Category Archives: technology

More Organizations Launch Anti-Bullying Campaigns

AscentiveCyber Safety news from the Ascentive team

More and more organizations are launching their own campaigns to stop bullying and cyber-bullying. Tanda, a pioneer in energy-based at-home beauty devices, announces its Zap Bullying campaign to raise awareness among parents and teens about this epidemic and to empower teens to feel confident and secure in their own skin.  The multifaceted campaign from Tanda Zap, the powerful acne clearing technology endorsed by leading dermatologists and successfully used by thousands of users across the country, will include a partnership with the national leading anti-bullying organization STOMP Out Bullying™, a social media awareness campaign and a limited edition blue Zap device to support the cause.

“We envision a world in which young people feel safe from bullying and we’re thrilled to partner with the STOMP Out Bullying™ organization. We share their commitment to help people take a stand against bullying in schools and communities,” says Fabian Tenenbaum, CEO of Syneron Beauty, the maker of Tanda branded products.  “Tanda Zap offers ground-breaking acne clearing technology to help teens feel comfortable and secure in their own skin and we hope that this initiative will raise awareness and dialogue around this issue and that ultimately it will serve to help foster greater understanding and mutual respect among teens.”

Tanda Zap invites consumers to “Zap Bullying” and pledge support to this social campaign by visiting its Facebook page, http://www.Facebook.com/Tanda.  “Like” Tanda and then “Vote” to Zap Bullying.  Tanda will donate $1 for each Vote to the STOMP Out Bullying™ organization.

“We are so grateful to have Tanda Zap as a philanthropic partner,” says Ross Ellis, Founder and CEO of STOMP Out Bullying™. “Together we can reach more schools, kids, teens and families affected by bullying with the critical educational resources and support services they need.”

As part of the campaign, the brand will introduce a limited edition blue Tanda Zap acne spot treatment device, from which a portion of proceeds will be donated to STOMP Out Bullying™. The limited edition blue Tanda Zap device will be available for $49 for Back to School 2012.

PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, a partner in The Bully Project and a supporter of Lee Hirsch’s new documentary “Bully,” offers educators, students, families and individuals the tools they need to address bullying in schools. By downloading free resources at PACER.org/bullying, communities can find ways to help change the culture of bullying.

“The Bully movie gives everyone a heartbreaking look at the reality of bullying,” says Julie Hertzog, director of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. “Our hope is that the movie will be a call to action, and that more people will work together to create a climate that doesn’t accept this behavior.”

Resources available at PACER.org/bullying include bullying prevention classroom toolkits, activities and videos for K-12 students; toolkits for organizing community events around bullying prevention; tips for how parents can talk with their children about the subject and work with schools and more.

PACER’s TeensAgainstBullying.org website offers relevant and interactive information in a teen-friendly way. Teens can find strategies to deal with bullying, ways they can stand up for other kids, and ideas for how they can bring the bullying prevention message to their school. PACER’s KidsAgainstBullying.org website is also specifically designed for elementary-aged children and uses a cast of animated characters to share bullying prevention strategies.

In addition, PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLB), AbilityPath and Autism Speaks are partnering with The Bully Project to raise awareness about how bullying affects children with disabilities. Resources and a toolkit will be available soon at specialneeds.bullyingproject.com.

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Fusion Project Unlocks Predictive Power of Public Data

AscentiveHave you ever wondered why Montana is the happiest state? Or why Mitt Romney is the front runner? These questions and others like them heavily influence our economy, our politics, and even everyday life, but the data that holds the answers is scattered far and wide. This is now changing thanks to the Fusion Project which is combing the vast data stores of government and research institutions alike to create one massively powerful data set.

The Fusion Project is making the promises of big data a reality and is possible only because of the explosion of available data. Back in 2010 Eric Schmidt, then CEO of Google, said that “every two days we now create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003”. Data has even skyrocketed since then with the proliferation of smart phones, tablet computers, and other products producing new forms of data, but no one has yet taken full advantage of this overwhelming data source.

“I was surprised by the sheer volume of data available from governments and public institutions,” said Jason Kolb, a senior data scientist at Applied Data Labs. “But there is very little value being extracted from it due to its fragmented nature and our inability to analyze it all as a whole.” When the data is properly fused to private data, Kolb said, companies can reveal exciting new insights and identify ideas and opportunities that were previously hidden. For example, they can extend customer data with demographic and income information from the US Census project, or quality of life data from Pew Research. This unlocks much richer sets of information for use in customer service, marketing, and many other initiatives.

To address this need, Applied Data Labs is launching The Fusion Project–a public project using techniques and technology developed internally at Applied Data Labs to combine multiple public data sets into a single, value-packed data set for public consumption. Using distributed data analysis technology which employs advanced statistical analysis and data integration technology, the Fusion Project is able to join together previously silo’d data sets, unlocking insights and ideas that were previously unavailable. The project’s ultimate goal is to unlock the synergy latent in the publicly available data sets and put them to work in analytics environments.

“The Fusion Project uses several new and emerging technologies to work its magic,” said Kolb. “It’s one of the first projects to use Semantic Web technology in a meaningful way, and we’ve developed several unique ways to combine statistical research and analysis to stitch data sets together.” Applied Data Labs researches and develops experimental and theoretical analytic technologies internally and then consumerizes them in various ways, the Fusion Project being one of the first publicly-available incarnations of this process.

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United Way Brings Together Greater Philadelphia Business Leaders for Celebration of Women and Leadership

AscentiveBusiness news from the Ascentive team

United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania’s Women’s Initiative hosted its annual gala last evening to celebrate women leaders in philanthropy and volunteerism. Presented by Independence Blue Cross, proceeds from the gala support the work of United Way’s Women’s Initiative, which focuses on programs for at-risk women and girls, including Girls Today, Leaders Tomorrow (GTLT), a program that helps at-risk adolescent girls develop self-esteem and leadership skills.

The gala, attended by Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter and members of the business community, was co-hosted by Sherryann Plesse, principal and chief learning officer at Vanguard and Renee Rhem, vice president, customer service at Independence Blue Cross.  Sixth and seventh grade girls, who are part of the 2012 Girls Today, Leaders Tomorrow class, were featured in the program which also recognized Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown as the 2012 Women’s Initiative award winner.

“The mission of United Way’s Women’s Initiative and that of Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown is the same,” said Jill Michal, president and CEO, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania. “We’re both committed to ensuring the success of women and girls in our region- I know we all left the event feeling inspired by her leadership and passion.”

“The Councilwoman leads by example and her life commitment to women’s issues is evident,” added Amy Frazier, Marketing & Sales Leader at Pricewaterhouse Cooper and Chair of United Way’s Women’s Initiative. “As women, she challenged us to continue to do more for our girls, and our community.”

The Women’s Initiative is comprised of many of the region’s top professional women who give, advocate and volunteer in support of at-risk women and girls. Through United Way’s Girls Today, Leaders Tomorrow program, girls participate in community- and school-based activities that help them build self-esteem, honor their bodies and maintain healthy relationships with their peers.

The United Way Women’s Initiative is a leadership network committed to philanthropy and volunteerism in the Greater Philadelphia area. The Women’s Initiative is bringing positive change to our community by increasing the impact of women donors, increasing the number of women volunteers, and strengthening programs serving at-risk women and girls.  The Women’s Initiative’s signature program – Girls Today, Leaders Tomorrow – is changing the lives of at-risk adolescent girls and supporting area agencies with proven success in serving this vulnerable population.

United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania is part of a national network of more than 1,300 locally governed organizations that work to create lasting positive changes in communities and in people’s lives. United Way engages the community to identify the underlying causes of the most significant local issues, develops strategies and pulls together financial and human resources to address them, and measure the results. United Way is advancing the common good in southeastern Pennsylvania by focusing on education for children, income for families and health for seniors.

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NQ Mobile and NCSA Consumer Survey Shows That Many Parents Lack Awareness of Cyber Bully Threats

AscentiveCyberbullying news from the Ascentive team

NQ Mobile Inc., a leading provider of consumer-centric mobile security and productivity applications, and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), a non-profit public-private partnership focused on cybersecurity awareness and education for all digital citizens, today released findings from a recent consumer survey(1) that shed light on how parents think and act in order to protect the mobile privacy and security of their children.

The newly released findings show that a majority of parents have not talked to their children about protecting their privacy when using a mobile phone (56%), or talked to their children about security measures for their phones (63%).

The survey also found that while the majority of parents (71%) are aware of parental controls that can help protect their kids by monitoring usage, establishing time limits and blocking websites, apps, GPS location, and access to personal data, 60% have never used them. Of those surveyed, moms were more comfortable and more likely to have actually used parental controls.

“Too few parents are talking with their children about malware, hacking and other threats to mobile security and privacy,” said NQ Mobile co-Chief Executive Officer Omar Khan. “That is no surprise, when many adults don’t feel they know enough to protect themselves. Talking to your kids about how to protect the personal information on their phones, however, is every bit as necessary as having ‘The Talk’ about ‘the birds and the bees.’ Smartphones can provide a young person with independence and information. Used carelessly, they can also provide hackers, bullies and thieves with access to your child’s personal information, expose them to theft, and even track their location. Parents need to learn more about threats like this, and the very real steps they can take to protect their whole family.”

Parents whose kids own smartphones tend to be less aware of security threats and mobile security solutions that combat those threats than parents whose kids don’t own smartphones. This surprising result may suggest that parents who are highly aware of mobile threats are so concerned they decide not to give their children phones at all.

Overall, parents who are more aware of and concerned about security threats and privacy issues are more willing to talk to their children about them.

“As smartphone use increases, more and more parents are going to be buying mobile devices for their children at earlier ages, and we want to make sure they are armed with enough information to make safe, sensible decisions,” said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. “A young person who is responsible enough to own a smartphone, can also take responsibility for protecting their phone and the information on it. Some security measures are simple and straightforward: create strong passwords and don’t share them with friends or anyone but your parents, exercise caution in sharing personal information online, don’t lose or misplace your phone. We always encourage digital citizens — especially young ones — to take an active role in learning safe practices and behaviors, and follow three simple steps: STOP. THINK. CONNECT.”

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CNCS promotes anti-cyberbullying efforts on MLK Day

AscentiveCyber Safety News From the Ascentive team

Momentum is building for the annualMartin Luther King Day of Service, as thousands of organizations across the country put the finishing touches on volunteer projects to bring Americans together to serve their neighbors and advance Dr. King’s dream of social justice and economic opportunity for all.

With the holiday just days away, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is urging Americans to visit MLKDay.gov to find volunteer opportunities in their communities and make MLK Day a “day on, not a day off.”

Projects will take place in all 50 states, including weatherizing homes, beautifying schools, serving meals, and supporting veterans and military families. Many organizations use the day as a springboard for year-round service, such as signing up mentors and tutors for at-risk youth.

A special focus of the 2012 MLK Day of Service is advancing Dr. King’s dream of economic opportunity.  In Philadelphia, a job fair will connect 500 people looking for work with prospective employers. In Dayton, Ohio, volunteers will offer help in job searching, resume writing, and interview preparation.  Members of AmeriCorps VISTA will fan out nationwide to raise awareness of the Earned Income Tax Credit and offer free tax preparation services.

“Dr. King devoted his life to advancing equality, social justice, and economic opportunity for all, and taught us that everyone has a role to play in making America what it ought to be,” said Robert Velasco II, acting CEO of CNCS.  “Now more than ever, we need to take heed of Dr. King’s teachings and work together to achieve his dream.  Volunteer service is a powerful way to strengthen economic opportunity. And when better to start than on the day we honor Dr. King?”

In 1994, Congress passed legislation encouraging the King Federal Holiday to be observed as a national day of service, and charged CNCS with leading this national effort.  This year, CNCS developed several signature initiatives, including a partnership with Scholastic to create and distribute MLK Day Curriculum for grades 3-5; new MLK Day videos and TV and radio PSAs featuring civil rights leaders; and working with faith, non-profit and community leaders to provide more than 2,000 MLK Drum Majors for Service awards to exemplary volunteers.

CNCS awarded MLK Day of Service grants to six organizations to lead service activities on the day, supporting more than 300 projects nationwide to meet local needs:

HOPE worldwide is mobilizing thousands of volunteers across the nation, focusing on fire prevention and preparedness. Partnering with a number of local Red Cross branches, HOPE worldwide is hosting fire prevention fairs, canvasing to raise awareness of fire prevention, and conducting smoke alarm inspection and installation.

Points of Light is focusing its efforts on meeting the needs of veterans and military families, activating more than 185,000 volunteers through subgrantee projects. From MLK Day America’s Sunday Suppers focused on veterans and military members in local movie theaters in Central California to the nation’s largest MLK service project in Philadelphia with more than 85,000 volunteers. Americans are stepping up across the country to service to connect veterans and military families to jobs and training, education, housing and health care.

Service for Peace is mobilizing more than 25,000 volunteers with a focus on engaging and helping veterans and military families across the country, focusing on a wide array of issue areas, including leading the MLK Jr. National Food Drive, school clean ups, house rebuilding and promoting and restoring community garden art. Through the 40 Days of Peace campaign, Service for Peace will be working to reduce cyber-bullying, crime and violence across America from Jan. 16th to Feb. 24th.

Mobilizing nearly 12,000 volunteers on more than 65 college campuses across the country, Wisconsin Campus Compact and its partners will focus on education, healthy futures, economic opportunity and disaster preparedness with events ranging from working with area food banks to hosting a community breakfast for local leaders.

Youth Service America will engage at least 50,000 youth volunteers on MLK Day through partner and grantee schools and community organizations. Young people, ages 5-25, will serve as part of programs organized by 16 MLK Day Lead Organizers funded by CNCS as well as nearly 500 other YSA grant funded projects. Many of these grantees will use MLK Day as part of a Semester of Service™, an extended youth-led experience of at least 70 hours of learning and service.

Cesar Chavez Foundation is mobilizing more than 6,000 volunteers throughout the southwest and western region of the nation, focusing on education through digital literacy programs, community educational events and service learning projects.

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ABC’s 20/20 Episode Proposes a solution to Bullying Epidemic

AscentiveCyberbullying news from the Ascentive team

The ABC news magazine show 20/20 recently reported on what one school is doing to help combat the problem of in-school bullying and cyber-bullying. The Alliance School, an alternative Milwaukee public school, uses the Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) program to teach students key lessons such as respect and conflict-resolution.

LifeSkills Training promotes healthy alternatives to risky behavior by helping students develop greater self-esteem and self-confidence and by enabling them to effectively cope with stress and anxiety.  Not only is LST the top-rated substance abuse prevention program in schools today; a recent study also showed that LST prevents physical and verbal aggression as well as delinquency and fighting in schools.

“Bullying is an epidemic that affects everyone—victims, bystanders, and the bullies themselves. An effective school-based prevention program can help build an atmosphere in schools so that kids feel safe, and when they feel safe, they learn better and thrive,” said program developer Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin. “I am proud that LST is an integral part of this.”

The Alliance School is a charter school of the Milwaukee Public School system that strives to provide a safe, student-centered, and academically challenging environment to meet the needs of all students. The 6th – 12th grade school, which opened in 05, teaches LifeSkills Training to help reinforce a safe and accepting environment where students are treated fairly regardless of sexuality, ability, appearance, or beliefs.

Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) is a highly effective evidence-based substance abuse and violence prevention program with more than 30 years of peer-reviewed research behind it. Studies testing its effectiveness have found that LST can reduce the prevalence of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use by as much as 80 percent. The program was developed by Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin, professor of Public Health and Psychiatry at Cornell University’s Weill Medical College and director of Cornell’s Institute for Prevention Research.

LST has been used with youth in all 50 states, the District of Columbia,Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and in 32 countries around the world. LST is included in the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) and has been selected for prevention excellence by numerous organizations including the U.S. Department of Education, the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (part of the U.S. Department of Justice). Recently LST was selected as a Top Tier prevention program by the Coalition for Evidence-based Policy, an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization in Washington, DC. Visit http://www.lifeskillstraining.com for more information.

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Net Nanny offers Cyberbully Prevention Tips

AscentiveInternet safety tips from the Ascentive team

As long as there have been schools, there have been bullies, and the Internet has created a whole new playground for them. Cyberbullying is now increasing at an alarming rate. Net Nanny ( http://www.netnanny.com ) encourages parents to take precautions to prevent cyberbullying, and when it occurs, to act quickly and decisively.

Most parents know that when a bullying incident occurs with their child, they should address it immediately. In the case of cyberbullying, online tools are now available to alert parents the moment something happens so they can react in real-time. When parents are alerted that their child may be the target of cyberbullying by a program such as Net Nanny, they should immediately follow these five guidelines:

1. Address it immediately. Speak frankly and openly about the incident with your child to get all the details possible. Ask direct and detailed questions.

2. Uncover the history. Determine if this is the first time for the incident or if it has been an on-going problem.

3. Understand your child’s feelings. Get a clear understanding of how your child feels. Are they just annoyed or are they scared, feeling threatened, or even contemplating extreme and dangerous actions such as retaliation or suicide

4. Create a plan together. Work with your child to determine how they (or you together) should deal with the cyberbullying. Your plan might be to include school officials in dealing with the issue, change user names and passwords for your child’s online activities, calling and speaking with parents of the offending bully and watching your child carefully for changes in behavior.

5. Consider professional help. If the incident warrants it, do not hesitate to get professional medical help or counseling for your child, and if you suspect any kind of criminal act or predator activity against your child, contact your local law enforcement agency.

“Email, websites, chat and social media are the places where cyberbullying usually occurs,” said Russ Warner, ContentWatch/Net Nanny CEO. “You can have a great relationship with your child, put in place many safety measures and do everything you can to protect them, but the bottom line is, you can’t stop their online activity. And when an incident occurs, parents need to act very quickly to help them and prevent future incidents. These five guidelines will certainly help.”

Net Nanny believes bullying in all its forms treads on the rights of children to attend school in a safe and secure environment, free from negative threats or discrimination. As cyberbullying increases with the proliferation of online social networks, Net Nanny believes parents, school officials, government agencies and corporations have a responsibility to do all they can to protect the rights of school children.

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