Tag Archives: Says

Divorce Lawyer Says Families Do Not Belong In The Court Of Law

Fresno, California (PRWEB) December 5, 2007

Fresno divorce lawyer, Erin Rhames-Childs says that the court of law is no place for families. The cold courtroom hallways are best for those with contract disputes and criminal charges. Divorce courts are overworked and understaffed forcing judges into making quick decisions that are not always right. Collaborative divorce is a cheaper, quicker option for couples to maintain control over their destiny and protect their families from hasty decisions.

“Families don’t belong in the court of law,” says Erin Rhames-Childs, a Fresno County Collaborative Lawyer. With divorce at the highest rates in years, local divorce courts are inundated with too many litigants, and too little time to handle them.

For many, the cold hallways of a courthouse are traumatizing and some court orders for custody, visitation or property division are devastating for years after.

Through traditional divorce litigation, disputes over child custody and child visitation, parties are forced to hand over their most precious possessions – their children – to a stranger in a black robe will order when and how they will be raised, when and how each party will see them and how much money they will have to do all of this. “I would never want that for myself and I don’t want it for my clients,” says Erin Rhames-Childs, a family law attorney who practices Collaborative Law in the Central Valley.

“Court is no place for families – it’s a place for contract disputes and criminal proceedings.”

The average divorce costs anywhere from five to tens of thousand of dollars and can take anywhere from six months to years to end. All the while, your family and financial security is in limbo. The California Community Property Laws are good at making division of assets “easy” but don’t necessary give people what the need.

“The judges are hard-working, well-intentioned public servants, but are very limited with what they can do. They have very little time to really listen to your needs and make the best decision that is in the best interests of your children or your finances.”

Attorney Childs practices Collaborative Divorce which is a rapidly growing alternative to the traditional divorce litigation. “Collaborative Law is an innovative approach to restructuring your family during divorce which focuses on the needs of your family and allows you both to be in charge of the decisions affecting the rest of your lives. All of this is done while keeping your personal and financial dignity intact.”

One of the primary goals of Collaborative Law is to preserve couples’ dignity, and respect. Honesty and the free sharing of information are expected and repeatedly encouraged. The idea is to preserve relationships for after the divorce when everything is said and done. In traditional divorce, the attorneys are paid gladiators – there to win at all costs, which usually ends with serious financial and emotional massacre.

The most salient feature of Collaborative Divorce is that both parties must commit in writing to not take their case to court and committing to finding resolutions that best serve their needs through a series of four-way meetings with their collaboratively trained attorneys.

Collaborative practice is often cheaper, faster and results in the parties preserving a functional relationship which will allow them to continue raising their children as divorced parents. “There is a lot less blood shed and the children are spared the trauma of the front row seat to it all.”

Erin Rhames-Childs is a Fresno divorce litigation attorney who provides services for divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, adoptions, guardianships, grandparent rights, domestic partnerships, and domestic violence restraining orders. Childs & Childs is proud to work throughout the Central Valley including cities like Fresno, Madera, Clovis, Kingsburg, Reedley, Selma, Tulare, Hanford, Visalia, Merced, Modesto and Coalinga.

Erin Rhames-Childs, Partner

Childs & Childs, PLC

559.225.6769

http://www.childsandchilds.com

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Social Security Disability Insurance Recipients Need Better Understanding of Pros and Cons of New Debit Card, Allsup Says


Belleville, IL (Vocus) March 27, 2008

Starting next month Social Security Disability Insurance recipients in some states will have the option of receiving their benefit payments electronically on a debit card, rather than via a paper check. However, eligible individuals — many of whom are “unbanked” — should have a clear understanding of the pros and cons of opting for the debit card, particularly the financial ramifications, according to Allsup (http://www.allsup.com), which represents tens of thousands of people in the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) process each year. It also offers services that support the financial and health well-being of individuals with disabilities.

“Before signing on to or totally dismissing the idea of the debit card program, potential cardholders should look at how they are likely to use a card,” said Paul Gada, personal financial planning director of the Allsup Disability Life Planning Center. “For some, the card may make sense. For others, they may realize after looking at their spending habits that getting a bank account may really be the best option. And there will be others that will always operate with cash only, regardless of the drawbacks it presents.”

The debit card program, called Direct Express, is run by the U.S. Treasury Department through Comerica Bank with the intent to encourage Social Security recipients who do not have a bank account to elect to have their benefits loaded electronically onto a debit card. The Direct Express program will be introduced this spring in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas before being phased in across the nation during the summer.

The cost savings for the government could be significant, based on estimates from the Treasury’s Financial Management Service. For example, it cost 89 cents for the government to issue a paper check in 2006 compared with 9 cents to process an electronic payment. As a result, if the 4 million recipients of Social Security, SSDI and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) who don’t have bank accounts were to sign up for the debit card, the savings could be $ 44 million annually.

Having monthly benefits electronically deposited onto debit cards also has its advantages for recipients, most notably convenience and security. In the case of individuals with disabilities who may have limited mobility, for example, having the debit card would mean that they would not have to make a special trip to cash their SSDI award or be concerned if they were hospitalized or otherwise unable to retrieve their benefit payment when it was due to arrive. Additionally, funds on the card are FDIC insured, just like money in a bank account, so the money is fully protected if the card is lost or stolen; though a card replacement fee will be assessed the second time a card needs to be replaced in any given year.

Evaluating the Costs

While cost savings for the government — and taxpayers — are obvious, the cost savings may not be as clear-cut for debit-card recipients. They might end up paying even more in transaction fees than the average $ 6 to have a paper check cashed, especially if they don’t pay attention to how they’re using the debit card.

Among the questions Gada recommends potential cardholders consider before signing up for a debit card include:

Social Security Disability Insurance Recipients Need Better Understanding of Pros and Cons of New Debit Card, Allsup Says


Belleville, Ill. (Vocus) June 10, 2008

The nationwide rollout has begun and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients in some states already have the option of receiving their benefit payments electronically on a debit card, rather than via a paper check. However, eligible individuals many of whom are unbanked should have a clear understanding of the pros and cons of opting for the debit card, particularly the financial ramifications, according to Allsup, which represents tens of thousands of people in the SSDI process each year. It also offers services that support the financial and health well-being of individuals with disabilities.

Before signing on to or totally dismissing the idea of the debit card program, potential cardholders should look at how they are likely to use a card, said Paul Gada, personal financial planning director of the Allsup Disability Life Planning Center. ”For some, the card may make sense. For others, they may realize after looking at their spending habits that getting a bank account may really be the best option. And there will be others that will always operate with cash only, regardless of the drawbacks it presents.”

The debit MasterCard program, called Direct Express, is run by the U.S. Treasury Department through Comerica Bank with the intent to encourage Social Security recipients who do not have a bank account to elect to have their benefits loaded electronically onto a debit card. Direct Express has been introduced in 10 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. The rest of the nation will be phased in throughout the summer.

Cost savings for the government could be significant, based on estimates from the Treasurys Financial Management Service. For example, it cost 89 cents to issue a paper check in 2006 compared with 9 cents to process an electronic payment. If the 4 million recipients of Social Security, SSDI and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) who dont have bank accounts signed up for debit cards, the savings could be $ 44 million annually.

Having monthly benefits electronically deposited onto debit cards also has its advantages for recipients, most notably convenience and security. For example, people with limited mobility who have the debit card would not have to make a special trip to cash their SSDI check or be concerned if they were hospitalized or otherwise unable to retrieve their benefit payment. Funds on the card are FDIC insured, just like money in a bank account, so the money is fully protected if the card is lost or stolen, although there will be a fee the second time a card needs to be replaced in any given year.

Evaluating the Costs

While cost savings for the government and taxpayers are obvious, it may not be as clear-cut for debit-card recipients. They may pay even more in transaction fees than the average six dollars to have a paper check cashed, especially if they dont pay attention to how theyre using the debit card.

The following questions are among those that Gada recommends before signing up for a debit card:

How accessible to you is an ATM in the Comerica network?
How often would you make ATM withdrawals and would they be at in- or out-of-network ATMs?
How often would you use the electronic bill payment feature?
Will the companies you are paying electronically charge you a fee for electronic payment?
Is there a bank in your area that could provide you with a more cost-effective solution for the features you want, such as ATM, electronic bill pay or direct debit?
If you are concerned about opening a bank account, have you spoken with a local bank to see if they can help alleviate your concerns?
Social Security recipients participating in the Direct Express program are allowed one free ATM cash withdrawal per month from a designated ATM. They are assessed a 90-cent fee for each additional ATM withdrawal. Cardholders may be charged an additional surcharge fee by ATM owners outside of the Comerica Bank network, which issues the debit cards. Additionally, program participants have access to online bill payment for a fee of 50 cents per online bill payment and can receive a paper statement for a 75-cent monthly fee.

Gada advises potential cardholders to consider how they would use the debit card. For example, rather than having to pay for a cashier check or carry large amounts of cash and pay bills in person, incurring a small transaction fee for electronic bill payment may be worth it, particularly for individuals who have a difficult time getting around. However, Gada noted, individuals should check to see if the organization they are paying will assess an additional charge for accepting electronic bill payment.

On the other hand, people who are going to head for an ATM every time they need cash will find transaction fees quickly adding up to little added value.

”In these cases, its time to seriously consider what is preventing you from getting an account at your local bank, because that probably would be your best option,” said Gada. ”Many banks offer no minimum balance checking accounts where you can have your Social Security benefits direct deposited and electronically pay bills or use their ATMs at no additional charge.”

Overcoming Banking Barriers

One of the reasons that some Social Security recipients continue to insist on paper checks is the fear that their bank accounts could be attached by creditors. However, under federal law, Social Security benefit payments are protected from attachment, meaning creditors do not have the right to take these funds from a recipients bank account. The same rules will apply to funds placed on Direct Express debit cards. There are a few explicit exceptions to the rules guarding against attachment of Social Security benefits. For example, Social Security funds can be taken to pay child support or alimony payments the individual owes.

”At any given time, there are likely millions of dollars in Social Security payments that are at risk because people on fixed incomes got into debt or are having a dispute with a creditor,” said Gada. ”Unfortunately, they are acting on inaccurate information that has them afraid to put their money into bank accounts where it can be protected and they can be afforded other benefits of being banked.”

About Allsup

Allsup, Belleville, Ill., is a leading nationwide provider of financial and healthcare related services to people with disabilities. Founded in 1984, Allsup has helped more than 100,000 people receive their entitled Social Security Disability Insurance and Medicare benefits. Allsup employs more than 500 professionals who deliver services directly to consumers and their families, or through their employers and long-term disability insurance carriers.

For more information, visit http://www.Allsup.com .

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UK Proud to Protect Young Refugees, Says Red Cross Report


London UK (PRWEB) June 15, 2008

New research published today shows two thirds of people living in Britain are proud the UK provides a safe haven for refugee children fleeing persecution, but there remains widespread confusion about the issue of asylum, with many people grossly exaggerating the numbers of asylum seekers residing in the UK.

The research revealed 18 per cent of respondents believed the UK hosts more than half of the world’s asylum seekers – in fact the figure is less than 3 per cent of the 9.9 million refugees in the world (about 302,000 people), according to UNHCR statistics.

The ICM poll was commissioned by the British Red Cross to explore people’s perceptions of refugees and asylum seekers in the run-up to Refugee Week 2008, which this year takes places from the 16-22 June.

In 2006, 3,245 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children aged 17 or under claimed asylum in the UK, with the majority of them coming from Afghanistan (30%), Iran (10%), Eritrea (10%) and Somalia (8%). Reasons included the death of their parents, detention and torture, forced recruitment as child soldiers, persecution due to ethnic group, or the political activities of their family.

The Red Cross supports refugees and unaccompanied asylum seeking children to adjust to life in this country, make friends and access essential services such as health care and education. The Red Cross can even put young people back in touch with lost family members through its international tracing and message service.

Charles (17), originally from Cameroon, sought refuge in the UK just over a year ago. He said: “My mum and dad were both killed because of their involvement in politics. I went to live with my uncle, but our lawyer told me it was no longer safe to stay”. Alone in Manchester, he found out about a Red Cross peer education project, which helped him make friends and provided training in peer befriending and first aid. Charles now teaches first aid to other young people and is studying law at City College Manchester.

To mark Refugee Week 2008, the British Red Cross is launching a UK-wide social networking campaign supported by actor Dougray Scott. The campaign will give young refugees and asylum seekers like Charles a platform to tell their story through video diaries, which will be showcased through sites such as Facebook, Bebo and YouTube, as well as the British Red Cross Refugee Week website.

Dougray explains: “Young people – including children who may have arrived in Britain alone and without their family – can be particularly vulnerable. Some have experienced violence and trauma and need extra support. The Red Cross helps them access essential services and find their way around.”

British Red Cross staff and volunteers throughout the UK will be taking part in Refugee Week by holding events and activities, from comedy nights to workshops in schools.

Nick-Scott Flynn, head of British Red Cross refugee services, said: “The Red Cross Movement protects people fleeing conflict throughout the world and that includes those who arrive in the UK. Refugees make an enormous contribution to the UK, socially, culturally and economically, and Refugee Week is a chance to celebrate that fact.”

Notes to editors

The research results show many people significantly overestimate the number of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. Only 11% of those surveyed got the correct figure of 3%, whilst 18% of people asked thought the UK was home to over 50% of the world’s population of asylum seekers. Despite this, two thirds of people in the UK (66%) say they are proud that the UK provides a safe haven for young refugees fleeing persecution.

ICM interviewed a random sample of 2,068 adults aged 18+ by telephone between 21st -25th May 2008. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at the ICM website.

Refugee Week is a UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events to celebrate the positive contribution refugees make to the UK and encourage a better understanding between communities. This year, it takes place between 16 – 22 June.

The Red Cross believes that young refugees and unaccompanied asylum seeking children should be treated as children first and migrants second, and therefore deserve the same respect, consideration and rights as all other young people.

The video diaries are by young refugees and unaccompanied asylum seeking children aged 16-24 from Somalia, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Ivory Coast and Cameroon and can be viewed at the British Red Cross Refugee Week website

The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies. We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.

Case studies and photos are available, and interviews can be arranged on request.

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Teachers Driving Web 2.0 Use in Schools Says National Research Survey

Bakersfield, Calif. and Cincinnati, OH (PRWEB) April 6, 2009

While many stakeholders are involved in developing policies on the use of Web 2.0 technologies in K-12 education, new research suggests that teachers are the most important group driving adoption. This is a major finding from a national research survey of more than 500 district technology directors. The survey was commissioned by Lightspeed Systems Inc., a leader in network security and management software for schools, and Thinkronize Inc., creator of netTrekker, America’s number one educational search tool, with support from Atomic Learning.

There is a persistent gap between how today’s “digital” kids learn in school and how they work and interact outside of school, a trend that underscores the critical need for districts to keep pace with technological advances and adapt to students’ learning needs. Education leaders are challenged with maintaining a high level of security and safety while allowing for creative and collaborative work in a 21st century classroom. To meet this challenge, Lightspeed Systems and netTrekker developed Safe Schools in a Web 2.0 World, an ongoing initiative to help schools implement Web 2.0 technologies safely and effectively to improve teaching and learning.

In the first part of the initiative, Interactive Educational Systems Design Inc. (IESD), an independent educational research firm, conducted the “National Online Survey of District Technology Directors Exploring District Use of Web 2.0 Technologies” in February and March 2009 to examine the current status, future plans, and ongoing challenges of Web 2.0 in K-12 education. The research survey broke down Web 2.0 into seven categories related to student instruction and learning environments, rather than treating it with a broad brush.

Teachers were most often identified as a key group leading the adoption of a wide variety of Web 2.0 technologies. Specifically, teachers were most frequently cited for driving the adoption of digital multimedia resources (78 percent), online learning games and simulations (65 percent) and teacher-generated online content (60 percent). They were also among the top three groups for student-generated online content (45 percent) and student use of virtual learning environments (42 percent). Another key group identified was students, who were most frequently cited as driving the adoption of social networking and student-generated online content.

“The research indicates that the movement toward Web 2.0 use to engage students and address individual learning needs is largely being driven in districts from the bottom up – starting with teachers and students,” said Dr. Jay Sivin-Kachala, vice president and lead researcher for IESD. “Furthermore, the results show that many districts are using or planning to use Web 2.0 tools in teacher professional development, which suggests that teachers will become increasingly comfortable with these technologies and better able to teach students how to use them safely and productively.”

Overall, the research confirms school districts are using or planning to use several types of Web 2.0 technologies, but reveals there is still resistance to using online social networking for instructional purposes. In 83 percent of districts, very few or no teachers use online social networking for instruction, and 40 percent of districts currently have policies that don’t allow use of this technology. However, some trailblazing districts have plans for adopting or promoting use of this technology.

Other key results of the survey include:

Media Release: …Because Lying in the Family Court is Child Abuse, Says Fathers4Equality

Sydney, NSW (PRWEB) May 8, 2009

A case of poor judgment.

The Chief Justice of the Family Court, Diana Bryant, has recently launched an extraordinary attack on Australia’s internationally regarded 2006 Family Law amendments, by writing to the Attorney-General and asking him to urgently repeal important provisions within the amendments.

According to Ash Patil, President of shared parenting group Fathers4Equality, “These provisions in the family law act were specifically implemented to reduce the epidemic of false allegations and parental alienation that permeate every corridor of the Family Law Courts, to the clear detriment of the innocent children caught in the cross-fire. But Bryant wants them removed, and fails to explain how the innocent victims of maliciously false allegations would be protected without them.”

James Adams adds, “What is more astonishing it seems is that unlike the parliamentary committee that recommended these laws in the first place, the Chief Justice has not consulted widely before making such an extraordinary intervention (in fact she has not consulted with any fathers’ groups at all). Rightly or wrongly, Bryant will now be perceived to have compromised views on this issue, denying her the opportunity to have played a unifying force in the process of family law reform in this country, much like the wasted opportunities of her predecessor.”

The two provisions Bryant wants specifically removed include:

*the order of costs, at the Judge’s discretion, against a parent who has been proven to have “knowingly” made false allegation in Court, and

*unspecified actions, at the Judges’s discretion, against a parent who has purposely alienated or deliberately maligned the children against the other parent

The importance of these provisions

Patil explains that “These provisions have been specifically implemented to reduce the disturbingly common practices by some separated parents in making contrived and sinister allegations in Court against the other parent, and to otherwise engage in concerted efforts to destroy the relationship between the child and the other parent. This is done knowing full well the children will be irrevocably harmed in the process, both psychologically and emotionally. Yet it goes on and will continue to go on given human nature, unless we have laws to help it stop.

“So these are ‘good’, modest provisions designed to stop misguided parents from misusing the system and abusing innocent children.”

Introduced only after extensive community consultation

According to Adams “These provisions were agreed to by a bi-partisan parliamentary committee (both Labor and Libs/Nats) that went around Australia canvassing the views of all Australians for over two years. Finally this committee was so appalled at the extent of institutional abuse in the Family Court that it recommended measures to protect innocent children and parents who were victims of contrived allegations and parental alienation by spiteful ex-partners.”

But Bryant wants to override the will of the Australian people and the will of Parliament, and to completely remove all disincentives against lying in the Family Court.

Really soft penalty for a very serious crime

Patil, who claims that many F4E members are subjected to false allegations, states that “Proving that someone has ‘knowingly’ made false allegations rather than ‘mistakenly’ or ‘recklessly’ is quite a tall order. The standard of proof in these matters is a very tough hurdle to pass, and as a result ‘knowingly false’ allegations have only been proven in a relatively few cases in recent years. If they are proved, they may result in a costs order, although this has been rarely applied in children’s matters by the judiciary.

“Now given that perjury in any other Australian court may result in 10 years or more jail time, one must be mindful of the fact that this is a really soft penalty for a very serious crime. It is a provision however that can work as a disincentive, albeit a modest one, in dissuading many parents from lying in the Family Court in the first place.”

So these are “good”, modest provisions designed as a disincentive to those misguided parents who may in a moment of weakness be tempted to make contrived allegations in Court.

Measured responses to issues of concern

Patil and Adams are frustrated by the logic used by the Chief Justice, and Patil adds that “Bryant justifies the need for these changes by suggesting that some people have misunderstood these provisions. Even if this is true, her suggested fix is a remarkable over-reaction to an issue that could be addressed through a number of simple measures.”

“Given that most parents in family law proceedings are either represented by lawyers, have visited a family relationship centre or have sought government funded legal services, a simple review could identify the cause of this misinformation from within these service providers, and provide an opportunity for corrective measures to be implemented.”

Adams wonders why the Chief Justice needs to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and opines that “a request to the Attorney General to implement an educational campaign to educate parents about these provisions would go a long way in addressing any existing misconceptions, and would be a more measured and effective approach to the issue at hand.”

Adams continues “Given the unprecedented nature of these family law amendments, what is required are sensible, well-measured & ultimately timely approaches to these issues, in order to allow for proper outcomes based research to develop. Anything less than this would put at risk the very wellbeing of those we are trying to protect.”

Broader consultations as a first step

Fathers4Equality would like to encourage the Chief Justice to put some thought into what checks and measures she would alternatively suggest be implemented, if the current provisions are removed, to protect children from the devastating damage resulting from alienation and perjury in Court. Given that lying in the Family Court and parental alienation are forms of child abuse, we stress the importance of carefully considering the implications to the welfare of children if these safeguards are removed.

Secondly and in reference to a recent campaign that has promoted a less than accurate reflection of these new laws, we would ask the Chief Justice to consider making a public statement to the effect, as is the case, that no evidence exists of any escalation of child abuse as a result of the new amendments. This would be an important statement from the Chief Justice in the interests of an informed community discussion on this matter, and would help ensure that the debate is discussed in terms of facts, not innuendo.

Finally, we would like to draw attention to the increasingly under-resourced and overworked child protection authorities in this country, and the fact that too many cases of genuine abuse are not thoroughly investigated, in part because of the level of false allegations emanating from the Family Court. It must be recognised that for every hour that a child protection officer is investigating a false allegation, it is one hour less protection that can be given to a child in genuine need, and this is a cost that the children of Australia simply cannot afford.

Fathers4Equality would be open to discussing these important issues further with the Chief Justice, if she is willing to accept our invitation.

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Alongside CAB, PPI is a Support Mechanism in Recession Says Burgess

Braintree, Essex (PRWEB) June 20, 2009

News that the Citizens Advice Bureau witnessed a 179% rise in inquiries about redundancy in the first three months of the year has prompted Payment Protection Insurance (http://www.burgesses.com) lobbyist Sara-Ann Burgess to review the options available to people who fall into debt because of a lost income.

She comments: “Recent statistics show more and more indebted people are opting for bankruptcy or Individual Voluntary Arrangements. A bankruptcy order may be obtained by a creditor for debts of

Federal Courts Rule Schools May Not Punish Cyberbullies; PC Pandora Says Parents Remain Key to Solving Problem


San Marcos CA (PRWEB) December 16, 2009

According to a recent article in the LA Times, student free speech is an age-old issue for schools. But as teenagers’ lives move more into cyberspace, bullying has a new breeding ground – and insults that may have once been somewhat private can now be disseminated to the masses with the click of a button. This is uncharted territory for school officials, who now find themselves dealing with e-mails, instant messages, profile pages, videos and other tactics that may result in hurt feelings or something more serious.

Last month, a federal judge in Los Angeles made a landmark decision. The court ruled that a Beverly Hills middle school had no grounds to discipline a cyberbully, who posted a four-and-a-half-minute video of herself and friends viciously badmouthing a fellow student, due to the bully’s right to free speech.

“The recent federal ruling gives a clear message to schools,” explains James Leasure, co-founder of Pandora Corp., makers of PC Pandora computer monitoring software. “‘It’s not your place to discipline.’ But the ruling gives an even clearer message to parents: you are the key to the cyberbullying solution.”

Free speech advocates are celebrating the ruling, believing many schools have over-reacted to several high-profile cases of cyberbullying. Legally speaking, it may have been the right decision; but the ethical/moral question now lingers heavily: how do parents to put a stop to this growing epidemic without the help of the schools?

Leasure says the solution is simple: Knowledge.

“In theory,” Leasure explains, “if a parent of a bully sees their child engaging in activity that is hurtful to others, they would stop it. The problem is: parents just don’t know what their kids are doing online. That’s where tools like our PC Pandora monitoring software come into play and it’s why they are essential in stopping the cyberbullying problem.”

There is a noticeable disconnect between how parents raise their kids in real life and online. Too often, parents watch their children closely in real life, but then turn their heads when kids go online. Statistics show that most parents give their kids un-monitored access to global communication and content. Leasure says that way of thinking needs to change.

“If parents implemented tools like PC Pandora to keep an eye on how their children interact in the digital community tonight, bullying could be dealt a huge blow tomorrow.”

AN EFFECTIVE SOLUTION:

PC Pandora is computer monitoring software that acts like a DVR and records all activity on your computer. With sequential snapshots of everything that happens on the screen, parents are able to effectively play back everything and anything their child does both on and offline. Further details of activity are made available in text-based files. Parents can review transcripts of emails sent and received, and instant messenger chats, logs of websites visited, keystrokes, peer-2-peer files shared, and programs accessed, plus Internet search queries, webcam output and more.

If a child is engaging in bully-like behavior online, even if they are just passing it on and enabling a bully to succeed, parents will know. They will also be able to see if their child is a victim, but is too afraid or embarrassed to say anything.

“The bottom line here is that parents are on their own, and we can’t afford to wait for the government to come up with a solution. Parents need the tools to fight this problem without the help of schools or the courts. PC Pandora is that tool,” says Leasure.

HOLIDAY TIMING:

The federal court ruling also has ironic timing. Just as the courts rule cyberbullies are free from the schools’ reach, parents are buying and preparing to give new computers to kids as holiday gifts, thus opening the door to potential instances of cyberbullying.

Leasure says it is imperative that every parent giving their child a new computer this year outfits that system with software to monitor internet activity.

“Parental awareness is truly the key to fixing this problem. If your child is the victim – or worse, the bully – it’s time to step in,” explains Leasure. “It’s not being over-protective or over-reactive; it’s being a 21st century parent. Monitoring software like our PC Pandora plays a vital role by providing information needed to be an effective Net-generation parent. With the insight our software provides into a child’s daily struggles, parents can begin to put a stop to Internet threats like cyberbullying.”

A 2-hour trial of the PC Pandora monitoring software is available at the PC Pandora website.

Cyberbullying Statistics:

A recent survey of 655 US teens, ages 13 to 18, was conducted by Cox Communications in association with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The study found that “cyberbullying is widespread among today’s teens, with over one-third having experienced it, engaged in it, or know of friends who have who have done either.” More specifically:

Approximately 1 in 10 teens have cyberbullied someone online or by text message and 1 in 5 have been cyberbullied by someone else.
Two-thirds of teens (68%) believe cyberbullying is a serious problem
Teens who have been cyberbullied most commonly think it was to be mean or for fun or entertainment. However, cyberbullies are most likely to say they did it to get back at someone or because someone deserved it.
4 in 5 teens believe cyberbullying is easier to get away with (81%) and easier to hide from parents (80%) than bullying in person.
Nearly half of those who have been bullied (46%) say that the bully was caught, but only 1 in 4 of those who say they have been a bully (28%) admit that they themselves have been caught.
Three-quarters of teens (75%) think there should be stricter rules about online bullying.

About PC Pandora: Pandora Corporation was formed with one goal – to help our customers monitor, control and protect their families and themselves online. First released in mid 2005, PC Pandora has been constantly upgraded to industry-leading specifications and has received accolades from users, reviewers and even school districts and law enforcement agencies, who use the program to help in the day-to-day supervision of the children and citizens they are charged with protecting. The company website devotes space to helping parents by providing them with 18 Tips to Safe Surfing and Pandora’s Blog, where current news in the world of online safety is discussed regularly. PC Pandora has vaulted into a leadership position for parental control software by boasting a combination of features that are unparalleled in the monitoring industry. In 2008, Version 5.0 was released, again widening the spectrum of coverage and protection offered by the program. In addition, the company has made the PD Pandora Internet Safety Symposium available to schools and law enforcement as a free resource for spreading internet safety awareness to parents. PC Pandora is also now available through the Pandora Corp. store at Amazon.com. Currently in version 5.3, the next release of PC Pandora will incorporate Pandora LIVE, a web-based service that will allow parents to check content from anywhere through a secure server.

Reporters and Producers: Looking to cover this topic? We are your technology solution component. Software is available to journalists for review and testing. Staff members are available for interviews. Let us help you show your audience how easy it can be to keep their kids safe.

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Sexual Abuse By Clergy Must Be Addressed By U.S. Churches & Religious Organizations, Says Texas Lawyer


Houston, Texas (PRWEB) April 18, 2010

Churches of all denominations must confront the problem of sexual abuse by clergy and other religious leaders and work harder to protect victims of abuse rather than the abusers, Texas attorney Brad T. Wyly says.

Religious leaders occupy positions of substantial power and authority. Children are taught to trust and obey them, said Wyly, founder of the Wyly Law Firm, P.C. which represents victims of personal injury, including clergy abuse. Churches and other religious organizations need to ensure the relationship between clergy and children is not abused. Sexual abuse of a minor is a particularly horrendous crime that can affect youths psychologically and physically for the rest of their lives.

Wyly said documents that show Catholic Church leaders allowed a predatory priest to molest deaf boys for decades despite numerous complaints serves as a glaring reminder of the devastating consequences of a religious organizations failure to address this problem.

According to church records published as part of a March 24, 2010 New York Times article, the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy admitted to a counselor that he had sexually abused dozens of boys perhaps upwards of 200while ministering at a school for the deaf near Milwaukee, Wisconsin from the 1950s to 1970s. Despite numerous complaints about Murphys conduct to three archbishops and law enforcement officials, he was never defrocked and instead quietly transferred to another community where he continued to work in parishes and schools until his death in 1998.

Children who are victims of sexual abuse can experience difficulty in developing positive relationships and often experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder involving terrifying flashbacks and nightmares in which they relive the ordeal. Victims of sexual abuse often experience social withdrawal, have problems sleeping, have trust issues and may develop chemical dependency issues.

Lawsuits against those responsible for clergy abuse can bring about change. They can help ensure that the person responsible for the abuse is removed from his position of power so that he can never hurt another child, Wyly said.

Victims of clergy abuse may also be able to pursue compensation from those responsible while preserving their privacy. This can be done either through pursuing settlement negotiations with the church or religious organization responsible for the abuse out-of-court or by guarding the privacy of the victim through a motion to seal court records from the general public. Privacy concerns should not prevent someone from holding those responsible for sexual abuse accountable, Wyly said.

About the Wyly Law Firm, P.C.:

The Wyly Law Firm, P.C., is dedicated to helping people who have suffered a personal injury including sexual abuse. The firm investigates allegations of sexual abuse and pursues civil actions against abusers and any third party that failed to protect innocent victims. The service we provide is confidential and focuses on doing what is best for you the client. The firm, based in Houston, represents clients throughout Texas.

Brad T. Wyly, the founder of the law firm, is a skilled negotiator and lawyer. He was named as a Rising Star in Law & Politics magazine in 2005 and 2006. Mr. Wyly may be contacted at 713.574.7034 for a private and confidential consultation.

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Top Security Expert Says U.S. Security Measures Might Not Be Enough


Ft. Lauderdale FL (PRWEB) May 3, 2010

Security Expert Kevin Dougherty of Pro-24 Security commented today on the latest failed attack in Times Square. We are fortunate that the device did not detonate, had it done so, we would be talking about a whole different scenario today. The failed car bomb attack in Times Square has caused new security concerns for the United States. It has also caused Governmental officials in New York City to demand that the Department of Homeland Security beef up both its funding and security measures.

But Dougherty thinks that isnt enough. Its imperative that we respond to potential threats before they occur and not react after the fact. I believe this is best achieved through the use of behavior detection methodology, said Dougherty.

The behavior detection methodology of which he speaks is based on the Israeli model for National Security. Israeli military and law enforcement are considered to be the most well prepared and highly trained specialists in the world. Dougherty who is Operations Director for Pro-24 and spent some time touring the U.S. teaching the Israeli strategies says the model is based on a three tiered approach that law enforcement and citizens alike can utilize and apply.

The first step is Familiarization, Dougherty says. People have to become more aware of their environments and what may be out of place. Its about the usual verses the unusual. In the Times Square incident, reports indicated that there were cylinders connected to wiring, timers and additional gasoline in the back of the Nissan Pathfinder. Items like these should raise a red flag, Dougherty added.

The second step is Evaluation, said Dougherty. Its imperative that people assume the role of participant and not bystander. Its important that you trust your instincts enough to take the next step and notify law enforcement, Dougherty said.

The final step is Communication. Once a potential problem is identified, its critical that the necessary authorities are notified immediately, said Dougherty. In the Times Square incident, a Tee Shirt Salesmans suspicions were triggered by several items. He subsequently noticed smoke and contacted the police. According to Dougherty, that was the right move, but it would have been too late had the device detonated. Likely, there were other witnesses who saw something suspect but didnt want to get involved. Thats the wrong mindset, Dougherty said.

Kevin Dougherty isnt new to crisis situations such as the Times Square incident. He is a former Sergeant with Miami Dade SWAT and spent over thirty-two years on the Miami Dade Police Department. Pro 24 Security, the company for which he is Operations Director, provides specialized training in Israeli based behavior detection strategies, dignitary protection and event security.

About Pro 24 Security and Investigative Services:

Pro 24 Security and Investigative Services is the brain child of Rudi Yzer and Rick Mundy, security veterans with over sixty years experience within the industry. Pro 24 Security and its sister company Pro Tech International Security Systems are the Total Security Solution Specialists. Together they provide a wide range of security services including: Alarm Systems, CCTV, Access Control and Human Assets. For more information call (954) 874-1064 or visit the website at http://www.pro24security.com.

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