Petition for children’s mental health

Petition for Children’s Mental Health: Send a message to the Ontario provincial government
by Jennifer Forbes
Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The opportunity to demonstrate your support for 1 in 5 children and youth who are troubled by mental health issues, is still open. Life long mental health difficulties so often start in our young. With your help, our efforts to bring this issue the attention it needs can be achieved.

By May 13th, the end of Children’s Mental Health Week, we aim to have 5000 names on our petition.

So far we are almost 20% along and look for your help in moving this number up.

This petition will not only be sent to the heads of our provincial parties, we can use the strength of its numbers to bolster our messaging in upcoming meetings and other advocacy efforts.

If you have not already signed the petition, you still have time.

Thank you
Consumers and Advocates Committee of the Provincial Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Heath
Parents for Children’s Mental Health
Youth Net

children, parenting, mental health, Ontario, Canada

When do our children become FIRST priority?

This kind of reaction from so-called “civil liberties” factions both amazes and enrages me:

Child porn rings hard to track
Wed Feb 7, 2007
By BRIAN BERGSTEIN, AP Technology Writer The numbers behind an international child pornography bust Wednesday were themselves disturbing: Nearly 2,400 suspects from 77 countries allegedly paid to view videos depicting sexual abuse online. But the nature of Internet traffic makes it sadly unsurprising that people would figure they could hide so much hideous material.

Finding and stamping out such content “is needle-in-a-haystack work,” said Carole Theriault, a security consultant with Sophos PLC in London.

Austrian authorities said an employee of a Vienna-based Internet file-hosting service approached his national Interior Ministry last July with word that he had noticed the pornographic material during a routine scan.

The videos showed “the worst kind of child sexual abuse,” said Austrian Interior Minister Guenther Platter, citing the rape and sexual abuse of girls and boys younger than 14. At times the children could be heard screaming.

Lead investigator Harald Gremel said the videos were online for at most a day before they were discovered. The Austrian Internet service employee blocked access to the videos while recording the computer addresses of people who tried to download the material, and gave the details to authorities.

Within 24 hours, investigators recorded more than 8,000 hits from 2,361 computer addresses in 77 countries around the world, including the United States, according to Gremel…

Why did finding this take what would seem a lucky break by network administrator? Because everything traversing the borderless Internet looks the same while in transit. Whether it’s a mundane e-mail or videos as insidious as this, all traffic gets splintered into packets of data that don’t identify what they contain. Consequently, unless a nefarious Web site advertises itself with spam e-mails or shuttles an inordinate amount of traffic, several factors can conspire to keep it in the shadows.

For example, Theriault noted that the perpetrators could send footage over peer-to-peer networks or computers that had been surreptitiously co-opted by Internet worms. “You could have this stuff on innocent machines and the owner wouldn’t even know it,” Theriault said. “It can get ugly and complicated, absolutely.”

Search engines and other analytical programs regularly “crawl” the Web to capture what lurks out there, but generally they are in search of text. One cloaking mechanism – often seen in spam – is for a site to put salacious keywords inside images, out of the reach of text-based scans.

Even the fact that viewers had to pay $89 for some material would not necessarily increase the chances of detection. While the major credit card carriers have programs to verify the validity of merchants in their networks, dozens of Internet payment processors use other methods to discreetly ferry money around, said Mike Petitti, senior vice president of marketing at AmbironTrustWave Inc., a data-security company. One way involves automated check-clearing services that route money from checking accounts and avoid the credit card networks, he said. “There are a number of payment processors out there that have a `Don’t look and don’t ask’ policy,” Petitti said.

Because cases like this are not uncommon – in 2003, German investigators said they broke up child-porn rings that involved 26,500 suspect Internet users around the world – industry and governments have proposed prevention methods.

In fact, on Wednesday, a bipartisan group of senators and congressmen introduced revised legislation that would require Internet companies to do more to report child pornography discovered on their networks. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has chided the industry for not being more aggressive on the subject, and last year called on Internet companies to lengthen the time they hold onto logs of their customers’ Internet use.

Those comments churned up civil liberties concerns. But five top Internet companies did announce last June that they would be compiling a database of child-porn images and developing other tools making it easier for network managers and law enforcement to detect such material.

What sort of person do you have to be to believe that protecting “free speech” or personal privacy is a higher priority than protecting children from child rape?

Then, on the heels of that news item, I also found this one, from the political leader of Ontario, Canada:

Ontario Premier calls banning smoking in cars with kids a slippery slope
Wed Feb 7, 3:23 PM
By Chinta Puxley TORONTO (CP) – Making it illegal for parents to smoke in a vehicle in which their children are passengers is a slippery slope that could infringe on people’s rights, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said Wednesday.

While doctors and health organizations are urging the province for such a ban, arguing that no one has the right to “poison” their children, McGuinty said he’s not interested.

“I’m just not prepared to go there,” McGuinty said, adding it would start the province down a path that could lead to smoking bans in houses and apartment buildings. “My preference is to provide as much information as we possibly can to people who may have children around them… they have to take responsibility for that.”

Although some argue protecting children from second-hand smoke saves the province money in health-care funding down the road, McGuinty said he doesn’t buy that argument. “We could start saying we shouldn’t be covering people who parachute or people who engage in risky kinds of activities,” he said.

Still, doctors and anti-tobacco activists say the government has to bear some responsibility for the tremendous health risks posed to children by second-hand smoke. “Nobody has a right to poison a child,” said Dr. Ted Boadway, health consultant with the Ontario Medical Association that represents some 25,000 of the province’s doctors. “We decided that as a society a long time ago.”

Smoking in a car is scientifically proven to be worse than sitting in a smoky bar, said Boadway, who added it affects the growth of a child’s lungs among other negative health effects. The province has recognized the danger second-hand smoke poses to employees and banned smoking in public workplaces, so Boadway said it’s just a matter of time until the government recognizes children are also at risk. “We’re patient, although I don’t think the kids have as much time as we do,” he said.

Other jurisdictions – including Bangor, Maine – have banned smoking in cars so Ontario wouldn’t be breaking new ground, said Michael Perley, of the Ontario Coalition for Action on Tobacco. Ontario already regulates seatbelt use in cars and protecting children from second-hand smoke would be no different, he added.

“There is no personal liberty issue here,” he said. “This is a pure matter of negative health effects being imposed on some of our youngest members of society who can’t do anything about it.”

Health advocates like Perley are vowing to continue pressing the government for a ban, but they won’t get much help from opposition parties.

Sometimes I despair… This should not be rocket science. This is about children who look to adults to protect them. And, as a society, we seem to spend more time and effort worrying about protecting those who harm them.

A law you can’t enforce is just political hot air

Another news item from the “Ideas that sounded good to someone who didn’t think it all the way through” file:

Senators propose to track sex offenders online
Thu Dec 7, 3:11 PM ET

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Two U.S. senators said on Thursday they would introduce legislation that would potentially protect users of popular social networking sites like News Corp’s MySpace from registered sex offenders.

New York Democrat Charles E. Schumer and Arizona Republican John McCain, in a press release, said they planned to introduce a bill at the beginning of the 110th Congress in January that would require registered sex offenders to submit their active email addresses to law enforcement.

The legislation would enable social networking sites like MySpace to cross-check new members against a database of registered sex offenders and ensure that predators are unable to sign up for the service.

Under the proposed legislation, any sex offender who submits a fraudulent email could face prison.

Earlier this week, MySpace said it would offer in the next 30 days a technology to identify and block convicted sex offenders from the popular online social network. It struck a deal with Sentinel Tech Holding Corp., an expert in background verification, to build the new feature.

The top online social network, which has a large following of teens attracted to its music and entertainment offerings, has also been used by adults seeking sex with underage users.

“This legislation combined with our announcement earlier this week of plans to build the first real-time searchable national sex offender database will make the Internet a far safer place for all,” MySpace Chief Security Officer Hemanshu Nigan said in a statement.

Under the proposed bill, registered sex offenders would be required to give an email address to their probation or parole officers. Any offender caught using an unregistered email address would be in violation of probation or parole terms and face a return to prison.

According to MySpace, there are 550,000 registered sex offenders in the United States. The company said the new service will be the first national database that brings together about 46 state sex offender registries. 

Now, just what do these Senators think sex offenders intent on finding their next victims are going to do with this law? It makes about as much sense as gun registry legislation: Those who have nothing to hide will comply, and those who do have something to hide will not. Before legislators start to draft laws governing internet behavior, it would be nice if they educated themselves just a little bit on how things work on the ‘net.

Throw-away email accounts are easier to obtain than fake ID’s for high school students. And, as every study ever conducted on deterrence has clearly shown, the threat of harsh penalties has no meaning to individuals who don’t expect to get caught.

Worse, the promise of such legislation may give parents and children alike a false sense of security. It would be far better to spend the money and time in primary and elementary school programs educating our children on the dangers of trusting strangers on the net.

sex offenders, internet behavior, email, MySpace, social networking, predators, internet safety, legislation, lawmakers, laws, children, parental supervision

Microsoft anti-child-porn technology

Italy adopts Microsoft anti-child-porn technology
Mon Oct 16, 2006

ROME (Reuters) – Italy became the first European country to adopt a Microsoft system for combating child pornography on the Internet, something the government and the computer firm believe the whole continent is set to take up.

At a news conference on Monday, the Italian police’s special communications unit said the Child Exploitation Tracking System (CETS), which is already in use in Canada and Indonesia, will speed up its investigations into Web pornography by 80 percent.

“In substance, we want to oppose pedophile rings with an international network of cyber-police,” said the head of the police postal and communications squad, Domenico Vulpiani.

Microsoft developed the system after a Canadian police officer working in the field wrote to the company for help in what investigators say is a constantly increasing field of crime which preys on young users of the Internet.

A spokesman for the software giant said Britain and Spain were likely to adopt the system — a database to help investigators sift through suspect Web site and electronic communications — in the coming months and that five other European countries were not far behind.

Microsoft has spent $7 million developing the system and is giving it free-of-charge to governments.

Bill Gates has always been active in various charities. It’s encouraging to see him throwing some of the power of Microsoft’s considerable financial clout behind something that may help combat the scourge of child victimization.

Microsoft, anti-pornography, pedophilia, children

Growing Up Too Fast: The Rimm Report on the Secret World of America’s Middle Schoolers

[amtap amazon:asin=1579547095]Growing Up Too Fast: The Rimm Report on the Secret World of America’s Middle Schoolers
By Sylvia Rimm, Ph.D.

Sex, drugs, peer pressure, and underachievement: don’t these sound like issues that high schoolers might confront? But according to Dr. Sylvia Rimm’s research findings, your middle schoolers may actually be encountering these problems every single day. And because kids today communicate via instant messaging and their cell phones, you may not know what they’re actually going through.

In an extensive survey of more than 5,400 middle school kids, and through more than 300 focus groups, Dr. Rimm discovered that today’s kids face difficult, grown-up decisions younger than ever. A 5th grade boy explained, “We learn about everything from the movies and try out the sex we see.” A 6th grader told Dr. Rimm, “A girl in our class even got her tongue pierced.”

With straightforward, real-life advice, Growing Up Too Fast offers sensible trategies for raising this new breed of tweens. Sample conversations show the best ways to talk with kids about issues that really matter, like terrorism, drugs, alcohol, and sex and violence in the media. Growing Up Too Fast is an essential guide to parenting middle school kids to a bright and successful future.

Author: Sylvia Rimm, Ph.D., is a noted child psychologist who directs Sylvia Rimm’s Family Achievement Clinic and is a clinical professor at Case School of Medicine, both in Cleveland. Her books include See Jane Win, a New York Times bestseller, and Rescuing the Emotional Lives of Overweight Children, which was a finalist for the Books for Better Life Award. A syndicated newspaper columnist and a favorite personality on public radio, Dr. Rimm has also appeared on NBC’s 20/20 and The Today Show and MSNBC’s Weekend Today. She and her husband reside in Cleveland, Ohio.

For more information, please visit