The Official Net Nanny Blog

6 Ways to Find Balance in a World of Tech Addiction

Music by Rihanna blares as your daughter hops out of bed for the day, turning off her phone alarm and checking her social media before she hops into the shower.

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“My story is different than most women’s. Yes, my life has been affected by pornography. However it isn’t a boyfriend or spouse that has an addiction. I am the addict.” (Source: Good Women Project)
The typical pornography addict surfs the web for the latest images on their favorite site. They feed their unquenchable addiction and spend countless hours viewing sexually graphic images. 
According to United Families International blog, out of any given three pornography web sites visitors, one is a woman. So pornography is not just a man’s problem--17% of women would describe themselves as “addicted” to pornography. Women face the same challenges of addiction as  men.  
One brave woman wrote about her addiction to pornography while on the road to recovery. Like other addicts, she was ashamed and disgusted and wrote about her challenge anonymously on goodwomenproject.com. Her addiction began with romance novels.
She began reading love stories, which seemed innocent. But after the short-lived story was over, she was left intrigued and unsatisfied. She dabbled in erotic literature but it didn’t satisfy her appetite either. It was then that she began viewing hard-core pornography.
After years of viewing, she realized she had an addiction. She said, “An addiction is a bad habit that you can’t stop on your own and your personal willpower isn’t enough to help you overcome.”
She commented that addiction took the joy out of life. She worked less and less; as a result she didn’t have enough money to pay bills or buy food. She stayed up all night and slept during the day. She viewed pornography constantly. Her family noticed the change. She was “living in a world of darkness.”
This woman watched a friend get arrested in a prostitution sting induced by pornography. She decided to change. She cut herself off from pornography. At 12-step meetings, and while working with a therapist and her ecclesiastical leader, she started to build a new life, free of pornography.
She notes, “I quit cold-turkey. And I suffered withdrawals. I didn’t sleep for about 3 weeks. I couldn’t think. I didn’t want to eat. All I did for those three weeks was pray, educate myself on addiction and recovery, and do the bare minimum to survive physically. There were moments of despair and hope, pain and joy, fear and love, and darkness and light. In the end I was stronger, more knowledgeable, lighter and above-all else: clean.”
Any sort of addiction stems from character weaknesses. We use things, such as pornography, as a coping mechanism to these problems. We want to lessen the pain and disappointment we feel in ourselves by numbing it with an addiction. This woman’s first-hand account is devastating but hopeful. And she is one of millions suffering from pornography addiction. She is recovering and has been clean for 10 months. There is hope for the addict.

How Can Net Nanny Help?
ContentWatch, makers of Net Nanny, will give a copy of its leading Internet Filter to any addict or addict’s family. Free.
Here’s how it works:
The addict should identify a sponsor (e.g. Ecclesiastical leader or spouse). Just like Alcoholics Anonymous, an addict needs a sponsor to go to for help.
The sponsor contacts ContentWatch to ask for a Sponsor Copy of Net Nanny. (email: dlyon@contentwatch.com) ContentWatch will donate a Sponsor Copy with a free twelve-month license.
The sponsor installs Net Nanny on the addict’s computer, and keeps the passwords and login credentials. If the addict needs access to Web sites that are being blocked, he or she needs to ask the sponsor for permission. The sponsor can administer requests remotely and no local access required.

Women and Pornography, Silent and Widespread

“My story is different than most women’s. Yes, my life has been affected by pornography. However it isn’t a boyfriend or spouse that has an addiction.

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No, it's not a pretty headline, but it seems to be reality.  According to a Journal of Urban Health study, one in 13 teen girls said they engaged in "multi-person sex" (MPS).  Researchers at Boston University's School of Public Health believe imitation of pornography is a leading cause.

Pornography Makes Teen Girls More Likely to have Group Sex

No, it's not a pretty headline, but it seems to be reality. According to a Journal of Urban Health study, one in 13 teen girls said they engaged in "multi-person...

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After years of rejecting its applications, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) decided to give the adult entertainment industry the .xxx top-level domain, a move that results in the establishment of a virtual red-light district on the Web.  This week, the sale began.

Today, most web site names end in .com, .net, .org, .gov, or .edu.  The implication of this proposed change is that an adult content / pornographic web site will have the option of using the .xxx domain name.  At first glance, this would seem to make it easier for parents or parental controls software vendors to monitor and protect children and teens from objectionable sites. 

In reality, this change would potentially make it very easy for a curious child to quickly get into trouble.  I envision children getting immediate access to X-rated materials by innocently typing in almost any word with a .xxx name.  Exposure to such images is not quickly forgotten or erased from a young memory.

Knowing how well-funded corrupt businesses operate, I expect pornographers to co-locate their content on existing .comdomains and also on the new .xxx domain, thus increasing the prevalence of pornography sites.  Pornographers won’t likely voluntary give up their successful .com addresses to locate solely on the .xxx domain.  As a result, pornography content will be more pervasive. 

As the owner of a few reputable web sites, I have considered what will happen when .xxx domains go on sale and reputablecompanies are a bit slow to purchase their .xxx domain name to simply protect them.  Our company will jump to buy www.netnanny.xxx to avoid the trouble a pornographer can wreak if they do any URL spoofing based on our brand name.

The other overriding challenge is that there is no real legal regulation, in practice.  Indeed, Internet pornography is hardcore obscenity and it is illegal.  But it is so ubiquitous, it is not usually prosecuted.

It’s not likely that Congress would be able to pass a law requiring pornographers to conform to the .xxx domain.  And even if passed, such as law would be relatively unenforced in federal court, if the past is an indicator of the future. Historically, efforts by Congress to regulate smut on the Internet have not been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In short, as .xxx domains go on sale, we will see an increase in the pervasiveness of pornography and its accessibility.  Ironically, the Internet is used for so many good things too.

.XXX Domain Names Go on Sale!

After years of rejecting its applications, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) decided to give the adult entertainment industry the .xxx top-level domain, a move that results...

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This week, Grant Smith, a professor from the University of Utah was arrested for viewing child pornography while on a flight from Salt Lake to Boston.  A courageous passenger seated behind Mr. Smith took a photo of him allegedly watching child pornography on his laptop. The flight crew was notified and Boston police officers were waiting for Mr. Smith as he deplaned.  He was detained, his computer and phone searched, and then arrested. It's important to note that possession of even one image of child pornography is a felony.  

This brazen display of the professor's need to view pornography shows the power of the addiction.

Child pornography involves a very disturbing and dark subculture of Internet pornography. Child pornography is a fast-growing business and the content is becoming much more graphic and violent.  Because of the severity of the penalty for possession, child pornographers typically swap and share images on peer-to-peer networks to avoid publicizing their addiction by paying on commercial pornography sites.

The most disturbing issue is that of those arrested for possession of child pornography, 40 percent had both sexually victimized children and were in possession of child pornography.

Of those arrested between 2000 and 2001, 83 percent had images involving children between the ages of 6 and 12, while 39 percent had images of children between the ages of 3 and 5, and quite sadly,  19% had images of infants and toddlers under the age of 3 yrs old.  I can only imagine that the statistics are worse after ten years of continued devolution.

According to Mark Shurtleff, attorney general of Utah, of those arrested for possession of child pornography, most started out viewing adult pornography but gradually progressed to more hard core images as the addiction advanced. (Source: KPCW radio interview on 30 Nov. 2011 at 9 a.m.)

As parents, we need to be alert to the fact that sexual predators are online in search of prey.  Children are the target and must be protected.  Parental controls software is the best method a parent has in the fight against this sickening trend.  Net Nanny Mobile will launch in January to help protect kids and teens using smartphones and iPods.

(Source: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Child Pornography Possessors Arrested in Internet-Related Crimes: Findings from the National Juvenile Online Victimization Study, 2005).

I work for ContentWatch and all opinions expressed here are my own.

Child Pornography - Serious and Disturbing

This week, Grant Smith, a professor from the University of Utah was arrested for viewing child pornography while on a flight from Salt Lake to Boston.

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Bullies have been around as long as schools. The Internet has created a whole new playground where bullies roam. Cyberbullying—bullying through online means—is now increasing at an alarming rate.

Parents should take precautions to protect children from cyberbullies. But, if cyberbullying does occur, it is imperative you act quickly and decisively to deal with and to overcome the negative impact it can have on your child.  Email, chat and social media are the usual places where cyberbullying occurs.

For example, if your online Internet safety tool, such as Net Nanny, sends an alert of a potential cyberbullying incident, you should act quickly. Remember, the Internet is "on" continually. Things can happen fast. You should act as quickly as the Internet.

Here are five suggestions if you are alerted to a cyberbullying incident:

  1. Address it immediately. Speak frankly and openly about the incident with your child to get all the details. Don’t hesitate to ask direct and detailed questions.
  2. Ask about history. Determine if this is the first time for the incident or if it has been an on-going problem.
  3. Get a clear understanding of your child’s feelings. Is your child annoyed or scared? Does your child feel threatened? Is your child contemplating extreme or dangerous actions such as retaliation or even suicide? Understanding their feelings will help you determine the urgency of the problem.
  4. Create a plan with your child. Your plan will help resolve the problem with your child and literally with the bully. Your plan might include speaking with school officials in dealing with the issue, or changing user names and passwords for your child’s online profile, or even speaking with the parents of the bully.
  5. If the incident warrants, seek professional medical help or counseling for your child. If you suspect any kind of criminal activity, contact local law enforcement.
You can have a great relationship with your child, put in place many safety measures and do everything you can to protect your child, but the bottom line is this: When an incident occurs you need to act very quickly to protect your child.

Our company supports parents, school officials, government agencies and corporations in doing everything possible to protect the rights of school children. For more information go to www.NetNanny.com.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etcLACqSt9w

Cyberbullying - What to do? Act.

Bullies have been around as long as schools. The Internet has created a whole new playground where bullies roam.

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The graphic sexual and violent spam that filled 800 million Facebook users’ pages recently has people on edge. Some users even threaten to delete their account for good. And who could blame them?

My aunt recounted a similar story of distress last week that involved my 15-year old cousin. She said that one evening she received a phone call from one of her neighbors. The mother of four told her to rush to the computer because pornographic videos were displayed on my 15-year-old cousin’s Facebook page. My aunt became alarmed.

She logged on to Facebook to find a pornographic video on her daughter’s Facebook page. It even had thumbs up saying that she liked it. Distraught and confused, my aunt turned to her 15-year-old daughter and asked “Did you post this?

My cousin, with tears in her eyes, said “No, Mom. I would never! Her Facebook page had been hacked.

Millions of others can tell their tragic story of pornographic hacking. The worst part is that innocent teenagers, like my cousin, who don’t want to view pornography, aren’t always protected by being on “safe sites. Web surfers stumble upon questionable material and the statistic is that just after 20 minutes of exposure to pornography, a person can become addicted.

How can you protect your family?

Circumstances arise that are beyond your control, such as the Facebook spamming, leave you no choice but to have a good defense. If my cousin’s computer had had an internet filter on it, her mother wouldn’t have had to see the pornography on her Facebook page. 

I just recently downloaded Net Nanny on my laptop.  I’m a college student, but after hearing all of the horrible stories of Facebook hacking and seeing the effect on those around me, I’m thrilled that I can protect myself from any unwanted websites. Net Nanny blocks pornographic images, “hate sites, questionable chat rooms and other dangers of the Internet. www.netnanny.com

Here are some tips on how to stay safe on Facebook.

Facebook Spamming

The graphic sexual and violent spam that filled 800 million Facebook users’ pages recently has people on edge. Some users even threaten to delete their account for good.

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Friends and family gathered around your house to celebrate your 10th wedding anniversary last week. You have three children who are growing up fast, two already in grade school. Life is crazy, but very fulfilling. You decide to go out with some girl friends for the evening, leaving your husband to put the kids to bed.

Does Your Spouse Have a Pornography Addiction?

Friends and family gathered around your house to celebrate your 10th wedding anniversary last week. You have three children who are growing up fast, two already in grade school.

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Based on the information Nina Laltrello shared with us last night in our webinar, sex addiction can be one of the most difficult addictions to overcome. Elevated dopamine levels actually rewire the brain, breaking down the decision making processes in the brain. Seeking the same high becomes more frustrating while people go to greater extremes. Without incorporating new behaviors that rewire the neuron circuitry, recovery is next to impossible.

Recovery from Sex Addiction is Not Easy

Based on the information Nina Laltrello shared with us last night in our webinar, sex addiction can be one of the most difficult addictions to overcome.

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The American Society for Addiction Medicine says addiction is "about brains…it's about underlying neurology, not outward actions."  In simple terms, we all have reward circuitry in our brains that make food and sex rewarding. This is a survival mechanism.

In a healthy brain, the food and sex rewards have feedback mechanisms for knowing you'd had enough. For an addict, dysfunction causes the message to become ‘I want more.' This leads to the pursuit of rewards and/or relief through abuse. Internet pornography, unlike the girly magazines from the past, has the power to override natural satiety mechanisms in many brains. This increases the risk of addiction-related brain changes.

With respect to pornography, it's not about the time spent viewing or what you're looking at that determines whether your brain has changed. Instead, watch for these signs:

  • Inability to refrain from viewing
  • Impaired impulse control
  • Craving
  • Diminished grasp of one's problems
  • Problematic emotional responses
The American Society for Addiction Medicine publishes a very detailed list of questions to ask yourself at http://www.reuniting.info/download/pdf/ASAM.exp.pdf.  This list of questions (and beware, some are quite graphic) will help identify signs of addiction.

Some of the questions are not those you might normally associate with pornography addiction and relate to an addicts social interaction, loneliness, feelings of self worth, procrastination, self-motivation, anxiety, and more. Pornography has far-reaching effects.

Pornography Addiction Self-Test

The American Society for Addiction Medicine says addiction is "about brains…it's about underlying neurology, not outward actions." In simple terms, we all have reward circuitry in our brains that make...

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You know what I'm talking about, the inexplicable feeling of being locked behind mounds of tasks piling over you. The outdoors is that thing beyond the pane of glass, moving like a magic picture—constantly reminding you where you are not. Friends and family are those things that distract you from your ever mounting task list, and the phone is that demon which can take seconds from your day.
When this thought process happens, it's time for a break, especially from technology. The LCD lights behind our monitors, tablets, and phones can hypnotize us into believing that all which matters in the world is what crosses that very screen when, actually, what matters more is what crosses your path in the family room.
You don't need me to tell you this. Work/life balance has been the subject of watery-eye dramas and after-school specials for decades. What our kids might not realize, however, is that this very lesson applies to their own tech-savvy lives.
The danger of kids spending too much time in front of a screen include, but is not limited to, believing in a world that only exists in a 22 screen. When Facebook posts seem larger than life, could it be because this is what life looks like to our youth?
If balancing work and life is difficult for adults, it only stands to reason that balancing technology and life is near impossible for youth. Hence the reason to help kids experience more than just the keyboard in the den.  Here are some tips to help your kids get off the computer.

  • Implement time controls: This may seem a little Machiavellian, but if a child knows they are limited, they are more likely to use the computer as a tool and not a pastime.
  • Recognize and encourage developing talents: An idle mind is the devil's playground, but giving kids something they love to do (other than the latest Facebook game), will make it easier for you to get them off the computer.
  • Watch yourself: Could your kids be following your example? Or could you make an effort to spend more time with your kids? Monkey see, monkey do.


Kids Need Focus Too

You know what I'm talking about, the inexplicable feeling of being locked behind mounds of tasks piling over you.

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