important security setting that you may want to adjust is the cookies section. Cookies are pieces of data that websites hold on to, this can be good if you want some websites to hold on to what you like to buy for instance. It can be bad though if you don’t want certain websites holding on to secret information.

When searching the web you must be careful. A little tip is that at the top of the url the s in https stands for secure, and if there is a little lock that is closed it means that site is even more secure. If you are knowledgeable about safer websites try to only go to those, because websites that are corrupt can load unwanted viruses, adware, and other things onto your computer. One last tip is that when you are in your email, never open up spam or suspicious looking emails for they may contain unwanted programs. That also goes for ads on the side of websites in that they may also harm your computer.

The many different types of harmful things include, Worms which travel from computer to computer through networks, Trojan Horse which hides in files that seem to be harmless, Malware which is defined as something that is designed to disrupt the way your computer works, adware which shows advertisements that are unwanted, and last but certainly not least the big one Viruses which is basically all of the above. You can protect yourselves from all of these by being suspicious, being smart through common sense and your gut feeling, and just having good antivirus/antispyware programs.

This brings us to the last thing, and definitely the most important thing that people need to read all of a contract, understanding while doing it that a signed agreement is binding. What I am referring to is the terms of service, for almost anything digital like signing up for services and games. These terms of services are usually very long and full of words, which led a certain company known as F-secure to do a little test on the public. This test was taking place in London, and the plan was that in exchange for free wifi, the people had to give away their first born child to the company. They hid this exchange within their terms of service to check if many people would still agree to it anyways. In the end thirty three people only accepted the wifi once the terms were taken off, but six people unknowingly signed it without reading it. This shows the biggest point of all , which is that you need to be smart when using the internet/digital world. If you do this, nothing within the internet will be able to bring you down, and you will be able to use the internet to your full advantage with an eased mind.

People who argue against me might say that whenever a better antivirus/antimalware product comes out, there is always an updated virus to outmatch and bypass your security. This is infact true and there is always a risk, but if you stay smart, and use your wits then you will have an immense fully good chance that you will be fine. This relates to Digital Citizenship because hackers and other people are taking advantage of other peoples dim-wittedness. It also relates to it because although that one company did it as a test, another small business could actually take advantage of the fact that fifty eight percent of adults would rather read an instruction manual or a credit card bill than the terms of agreement. This test was done by a 2011 survey, and it is my last example of the connection between digital citizenship and the internet, and also how you are responsible about what you learn and how what you learn can greatly help you in life.


Copyright? More Like Copy and Paste

Image by Glogster.
People should be careful while sharing images online because they could be breaking the law. Copyright is a difficult topic to understand because the infinite line of copyright does not draw a line of breaking the law as opposed to following the law. Personally, there have been situations where I didn’t know whether I was breaking the law or not. After learning more about copyright, I was able to pick out situations where I have broken copyright laws.

Everyday, people use others' pictures without permission. If you break copyright laws, there is one major exception that can determine if you are breaking the law or not: fair use. Government takes infringement seriously. With violating copyright laws, the consequences can be major, leading to huge fines and even jail.

Caitlin Seida posted a picture on her personal Facebook account of herself on Halloween dressed up like a character from a video game, Lara Croft. Not knowing her privacy settings were off, she found her picture on a website that made fun of people of what they looked like and what they were wearing. Like Caitlin Seida, many of those pictures were of overweight people. Not only was posting her photo unethical and publicly embarrassing, this is an example of copyright infringement because the specific website did not confront Seida and ask permission to post the picture of her. If you were in Seida's position, being publicly ridiculed and finding a picture of yourself shared with many people which was only meant for your close friends, how would you try to solve this problem?
Image Courtesy of Kai's Blog

Fair use is to try to balance the right of the copyright holder and the public. Within fair use, there are eight factors:Use in small amount, rework and use in a different way, use for nonprofit purpose, add new meaning and make it original, schoolwork and education, news reporting, criticizing or commenting, and comedy and parody. The first reason, small amounts, means to use small samples of the material. For example, you could use only 30 seconds of a copyrighted song or just the middle of a picture you found. The second reason is to rework the material. This corresponds with the reason on adding new meaning and making it original. For example, the Obama “Hope” poster used an actual image for inspiration and changed the colors, the purpose, and the designs of it. The third exception is for nonprofit use. If you buy a song on iTunes and make it the background of a video you made and used it for personal use only without profit, then you are not breaking the law. However, if you don't receive permission from the artist of the song and distribute your video online or to others (in addition, using the video for profit), then you are breaking the law. The last four exceptions are easier to understand and self explanatory.If you use copyrighted material for school or education, news reporting, criticizing or commenting, or comedy and parody, they you can claim Fair Use as long as you are not breaking the other four exceptions.

These videos may or may not following Fair Use. Do you think these videos are following Fair Use? Why?

Scary Mary Poppins Trailer 

A Fair(y) Use Tale

Even though there are exceptions to help you make copyright easier, the government takes copyright infringement seriously. If laws are broken, the owner of the material is able to charge fines and even send people to jail. If the infringement is large and serious, the fines can be up to $25,000 per piece of work or the jail time can be up to 5-10 years.

Many people with different opinions may argue that copyright laws don't make a difference and are irrelevant because it happens many times a day and the government does not punish all citizens. For example, Joel Tenenbaum was charged with $670,000 for illegally downloading 30 songs and sharing them with others. He was caught for infringement but not all people are caught with infringement. For example, someone using YouTube mp3 to download songs onto their computer might not get caught for their infringement. Another counterexample is that copyright laws disrupt the convenience of the internet, meaning if the pictures are on the internet, then they should be on the public domain.

In response I could state that even though people violate laws everyday there are organizations,websites, and people that are trying to stop infringement and piracy. For example the website has stopped 1,226,708 infringements just on photos since August 31, 2014. With infringement, many times people in the society or the artist of the material call out the infringers and bring the problem,if big enough, to court. I would also argue that copyright laws are no different than speeding laws. Many people drive over the speed limit and the consequences are a ticket with a fine, but some people are also able to speed without getting a ticket. Similarly, many people break copyright laws and are fined or imprisoned for their actions, but some people are able to get past the laws. In response people would still argue that speeding caused danger towards others. Similarly, copyright causes danger also. For example, Caitlin Seida's picture was shared publicly to the whole world when she was only trying to share her picture to her personal friends. This puts her personal identity and self confidence in danger because of public ridicule. This quote from her article shows the negative impact she received from this example of copyright.
"We all know the awful humiliation of a person laughing at you. But that feeling increases tenfold when it seems like everyone is laughing at you. Scrolling through the comments, the world imploded –– and took my heart with it." 
Many times, big copyright cases with hundreds of thousands of dollar fines, suspension, or even jail can act like a warning to others to make sure they are following copyright laws effectively. This example shows how copyright is just as important as any other law.

One way to stop copyright infringement is by making technology and sources easier to follow copyright laws. For example, search engines could make their settings easier to search for images for the public domain instead of all images. Right now, google is set up to search for all images and the settings take a few steps. Even though it only takes a few steps, many people do not know how to get their and what the settings mean. Another way could be to block copyrighted images on websites. For example if you went to website on how to make a cake and there is a copyrighted picture of a cake, then the website would not allow you to drag the picture to your desktop or a document. The last way could be to put copyright symbols on copyrighted images that are not in the public domain. This could enforce users to pay for the image first or get permission from the owner. This would also enforce users to credit the author, illustrator, artist, etc to use their work. These techniques could help reduce the amount of copyright infringement.

Have you ever been in a situation where you/ you witnessed copyright infringement happen? Now knowing about Fair Use, how would you deal with the problem?


When Objects That You Use to Wipe Your Snot Have Genders

Powerful Yogurt for Men
Products that are as unisex as it gets are beginning to have genders. Tablets, yogurt, pens, you name it, marketing teams are gendering these products in order to cater to either men or women. While in many ways gendered advertising can be a great way to get people to buy things, gendered advertising is taking a toll on our society and how boys and girls of all age groups view themselves by promoting limiting and sometimes harmful gender stereotypes.

Products are being marketed as strictly for men or women. These products are reinforcing gender stereotypes. When things like tablets are marketed towards women, they come with a pink background, and included apps for yoga and weight loss. When products like yogurt were “gendered” they come with red and black packaging, and renamed “powerful yogurt.” These products create a notion of obligatory masculinity for men and obligatory femininity for women, and doesn’t even allow any space for the people in between. When men and boys feel compelled to be masculine to please society and others around them, they may feel the need to drink, be strong, attractive, heterosexual, competitive, gruff, and domineering. When girls and women feel they need to be feminine they may feel the requirement to be skinny, pretty, obedient, empathetic, and sensitive. Granted these strict ideals did evolve from biological instincts of both sexes, wrong signals and ideas are beginning to be implanted in peoples’ heads because of these generalizations. These social limits our society sets for masculinity and femininity are beginning to show in advertising.

Gender stereotypes can be harmful to our overall health in numerous ways. They can be harmful to mental health by creating ideas in people’s minds that they must fit into a certain outline to be loved and accepted. This can create self-destructive habits that can take years to get rid of. The gendered products augment gender stereotypes and act as a measuring stick for health, beauty, and behavior. On top of the psychological impact of the gendered products and stereotypes, they charge a physical toll on our health as well. Gender stereotypes can cause eating disorders in both boys and girls. Sixty-nine percent of 5th-12th grade girls’ idea of a what their body should look like has changed according to what they see in magazines. Eighty-one percent of 10 year old girls fear being fat according to the National Eating Disorders Association. The physical effects of an eating disorder can be devastating. They can include anemia, amenorrhea, and can cause severe issues concerning internal organs along with potential miscarriages. If you ask me, that’s an awful lot of trouble to go through just to fit into a cookie cutter image of what femininity should look like. When one is bombarded with so many idealistic images of perfection, it can cause health serious health problems. In a study done in Peru over the course of a few months of adolescent behavior by gender, all of the girls were depriving themselves of food in some way. All of the boys felt the need to drink large amounts to feel masculine. At a young age, copious alcohol consumption will damage one’s brain development severely. The boys also felt the need to fight each other when they felt threatened, and this could lead to momentous injuries. Gender stereotypes can cause serious trouble if they risk proper brain development and physical injury.

In a study that was done of a couple who decided to raise their child as gender neutral to free them of stereotypes, the family got a lot of backlash. The backlash is understandable because the majority of the people involved in the study thought the couple was doing it to make a political statement. The people strongly opposed this because they argued that there is no such thing as socially defined factors that go into gender, it is all biologically created. Some of their arguments involved the school of thought that gender identity and sexual identity are the same thing. Other arguments against the gender neutral child included that gender was “God-given” or “assigned by God.” One should not bring religion into sociological arguments because it perpetuates endless bias. In the case of a girl in Virginia, she cut off her hair to donate it to Locks of Love. After showing up the next day to her Christian school, her parents received an e-mail from the principle saying that their daughter’s haircut was inappropriate for their school because it did not represent her gender that was assigned by God, and she was not allowed to attend the school anymore because they had a policy against “ungodly conduct.”

In response to this, I would say that sex is separate from gender. One is biologically determined and one is not. One’s sex is determined based on whether a person has male or female genitalia. Gender is a spectrum, and a social standpoint inside a person’s mind. If someone is biologically male or female, it does not mean that they are automatically male or female inside their head. A person’s gender can be male, female, and anywhere in between. A person can be genderless. It is difficult for society to wrap their heads around this today partly because we have been using sex and gender interchangeably for so long and because we have been conditioned to think that sex, gender, and sexuality are corresponding.

People who believe this idea, that gender, sex, and sexuality are all the same thing are the majority of the people who are in charge of advertising, marketing, and merchandising. Given this, it is no surprise that gender and sexuality stereotypes are starting to come through in their marketing strategies. Some may say things like “Well it is just a marketing technique, and not something to get worked up about,” and yes, it would not be worried about so much if it did not cause psychological and physical damage to children and adults. The marketing teams are doing wrong to society because they are reinforcing gender stereotypes and in the case of younger people, they are cashing in on low self-esteem and puberty. What they are doing is not “just a marketing technique.” They are planting ideas in peoples heads that being gruff and domineering are qualities of a man when they are qualities of high testosterone, and that being empathetic, sensitive, and emotional are qualities of a woman when they are qualities of high estrogen. When people are not aware of this, they believe the companies and that is how physical and psychological damage caused by gendered advertising occurs.

"That's so Gay"

 Anti-Homophobia Poster
Homophobia, or the persecution of homosexuals, is one of the major topics of debate in our country, and has been for many years. Webster’s Dictionary defines homophobia as “irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals." A major issue surrounding homophobia has been persecution in the digital world.

Homophobia online, and cyber bullying in general, is a huge problem. With little or no restrictions on what people can say online, words like “faggot” are tossed around carelessly in video game chat rooms, YouTube comments, and other places without people knowing or not caring that they could actually be hurting someone’s feelings.  According to Gay Activist, between the ages of ten and twenty-four, nearly fifteen percent of gay and bisexual men have either tried to harm themselves or commit suicide. As stated by Infoplease, between 1950 and now, suicide rates for all teenagers between the age of fifteen and twenty four has more than doubled, increasing from 450,000 a year to an astounding 1,050,000. Since the incorporation of social media into our daily lives, suicide rates have increased dramatically. It is fair to assume that this is at least in part due to online homophobia, because people encounter so much more bullying and harassment online than they would outside of social media. According to Psychology Today, almost half of all people online experience some type of homophobia.

Before technology became part of our daily lives, bullies had to say stuff to people’s faces. Now, those bullies were bad enough, but there was always a knowledge that people were watching, and that they couldn’t do too much. Now, online, those boundaries have been thrown out the window. Without having the face-to-face contact, bullies can use masks of anonymity to say whatever they like without fear of retribution.

Something I don't understand is why do people feel the need to squash other's happiness by connecting with them online and saying hateful things.  Even if your personal view differ from those of others, and there is nothing wrong with that, they are your opinions, you don't need to go trying to impose your opinions on others. It is people like this, who believe that they must “save” all the sinners in the world and convert them to their way of thinking, that spark this homophobia. I am going to ask you all briefly to try to put yourself in a situation where you are the one being persecutes.  To give you an idea of what this might be like, here is a very powerful and moving  movie showing what it would be like if being gay was the norm.

Some people might even say that it is a choice that people are gay.  That gay people could just... turn it off.  With all the persecution that goes on, why on earth would anybody choose to be gay? We all may have our different opinions on the subject of homophobia, but it is the people that try to force others into their way of thinking by posting comments online that really affect people. The Washington Post published an article with brain research behind heterosexuality and homosexuality. They concluded that gay men’s brains are actually more like that of straight women’s, and vice versa. It is not a choice, people, it is who they are, and there is no changing it.

There are some things that “the common folk” can do about this. If you hear someone say “faggot” over the microphone in a video game, say very loudly and clearly back: “I am leaving because you said that,” and then exit the game. If you see someone has left a nasty, homophobic comment on a site, post a comment of your own stating that you are not going to use this site anymore because of what people are saying on it. Doing things like this, drawing attention to the issue, and convincing people that there is a problem. Many people still don’t think that there is a problem with homophobia. “The defense of marriage act got struck down, there must not be a problem anymore.” The first step to fixing a problem is recognizing that there is one.

What we need to do is to fight cyberbullying with different methods than we have been doing to fight regular bullying, and on a much more profound and larger scale. We have started to see slight improvements within the past few years on this particular issue. Websites have started to monitor the comments people are posting, and removing them if they are offensive. This is something that cannot be done in a chat room. At the same time, you could make the argument that monitoring what people say to each other online is suppressing their free speech. It is a very tough debate, and the end result is most likely do nothing, or take down the chat rooms in the first place.

We need LGBT teens to know that there are people out there who do support them, who do love them for who they are. We can all agree that bullying is bad, yet so many people do it, and so many people will just watch and let it happen. Websites like the “It Gets Better Project” are great examples of sites that LGBT teens can turn to for help and support. Don’t listen to the people online, because everyone is beautiful on the inside.


Raising Money has Never Been so Easy

Let’s be reasonable here. Most people cannot afford to contribute to every cause about which they feel strongly. But Social Media Fundraising is the one way that will catch someones attention enough that will make them feel like this is the one that is worth to contribute. Social media fundraising is a great way to support a cause.

Social media fundraising is not just a joke or a gimmick, it is a way for people to easily learn about and to
contribute to a cause. Social media fundraising is the most effective because so many people have switched into a more digital life. The fundraising technique is the most used out of all of the fundraising techniques. One example of great fundraising is the recent Ice Bucket Challenge which was a global media fundraising fad. Do you know what the Ice bucket challenge is really about? Well if you didn’t it was a social media fundraising technique set up by the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis association. The point of pouring freezing cold water over yourself was to have the sensation of having Lou Gehrig's disease, which is losing all body functions except your brain is still active. The challenge where you either dump water on your head or donate money. The challenge is very large with many celebrities and also other day to day people. Up to 1.2 million videos uploaded. The association raised up to 4 million dollars for the cause. That may be seen negatively except the organization still gained a lot of money then if they were not to use Social Media fundraising in the first place. Many celebrities, athletes and other famous people took part in the challenge which was a big attention grabber to many people. If you were to see your favorite actor or actress do the challenge it’s likely you too would want to be a part of it. This is just one of the many examples of how social media is able to create support for a cause. In general social media fundraising is a great way to gain support for your cause.
Image:DL Cade

Organizations that use social media fundraising will result in a 40% increase in their fundraising. Most organizations do this by using Youtube, Facebook and Twitter, which are all very popular social media sites. If a picture is worth a thousand words then how much would a video be worth. That is why youtube is such a great way for organizations to gain attention for a cause. I know that if someone were to hand me a piece of paper asking me to donate money I wouldn’t be very intrigued but when a video is placed before me I will gain a sudden interest immediately. Almost anyone or group can use social media fundraising, schools, churches, medical organizations, organizations to help with community service, social media is free, which makes it more accessible, too. Groups don’t need a giant budget for their campaigns because they can spread the news through free sites. That is another way social media fundraising is so useful because of how accessible it is.

Though social media is an absolutely great way to raise money people do see it has flaws. Going back to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, many people also used social media to bring attention to problems with the campaign. Most people that took part in the challenge did not even know what the purpose there was to it. Those people never found out the true meaning of ALS. In social media the meaning of the fundraising gets lost through all the commotion. So, though the organization is gaining awareness, it doesn’t always show the true meaning of the cause. In the 2000’s there were many organizations that used a type of social media were unsuccessful at gaining awareness. The attention the cause gets depends on how viral it becomes. Sometimes social media fundraising is used for the wrong reasons like for promoting someone's personal needs or pages. Did you know that malaria is 5 thousands times more deadly than Lou Gehrig's disease, so why isn’t there a huge campaign to raise money to fight malaria? My point here is that there are flaws in social media fundraising but it still is a great way to support a cause.

Social media has changed the way organizations are able to interact with their consumers. They are really able to make the consumer interactive and implied with the cause. The consumer will feel a sense of “I should do something” when approached with social media fundraising. An example of this is a British charity called Refuge who used YouTube to get a powerful point across about women being abused. It made the consumer aware of what the victims had gone through and what they challenge with. Another example of how social media is a great way to fundraise is the use of social media in Education. Students at Columbia University used social media and gained 6.8 million dollars in a day for their school Social media also allows charities to receive donations directly through phones, computers, and other electronic devices. That is because people are able to donate with a click of a button on their phone. Charities with small budgets are able to use social media fundraising because it is affordable and easy to use. Fundraising price in marketing through broadcasting is actually much higher than social media fundraising. Charities have the ability to gain donations regardless of the charity’s size.

All in all social media is a great way to gain support for a cause that truly matters. Though it may have some flaws, it still gives the one using social media fundraising a unique way to interact with the consumer. And reacting with the consumer this way helps create attention for the cause they are trying to promote.


Smartphone Addiction

A Smart Phone, but a Smart Choice?

Is this something you have seen around a lot? Has it already possessed your friends and family? Perhaps… it has already possessed you? This expensive item is becoming the norm for so many people across America as more and more smartphones turn from a device that allows you to send a quick email to a coworker or friend to an all purpose gadget.  Although this electronic multi tool sounds like a handy thing to have, it is beginning to to do serious damage to our lives. I personally have been offered a smartphone in replacement for my 90's flip-phone, but I have decided against it because I don't want any opportunity to be bound to it. I believe it is everyone who owns a smartphone's responsibility to manage their time on the device and to recognize the consequences of being irresponsible with such a powerful item.

One of the ways smart phones are affecting us is by deteriorating our health. For example, those who are addicted may have abnormal sleep patterns. This is caused by the blue light in an electronic screen that suppresses melatonin (a hormone that regulates the Circadian Rhythm or Sleep-Wake Cycle) production. Another way it affects sleep patterns is the obligation for many young people to have a 24/7 connection to their peers. Smartphones provide the opportunity to hang out with friends after school, and many teens feel pressured to be talking to their friends all the time. This connection interrupts teens because they will check it while trying to sleep whenever it makes a noise. Lack of sleep leads to increasing levels of anxiety, depression, and irritability, and decreasing levels in focus and creativity. Overuse of smartphones also causes long term effects such as tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, back/neck pain, and even loss of vision. Tendonitis when affiliated with smartphone addiction is caused by too much texting, scrolling, gaming, and other smartphone activities. Inflamed tendons are not something that help in daily life. Carpal tunnel syndrome is another symptom caused by too much repetitive motion (something required for cell phone use) which can create hand and finger pains. Back and neck pain is caused by craning your neck over a cell phone or even your whole back. Loss of vision and some less extreme symptoms are caused by constantly looking at small print on a backlit screen. Another condition which has actually been given a clinical name is nomophobia. It literally means “no mobile phone phobia”.

Smartphone addiction has also been linked to problems with sanity, studying, self reflection, and actual in-person social interaction. With in-person social interaction being a necessity for everyone in order to get through life, one should at least know how to do it. About 67% of those who own smartphone (9 out of every 10 Americans has one) spend equal to or more time online talking to friends than they do offline, and 46% of them use their phone at the dinner table instead of conversing with relatives. It has also been proven that having the option to have an uninterrupted connection to their peers often overshadows the need for young people to connect with their parents. Self reflection and meditation over life is something that many teens need in order to synthesize information in their brain and form more ideas. One in every three teens send about 100 texts each day, and if we were able to take that number down, it would have a very positive impact upon our current and future society.

This image is from: The Towerlight  Photographer: Matthew Hazlett
Many people may counter-argue with these points by showing how useful a smartphone is and how much easier life has become now that they exist. And they would not be wrong to do so. Smartphones are incredibly useful. They replace the alarm clock, timer, calculator, flashlight, camera, MP3 devices, calendars, notepads, and even more. I am not disputing these facts at all. But some amount of self regulation and responsibility is required in order to wield such a powerful device. People must be educated on what overuse of smartphones can do to a person, and they can decide for themselves on how to manage their usage.

Despite there being all of the bad things that can be caused by smartphone addiction, there are many ways you can get treatment for a severe case or learn how to more responsibly manage your time on your smartphones. Some strategies that can be applied to anyone include figuring out which emotions or situations make us want to use our cell phone and finding something else to do instead, turning off notifications, and just finding the time in which you don’t actually need it. Other strategies have been applied to the largest population of people who are texting (teens). Some of the parents of the teens have enforced a rule in which phones must be turned off and/or taken away from their teens which gives them an excuse to get away from the obligatory 24/7 connection with their peers. Another method is to simply convince them that texting and “hanging out” with friends after school is not the only way to be happy. Introduce them to new hobby options which may lead them to meet new people who think alike in person, not on the internet. In some situations, a teen is trying to help a friend through a rough patch in their life, and is extremely adamant about maintaining a connection. A solution to such an event is to simply give the struggling friend a home phone number if he/she is in desperate need of support.

The technology of this century has allowed us to replace so many items with a single device, and it is up to you to decide whether or not to have one. I hope that the information provided on this blog allows you to make a conscious decision on whether or not you really need a smartphone like I did, and if you do, you will make managing the time you spend on it a big part of your usage.