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National Centre for Missing and Exploited Essay

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With the advancement of technology; Desk top computers, lap tops or note book computers, PDAs, Mobile hand sets etc. and with the aid of wired and wireless networks, access to Internet world or Instant Messaging (IM) opened up a whole new dimension of human experience. “Cyberspace” has been mentioned so often that it may at this point seem trite and overly commercialised. “Cyberspace” is currently used in a primarily symbolic sense and is mostly associated with the Internet. When a user sits in front of a computer and switches it on, they can bring up an environment of hypertext.

It can seem like there is, behind the screen, an immense reservoir of information, which is also constantly being added to. A user is certainly aware that the people and processes that generate this information, and places where the information is stored, are not behind the screen or in the hard drive, but we nevertheless take the computer as a gateway to another place where other people have done similar things.

Conceptually, we tend to envision a non-physical “space” existing between here and there, and believe that we can access that “space” by utilizing computer-based technologies.

We send messages to others by e-mail, or talk to others in a chat room. Cyber-culture is significant, but it is still non-consequential at the ontological level. The more exciting thing is that cyberspace and virtual reality can go even further. Combining it with the technology of teleoperation, we can enter into cyberspace and interact with artificial objects to manipulate the actual physical process. Cyberspace hasn’t yet replaced the telephone, but instant messaging is becoming an indispensable means of teen socialization, according to a study out.

Nearly three out of four online teens – 13 million – use instant messages (IMs), according to the study of kids ages 12 to 17 from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. It clearly states that teens are fond of using instant messaging to pass information for various purposes. Cyberspace attracts teens who are between 14 and 16 year old, said Lisa Carlton. Instant messaging, which requires downloadable software (or comes built in with America Online and some other Net providers), allows users to carry on one or more real-time conversations simultaneously in text windows that pop up on a user’s computer screen.

The above report says teens use IMs to communicate with teachers about schoolwork, flirt, ask someone out and even break up. Most of the teens realize that messaging system has become part of their life up to some extent. Some newer concepts of instant messaging try to make a decentralized instant messaging system via peer-to-peer technology. In such a system, a distributed hash table lookup is used to determine if buddies are online or not. This approach tries to make instant messaging independent of a central authority.

“Everything they talk about in the offline world has migrated online,” says Pew’s Amanda Lenhart, principal author of the study. “Some of the most difficult conversations these kids have happen over instant messaging. ” On average, a teen IM session includes online chat with more than three friends simultaneously, Pew says. This survey provides basis for teens trends of modern living. “Instant messaging, a skill, maybe an ability, but it’s something our young people can do,” says Joseph Walther, a communications professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.

Y. , and editor of the Journal of Online Behavior. He says researchers at Cornell University define split or simultaneous attention as the “capacity to do two different communication skills at the same time. ” Among other findings, Most online teens (69%) engage in IM conversations several times weekly; 35% IM every day; 45% IM every time they go online. Close to half of teens (46%) say they spend between a half-hour and an hour on instant messaging each session; and an additional 21% say they spend more than an hour on a typical session.

Time span of using instant messaging system by teens reflects their requirement for availing these services to utilise every moment of life purposeful. But there’s a flip side to continuous conversation. Cornell found that some students were using wireless devices to IM friends during class while pretending to take notes and had lower grades. Another study released last month found that college students -especially lonely freshmen -who stayed up late to IM friends tended to miss more classes and be unprepared for coursework.

This is a drawback of such an advanced technology and students must be trained for proper utilisation of services. (USATODAY. com) Another report published in USA TODAY indicates- Thirteen-year-old singer Brittney Cleary wanted to debut with a song most kids her age could relate to. So she picked a tune about love. Her song is called IM ME, a reference to instant messaging, the online technology that allows computer users to carry on typewritten, private conversations in real time. Cleary, who lives in Nashville, Tenn. , says she and her buddies talk online about “everything.

David Silver, director of the Resource Centre for Cyber culture Studies at the University of Washington, likens abbreviated instant messaging talk to slang derived from hip-hop music. “In some ways, it’s very clever,” Silver says. “Like other forms of slang, it allows youth to talk amongst themselves without adults really understanding what they’re saying. ” Consider, for example, the online term POS: “parent over shoulder. ” Silver jokingly calls Cleary’s song “the fall of Western civilization. ” But he adds, “Actually, I’m kind of wondering why it took so long.

It really does reflect the rapid mainstreaming of cyber culture into American culture – and especially youth culture. From the mundane to the emotionally charged, there are no limits to the ways today’s kids connect and bond over instant messages (IMs) – those pop-up text windows used for carrying on real-time conversations online. “It’s not just empty rattle on. They’re using (IMs) to have difficult conversations- someone’s talking behind your back and you want to confront them,” says Amanda Lenhart of the Pew Internet & American Life project.

Its survey, finds that nearly three-fourths of online kids ages 12 to 17 rely on IMs to keep in touch with friends. For example-Caroline Barker, 16, is among 35% of teens that use IMs daily; she chats with about 10 close friends and 50 acquaintances in the Bethesda, Md. , area. “It’s especially good for making plans, or if you’re just bored,” she says. Teens offer insight to the complex social rules that come with a form of communication that still has many adults bewildered. We see teens up at all hours of the night IM-ing. Thirty years ago, teens were on the phone all night,” says Joseph Walther, editor of the Journal of Online Behavior.

“This could be another step in our own communication evolution. ” Pew’s survey of 754 teens finds that face-to-face interaction and phone contact have been partially replaced by IMs. Teens use them to nurture friendships, begin and end romantic relationships and mediate difficult conversations with the emotional distance the Net provides. Pew says 17% of the teens have used IMs to ask someone out, 13% to break up. Sometimes IM misunderstandings (text messages lack body language and voice tone) can spark hurt feelings and feuds, but different fonts and keyboard symbols can make smiley or sad faces, known as emotions.

For Barker and her friends, even the subtle difference between Hi and Hey that most adults dismiss sets the whole mood for a conversation. “Hi is formal, and it means you’re busy and you don’t really want to talk. Or maybe you’re mad about something,” explains Hillary Lowenberg, Hey is more open and informal and friendly, and you’re in the mood to IM. ” Many people find instant messages intrusive, and 57% of teens surveyed said they have blocked IMs, and 64% have refused to respond to IMs from someone they were mad at. Still, 48% of online teens believe IMs, warts and all, improve friendships.

Among frequent users, 60% say it helps friendships. While 61% of teens agree that the Internet is not ideal for making new friends, they use Net tools to broaden their networks of friends. Pew used several teen focus groups and online discussions to delve more deeply into teen Net use. Some teens say they give out their IM user name instead of phone number to new friends or potential dates. “Many believe that instant messaging allows them to stay in touch with people they would not otherwise contact – for instance, those who are only casual acquaintances, or who live outside their communities,” the report says.

More than 90% of teens surveyed said they IM with friends who live far away, such as those they met at camp. The study found a growing number of teens sharing passwords – a practice Internet service providers warn against. But more than a fifth of Pew respondents (22%) say they’ve done it. “It’s a new symbol of trust and friendship,” says Pew project director Lee Rainie. “In the pre-Internet days, one way to show how fond you were of someone was to give out a locker combination. ” Lenhart notes that parents “are a little mystified about why kids find this a satisfying conversation.

If you didn’t grow up with it, you’d think in some way it was less than a face-to-face. “But 64% of teens say they know more than their parents about using the Net — and 66% of parents agree. According to BBC News—US teenagers prefer instant messaging rather than e-mail to stay in touch with each other, research shows. A Pew Internet and American Life Project study found online teens are increasingly tech-savvy. Nearly nine out of 10 teenagers say they use the net, up from 74 percent in 2000, according to the Pew study.

While e-mail is seen as a tool for communicating with adults, instant messaging was proving the most popular way to chat with friends. Three-quarters 75% of online teenagers in the US have used IM, the survey found, with personalised features proving popular. Features such as buddy icons are a popular way for teenagers to express and differentiate themselves. Major activity teens do online are-Send or read e-mail: 89%Visit websites about TV, music or sport stars: 84%Play online games: 81%Online news: 76%Send or receive instant messages: 75% half of these say they go online every day, according to the Pew study.

The amount of time American teenagers are spending online and the range of things they are doing have both increased. Just over 50% of those online use a broadband connection, 81% play games online, 76% get news online and 43% make purchases. “Increasing numbers of teenagers live in a world of nearly ubiquitous computing and communication technologies that they can access at will,” said report co-author Amanda Lenhart. Their fondness with being online even extends to when they are physically away from the computer.

“Instant Messaging ‘away’ messages, in effect, maintain a presence in this virtual IM space,” said co-author Mary Madden. The power users of the online teen world are girls aged 15-17, the survey found. Some 97% of this age range has used instant messaging, and 57% have sent a text message. They are also more likely to have bought something online and used the web to search for information on health, religion and entertainment topics. A representative sample of 1,100 teens between 12 and 17 and their parents in the US were interviewed by phone.

Teens and youth are excessively using IMs, It is imperative to develop certain rules and preventive measures to protect them from technology hazards. A Resource Guide for Parents covers a broad range of Internet privacy and safety topics. There are no easy answers to ensure your child has harm-free experiences on the Internet. Likewise, there are no truly effective technology-based solutions. In the final analysis, there is no substitute for parental involvement in children’s exploration of cyberspace.

Following are certain measures to be taken care of- -Privacy policy. Read the privacy policy statements on the web sites visited by your children. Teach older children to do the same. -Encourage your children, especially teens, to take responsibility for their online behavior by establishing a contract with them. The Federal Trade Commission’s “Site seeing on the Internet” provides sample language, -Family rules. You can establish family rules for online computer use. Among those suggested by the National Centre for Missing and Exploited-

-Tell your children never to give out identifying information such as family information, home address, school name, or phone number in chat room discussions and when visiting web sites, Explain to children that passwords must never be given to anyone else, even someone claiming to be from the online service, Warn your children not to respond to messages that are threatening, suggestive, demeaning, or otherwise make you or the child uncomfortable. Tell them to report such messages to you. The psychological qualities of cyberspace are determined by the hardware and software that constitute computers and the online world.

An Op has the power to throw you off an IRC channel; lag can destroy conversation in a chat group; the reply-to in listserv group might send your e-mail to the whole list or just to the sender of the message. All of these factors affect the psychological “feel” of the environment. With the rapid advancement of wireless network technologies, wireless communications and mobile-based information services are changing people’s life style. How to provide mobile users with cost-effective wireless information services is becoming a hot topic for wireless vendors

References: 1) Jon Ippolito (December 1998–January 1999). “Cross Talk: Is Cyberspace Really a Space? “. Artbyte: 12–24. 2) USA today, 06/12/2001, 2001 The Associated Press 3) Karen Thomas, USA TODAY, 2006 4) Christine Morente, Teen find support in cyberspace, San Malco County Times, January 4, 2005. 5) Malcolm R Parks; making friends incyberspace, Vol-46; 1996 6) BBC News, 28th July;2005 7) Gao, J. ; Modak, M. ; Dornadula, S. ; Shim, S. ; e-Commerce Technology, 2004. CEC 2004. Proceedings. IEEE International Conference on 6-9 July 2004 Page(s):337 – 341

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