Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentines Day - time for romance, love and disrobing online! Seniors Alert!

I am always interviewed and speak about kids sexting and disrobing online...they engage in cybersex (sexual chat) and pose in provocative ways. We warn them about repercussions. We lecture about risks and consequences. We tell them to keep their hormones in check. But, while sexting among young people is a growing problem, so is sexting among seniors and single and not-so-single adults. I get as many emails from grandparents asking how to delete a sexy pic they shared with someone online as I do from grandparents worried about their grandchildren. While visions of 85 year olds in the buff may not be a turn-on for most of us, they apparently are for other seniors who are lonely, love-starved and still active libidos. They do it for the same reason kids do. To get someone's attention. To show they care. To share how much they care. They may do it while intoxicated or on medication and not thinking clearly. Or they may do it when not thinking at all. But mirroring their younger counterparts, they worry about what will happen if the image "gets out". They worry about family members seeing it, or neighbors, or pastors, rabbis and priests. So, this Valentine's Day, show love in other ways. If you are going to take off your clothes, do it in person and make sure the cameras are off and stay that way.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Finding Love in all the CyberPlaces - why we love to love online

I gave an interview to the Buffalo News last week. It ran today. I was asked about why people engage in online romances. We talked about the typical issues of loneliness, disconnectedness, fear of being hurt....But there are many more of us who do it becasue it saves time. Time we don't have with 24/7 ever-connected jobs. We live in isolation. Work in isolation. Commute in isolation. We at, drink and play in isolation too often as well. Who has time for getting dressed up? High heels hurt and shaving after you get home form a long day at work? Sometimes not worth the trouble. Cyberdating allows us to sit at home, in our bunny slippers with chinese take-out and fit cybersex and cyber-romance between episode of Game of Thrones and Girls. We don't have to straighten our apartments, empty the sink or put out dip. We don't have to worry about STDs, pregnancy or our kids walking in on us. When I do CNN or other news programs, or am shot for TV from my home, I often get dressed for the camera from the waist up. no one sees that I am barefoot or in my favorite sweatpants. The camera sees what you want it to see. Wearing a facial mask or had a bad skin/hair/body day/week/lifetime? No prob. Put an "out of order" notice on your webcam and do a low sexy voice instead... Sometimes, dating isn't worth the effort. And cyberdating allows us to expend as little or as much effort as we want. It's cleaner, faster and easier. Cyberdating is becoming a relationship of convenience. It's not for kids anymore. (Never was, actually.) As we think about love this Valentines Day, let's think about taking it a step further...maybe even dialing the phone! :-)

a snow day - kids reach out for help online

This past Friday most of the NE coast schools were closed for the blizzard. When I was growing up, snow days meant we could go sledding, build snowmen and forts or lay on the sofa reading books with a cup of hot chocolate. This Friday, however, WiredSafety and our StopCyberbullying helpline received four times the normal number of inquiries and calls for help. Why? We're not certain, but think it has to do with the brief break in the school schedule and the time and need to report cyberbullying. It only reminds us that if our kids spent more time building snow forts and throwing snowballs, they might have fewer problems online. Many cyberbullies act out for entertainment. They do it to fill boring time. And targets of cyberbullying will feel better when they are laughing and ducking well-aimed snowballs than sitting in their rooms brooding over online insults. Our studies have shown that online drama is seriously reduced with kids who are athletes. Whether it's the reduced time, energy or focus, or working off excess teen hormones and cortisol, offline sports reduces online angst. So, put on your mittens and UGGs and laugh a little with your kids. It's good for everyone and will keep them safer online. Who knew?

Thursday, February 07, 2013

A Golden Opportunity Seized! Thank you Gov Christie

A Golden Opportunity Seized I wrote an Op-Ed for the Star Ledger Monday asking Governor Christie to seize the opportunity to protect all consumers - especially our children- from the risks of unregulated online gambling. I just learned that he conditionally vetoed the bill, but once it is amended to build in better protections of problem gamblers, he indicated that he will sign it. This is wonderful news and speaks to his continued leadership in our state and across the country. Today's conditional veto of online gambling legislation by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is an important step forward in protecting consumers - especially children - online. Governor Christie understands that we have to regulate online gaming, instead of continuing to ignore it. He has expressed concern over online problem gambling, which is commendable. To address this concern, today he charged the New Jersey State Legislature with amending the bill to include increased funding for compulsive gambling treatment programs. He also requested an annual analysis of online gambling's impact on problem gambling. This can act as an early warning system to allow the state to address any issues before they get out of hand. Thank you, Governor Christie, for seizing this golden opportunity to protect New Jersey's families. Good work! Once again, you make me proud to be from New Jersey!