Guest Contributor: Hillary Smith
It’s hardly possible to list all perks of owning a pet in one article, so I won’t even try. Instead, I’ll focus on one of the least discussed aspects of pet ownership – its effect on children bullying and depression. This topic is as serious as it is important to talk about since more people than we know suffer from the above-mentioned problem. Both depression and bullying in children can significantly affect the quality of life, that’s why the issue should not be left without attention.
It goes without saying that pets fulfill our lives with new emotions. Nothing compares to seeing your fluffy dog running towards you as you get back from work at the end of a long working day. And there’s sure nothing like waking up from a tender purr your cat makes when sitting by your bed early in the morning. Most of the pet owners would agree that having a four-legged friend is associated with positive emotions that range from adoration to happiness to amusement.
Can Your Pet Cure Depression?
Absolutely. Although it doesn’t happen overnight, there is scientific evidence that pets can help alleviate (or even eliminate entirely) the symptoms of depression. Animal-assisted therapy is considered an effective way of treatment for those suffering from depression and anxiety.
But How Can They Do This?
There’re plenty of possible reasons why this works, and I’d be happy to mention the most probable ones. First and foremost, pet ownership is all about unconditional and uncomplicated love. While we can only dream about such level of relationships with other human beings, our fluffy friends find it easy to bring it to our lives. With pets, love feels simple, which brings a great relief for those tired of disputes and unjustified expectations. Secondly, owning a pet encourages activity and helps you build up your daily routine. They say we’re most likely to feel depressed when are bored and not busy. Well, with a ball of fluff rushing around, there’s no enough room for boredom. Thirdly, pets are great for social interaction and they can easily fulfill your daily need of physical touch.
Pets and Bullying in Kids
Speaking of how pet ownership affects bullying in kids, there are two different perspectives to be considered. The first one is how pets can help children fight against bullying, while the second is just the opposite – how pet ownership breeds empathy and helps children realize the true nature and adverse consequences of bullying. To put it differently, adopting a pet can help both victims of bullying and those bullying others.
So how pets can fight bullying?
As it’s been proved, pets help children better understand such complicated feelings as empathy, tolerance, and kindness – all those emotions a lack of which often results in bullying issues. Since pets are known for responding to emotional cues, they can teach children to show compassion to those in need.
At the same time, owning a pet (especially a dog) can help kids deal with a psychological burden of bullying they might experience at school or elsewhere. Having a pet helps children feel more confident, loved, and understood. As a result, having a pet is likely to make your kid able to respond to bullying better.
Being bullied can have serious negative consequences on a child’s mental health, which is why the problem should never be left untreated. Luckily, chances are good that something as simple as adopting a pet can help tremendously.
So what’s the bottom line?
Having a pet is great for both physical and mental health. However, not all pets are equal. Especially, when it comes to dogs. While some breeds are great companions and can feel like real friends, others are less inclined to hugs and kisses. So if your primary reason for owning a pet is emotional well-being, make sure to conduct a little research to be able to make an educated choice. And don’t forget the most important thing: regardless of your choice, life will never be the same. In the finest sense of these words.
Happy 2017! Enough Is Enough has been working tirelessly in the month of January to tackle issues that are all part of our effort to keep our kids safe online. Current efforts range from fighting sex trafficking online, to shaping and suggesting policy within the new Trump administration, to continuing to educate the public with ways to keep our children’s online information private and safe. You’ll find below just a taste of what is going on at EIE, as well as some helpful resources to protect your family online.
In other BREAKING NEWS: EIE applauds the leadership in South Dakota and Virginia for passing resolutions declaring pornography a public health crisis. EIE continues to lead on a national level educating the public and policy makers on the harms of pornography, and we celebrate the victory with those who are taking action!
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. This crime occurs when a trafficker uses force, fraud or coercion to control another person for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or soliciting labor or services against his/her will.
Enough Is Enough is working hard to make sure that parents know traffickers are targeting children — mainly between the ages of 12-19 — right in our own backyards, and are using the Internet to entice them into a face-to-face meeting. The traffickers use the same tactics used by sexual predators to groom and exploit children online.
Did you know…
- Traffickers often set up fake accounts online to “friend” a teen, and lure them into meeting up?
- Teens from all different social economic and ethnic backgrounds are targets.
- Sex trafficking is the 2nd fastest growing crime in the United States, according to the FBI.
- Law enforcement in Houston, home to Super Bowl 51, plan to increase resources to combat sex and labor trafficking. Large events are often associated with drawing in traffickers due to the large crowds that are present.
EIE In the News:
Donna Rice Hughes on WUSA 9 Discussing the Women’s March (January 24, 2017)
- Own your online presence: Set the privacy and security settings on websites and apps to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s OK to limit how and with whom you share information.
- Lock down your login: Choose one account and turn on the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device. Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media.
- Keep a clean machine: Update your security software, web browser and operating system to have the best defense against viruses, malware and other online threats.
- Share with care: What you post can last a lifetime. Before posting something about yourself or others online, think about how it might be perceived now and in the future and who might see it.
- Will you aggressively enforce the existing federal obscenity laws, child pornography laws, sexual predation laws and the sex trafficking laws?
- Research substantiates that online pornography is a growing health crisis that must be addressed and reversed. What strategies would you implement to deal with the proliferation of prosecutable pornography which has been allowed to flourish online due to the failure of the Obama Justice Department to enforce the existing federal obscenity laws?
- How will you work with Congress and the White House to ensure law enforcement and intelligence agencies have the necessary tools, resources and support they need to investigate and prosecute child sexual exploitation, obscenity and child pornography and be of sufficient magnitude to effectively deter illegal activity on the Internet?
- How will you ensure the enforcement of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), requiring schools and public libraries using government eRate monies to filter child pornography, obscene content and harmful to minors material? In particular, how will you, as attorney general hold public libraries accountable to filter and work with the FCC to ensure oversight?
- Most victims of child pornography are prepubescent with a growing trend towards the depiction of younger children, including infants. Child pornographers and sex traffickers are gravitating to the use sophisticated anonymizing tools to cover their tracks and the “Deep Web” sites that cater to their perversion which accept payment in unregulated currencies such as Bitcoin. How will you tackle these growing challenges?
- The sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism (SECTT) has out-paced every attempt to respond at the international and national levels. The Internet has enabled offenders to groom children online, and to exchange information and advice on how to abuse children and avoid law enforcement detection… What strategies will you implement to get ahead of this growing trend?
- Will you support the work of a presidential commission to examine the harmful public health impact of Internet pornography on youth, families, and the prevention of sexual exploitation of children in the digital age?
“Barbara Walters Presents”
My 5th Show with Barbara
Airing Tuesday, December 6 at
8PM ET/7C on the Investigation Discovery Channel
A Message From the President
I wanted to let you know about my interview with the legendary Barbara Walters airing tomorrow night.
I sat down with Barbara in June for a couple of hours to tape the interview. The one-hour show covers my journey over the past several decades and highlights some key EIE victories since 1994.
I haven’t seen the entire show yet, but the producers tell me it’s a great hour of journalism, the way investigative reporting should be. For those of you who are history buffs, you might appreciate the historical significance of this show which chronicles the year the mainstream media went tabloid.
One thing is for sure, I respect and love my longtime friend Barbara, who held my hand during one of the most difficult years of my life. And for those friends and family who walked though that season with me, I will always be grateful.
Most importantly, I always believed that if I chose the high road, the path of dignity and follow the Lord’s leading in my life, that all these painful and challenging times would work out for good, and they did. (Romans 8:28-29)
Barbara Walters Interview Information
“Barbara Walters Presents: The Scandal That Changed History” airing tomorrow night, Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at 8ET/7C on the Investigation Discovery Channel.
Donna Rice Hughes, CEO/President of Enough Is Enough® (EIE), whose mission is making the Internet safer for children and families, congratulates Donald J. Trump on winning the Presidency.
Mr. Trump enthusiastically signed The Children’s Internet Safety Presidential Pledge in July, prior to the GOP convention. EIE is a non-partisan, non-profit organization and does not endorse or oppose candidates for office.
“Mr. Trump’s leadership to uphold the rule of law by signing the Children’s Internet Safety Presidential Pledge is historic and represents the first time in history a candidate has signed a pledge during the election process to defend the innocence and dignity of America’s children by promising to enforce the existing federal laws and advancing public policies designed to prevent the sexual exploitation of children online” said Mrs. Hughes, a leading Internet safety pioneer, author, speaker, and Emmy-winning filmmaker.
They’ve become all the rage for kids and adults alike. After all, within a matter of minutes and a few clicks of the keyboard, anyone can determine: “Which Celebrity Do You Resemble?” “What Classic Disney Princess Are You?” “Are You Actually Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” “Which State Do I Actually Belong In?” “How Young Are You At Heart?” “What Is Your IQ!” Quiz lovers and anyone seeking instant gratification or feedback about their intelligence, identity, or personality traits are up to the challenge.
There’s no denying that online quizzes and surveys can be enticing. Long before the Internet was around, they appeared in an assortment of magazines and publications. Today however, the seemingly harmless quizzes that have taken over social media feeds and appear regularly on search engine ads have driven up online traffic in record numbers to the delight of quiz developers. The results can then be instantly shared or posted to friends and any online connections. Children also partake in this viral quiz-taking phenomenon as it’s a fun and easy way to compare and share results with their friends.
But the question must be asked: Is there a cost to taking online quizzes?
The answer is a resounding yes. While many get easily sucked in to answer a set of seemingly unrelated questions to appease their curiosity, participating in online quizzes can come with a hefty price.
Although they can seem like a momentarily thrill ride as questions and images are designed to engage the quiz taker, the user is often not aware that these quizzes are a data-mining haven for the quiz developer—and even fraudsters—to collect personal data, and in some cases their money.
If you’ve ever taken a Facebook quiz, you’ll be asked to log in with your social media profile before the results can be posted for friends to see. Most often, a popup screen will ask you to allow access “to pull your provide information, photos, your friend’s info, and other content that it requires do work.” It goes on to say:
Did you catch that? Your profile information is being accessed by the quiz developer (and your Facebook friends’ information is being accessed without their knowledge or permission)! The abundance of information being shared can include photos, your personal information and interests, work and education history, groups you belong to, religious views and more.
Participating in online quizzes can also lead to unwanted ads that follow you long after you’ve taken a quiz, or request a required payment or purchase with a credit card (which opens up a whole host of problems with potential credit card fraud) before results can be accessed. Even more disturbing, terms and privacy policies stemming from quizzes are sometimes found on an entirely different domain from that on which the quiz appeared. Developers are likely banking on the fact that quiz takers will breeze right through the small print allowing third-party service providers to collect a whole slew of information about personal income, buying habits, and so forth, which are then put on display for marketers ready and willing to pay for specific, targeted data.
So what can you do to protect yourself and your child? First and foremost, if the temptation is too strong to bypass these quizzes, adjust your social media privacy settings and deselect anything you do not want shared without your permission. Also, make sure you know who your Facebook Friends are (and especially your child’s Facebook Friends if they have an account) as they may be able to share your profile information (or your child’s profile information) by taking part in these quizzes.
Teach your kids not to take these quizzes without your permission. That way, you can monitor what information they are voluntarily providing (whether they realize it or not). Of course, caution your children about posting personal or contact information, including your child’s full name, address, phone number, passwords, and financial information that should only be provided on a secure site under parental supervision.
If you’re uncertain as to how to monitor social media accounts, Enough Is Enough has a host of brief Internet Safety 101 “Rules ‘N Tools” videos available on You Tube that show how to set privacy settings, and provides instruction on ways you can know your child’s online activities and friends. Click here to view the safety videos.
So next time if you want to find out if your intelligence meets the “genius” criteria, or determine what your biological age really is, first consider the privacy rights you may be relinquishing by taking the quiz. Better yet, just bypass these quizzes all together. If you must indulge, take them the old fashioned way with paper and pencil.
Changing The Culture
EIE In the News
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH® JOINS HOMELAND SECURITY CAMPAIGN URGING FAMILIES, EDUCATORS, AND COMPANIES TO BE MORE VIGILANT ONLINE
Take Action! Become a Change Agent!
Find out more about our campaigns and how you can Take Action to help make the Internet safer for Children and Families! CLICK HERE to visit our Action Center!
Please support our mission to make the Internet Safer for Children and Families with your most generous donation today or become a regular partner by joining Donna’s Team, The President’s Circle or the CEO’s Circle!
SIGN OUR PETITION NOW
HELP US STOP DISNEY-THEMED XXX PORNOGRAPHY
Dear Friends and Partners in the Movement,
We need your help. What I am about to tell you will shock you, but its true.
For 15 years, we at Enough Is Enough® , have patiently urged Disney executives to take action to stop the proliferation of Disney themed hard-core porn sites, in particular, Disneypornland. These sites-are a clear violation of Disney’s copyrighted brand as well as its signature cartoon characters.
They portray beloved Disney characters performing graphic sexual acts with one another.
Sorry parents and grandparents, they are all there. Ariel, Snow White, Cinderella, and more. Why? Because the multi-billion Internet porn industry has successfully used deceptive and misleading marketing tactics to trick online users to get them to their porn sites.
I’ve avoided making this issue more public out of concern that traffic to these sites would explode and millions of curious seekers would be exposed to the disturbing videos and images that would be difficult to erase from their minds. Trust me, don’t look, don’t search. You can’t “unsee it”. If you don’t believe me, you can simply view our Internet Safety 101 teaching series film trailor here in which I use a Disneypornland, with blurred images, as an example of the misuse of popular cartoon characters.
I first brought this issue to Disney in 1999 and several times since then. I had hoped that Disney would have taken aggressive action to enforce their copyrights. But today, sadly, Disneypornland has not been taken down and has only grown to incorporate the newest and most popular Disney characters. And it’s gotten much worse, My recent Google search on Disney-themed porn yielded more than 12,600,000 search returns. In other words, there a many other obscene porn sites that are now exploiting and capitalizing the Disney brand and characters.
Why? Because they can. Only Disney has the muscle and legal authority to take action.
Disney themed porn is a serious issue. Online pornographers will stop at nothing, and don’t believe for a minute they are not after your kids.
Pornographers understand that the sexually exploitative pornography they produce and distribute is highly addictive. If they can get children hooked at a young age when they are curious, their hormones are raging and their brains and bodies are underdeveloped, they will likely have a consumer for life unless the addiction cycle is broken.
“I think about every person in this generation, and probably the one before us, have all looked up pornography once in their life. Even if you’re not looking for it, you could be innocent on the computer…and it’ll find you.” — Zach, 15 yr.old, Internet Safety 101 DVD
Will you join us in urging Disney to aggressively pursue the shutdown popular Disney-themed porn sites, for the sake of children and families in America and all over the world?
Thank you for the sake of children and families worldwide,
P.S. In case you missed it, I wrote an article on this issue that ran in the Washington Examiner last Friday. Read it here.
Enough Is Enough® is a national bi-partisan non-profit organization who has led the fight to make the Internet safer for children and families since 1994. EIE’s efforts are focused on combating Internet p*rnography, child p*rnography, sexual predation, and cyberbullying by incorporating a three-pronged prevention strategy with shared responsibilities between the public, Corporate America, and the legal community.
Stop. Think. Connect.
Enough Is Enough Joins Homeland Security Campaign Urging Families,
Educators, and Companies to be More Vigilant Online
WASHINGTON, DC— Enough Is Enough (EIE) joins the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Security Awareness Campaign for National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). “Stop.Think.Connect.” is a national public awareness campaign aimed at increasing the understanding of cyber threats and empowering the American public to be safer and more secure online.
“Internet safety and security are a crucial part of parents’ lives in today’s digital world,” says Donna Rice Hughes, President of Enough Is Enough, producer and host of EIE’s award-winning Internet Safety 101 Program to educate and empower parents to protect kids online. “Cyber security awareness month is an ideal reminder to parents to become more aware of their children’s activities online, discover what they don’t know and learn how to be their children’s first line of defense. In the ever evolving digital world where kids are constantly connected and dangers are prevalent, parents can feel they are playing whack-a-mole in their attempts to keep kids safe. We encourage parents to have a reality check and recognize that even the smartest most responsible of children are not always immune from online threats. This month, EIE joins hundreds of other organizations to help sure that every parent has the tools needed to prevent the misfortunes we see in the news.”
Internet safety is a shared responsibility between the public, corporate America and government. Parents cannot do the job of corporate America and law enforcement. This is why EIE continues to press forward with its current National Porn Free WiFi Campaign urging American companies offering free public WiFi to their patrons to voluntarily filter child porn and pornography. In response, McDonald’s is now filtering their in store WiFi in nearly all of their 14,000 stores and Starbucks has issued a policy to do the same. EIE launched The Children’s Internet Safety Presidential Pledge asking the Presidential Nominees to uphold the rule of law by aggressively enforce existing federal laws to prevent the sexual exploitation of children online, including the obscenity, child pornography, sexual predation & sex trafficking laws. Donald Trump signed the Pledge and Hillary Clinton sent a letter of support for the Pledge’s goals.
Studies have shown:
- Internet safety is the 4th top ranked issue on the list of health concerns for U.S. children and sexting is ranked 6th. C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital (2015)
- 83% of b15oys and 57% of girls have seen group sex online; 32% of boys and 18% of girls have viewed bestiality online.
- In a random sample study over 14% admitted to cyberbullying another person, with spreading rumors online, via text, or email being the most common form of bullying. (Cyberbullying Research Center, 2015).
- 60% of teens who admit to being bullied online have told an adult (compared to 40% last year). Cox. (2014) “Cox 2014 Internet Safety Survey.” The Futures Company.
- One in two parents do not use any blocking or filtering software on their children’s Internet enabled devices.(FamilyPC Survey, August, 2001)
- 1 in 5 teens have used a private browsing feature so their parents can’t see the sites they’ve visited. Cox. (2014) “Cox 2014 Internet Safety Survey.” The Futures Company.
Enough Is Enough® is a national bi-partisan non-profit organization who has led the fight to make the Internet safer for children and families since 1994. EIE’s efforts are focused on combating Internet p*rnography, child p*rnography, sexual predation, and cyberbullying by incorporating a three-pronged prevention strategy with shared responsibilities between the public, Corporate America, and the legal community. www.enough.org. www.internetsafety101.org
National Cybersecurity Alliance builds strong public/private partnerships to create and implement broad-reaching education and awareness efforts to empower users at home, work and school with the information they need to keep themselves, their organizations, their systems and their sensitive information safe and secure online and encourage a culture of cybersecurity.
For more information or to arrange an interview with Donna Rice Hughes, please contact Cassandre Durocher with Shirley & Banister Public Affairs at 703-739-5920 or firstname.lastname@example.org.