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Play with Chats - What's Your Status?

 

Change your status message to something thought-provoking in your network of contacts.

In 1999, a 50 year-old former security guard pleaded guilty to cyberstalking in Los Angeles. He used the internet to terrorise a 28 year-old woman who rejected his advances. Some of the stuff he did included posing as the woman in several internet chat rooms and online bulletin boards. There, he posted her actual contact details like telephone number and home address, and pretended that she fantasized about being raped. The online harassment spilled over to her physical safety when at least six men knocked on her door, sometimes in the middle of the night, saying that they wanted to rape her. This is the first successful prosecution under California's new cyberstalking law, and the former security guard faces upto six years in prison.

In many other parts of the world, legislation is slower to respond to such emerging threats. There are many issues at stake that are still not debated at length.

For example, the internet and digital communications technology have been used by governments extensively as a tool of surveillance, to monitor and control the public's activity. As a result, tools like anonymous remailers have been developed to make it harder to trace the identity of the person who is sending information over the internet. At the same time, this has been abused by cyberstalkers to hide their identity when they post harassing content in their stalking activity.

One significant problem is the gender disparity that exists in information and communications technology. The majority of technology developers and those in decision-making positions are men, who in turn, are able to shape and define this field according to their dominant perspectives. Issues like the right to privacy are constructed in a gender-blind manner, without much consideration of how this will affects women in particular. Video games, which is significant platform to get young people used to digital technology, are often targeted for boys.

In short, the digital world of information and communications technology is one that grrls and women have to work pretty hard at to become comfortable and empowered subjects.

It's time to take back the tech! :)

Be smart on how you use things like IM (internet messenger) and chats. Don't give out personal information that is not compulsory for people to know. Never sign in using one of these platforms because phishing happens here.

Status messages are all cool and funky, but 'truth' might not be totally necessary. You don't have to announce to everyone in your contact list that you're on a toilet break, preoccupied with life, on the verge of a nervous breakdown or hanging out with some friends at this and that address. Play with it instead.

Change your status message today into something that provokes thought in your network of friends and acquaintances.

Invite them to this site - www.takebackthetech.net; grrl gamer - www.grrlgamer.com; stop VAW - www.stopvaw.org; WHO@ - www.haltabuse.org; or any of those del.icio.us sites that your tagged on day 7.

Happy playing!

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