On the Couch, Press Like

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Have you been publicly shamed? Trolled? Doxxed? Or been at the receiving end threats or been defamed? What causes mob mentality? 

Even if you are trying to stand up for someone online you could be on the receiving end of a barrage of abuse. So why does this happen? People feel protected behind the screen of the online world, and forget humanity, with human beings almost becoming a caricature of a real, living breathing human being.  

Jon Ronson, author of So you’ve been publicly shamed where interviewed people on the receiving on end of public shaming and explores the phenomenon of public shaming, mob mentality and examines the deep and personal damage caused.

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When you search the internet using a search engine such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckgo or Ask.com you are merely skimming the surface of what comprises the internet.  An estimated 96% of the internet comprises the Deep Dark Web – pages that require special software to access and once you are inside, web sites and other services can be accessed through a browser in much the same way as the normal web.

The sites are effectively “hidden”, in that they have not been indexed by a search engine and can only be accessed if you know the address of the site.  So called special retail markets operate within the dark web called, “darknet markets”, which mainly sell illegal products like drugs and firearms, paid for in the cryptocurrency bitcoin. 

There are even crowdfunded sites where users can pay towards having someone assassinated.

Because of the the dark web’s high level of anonymity, it is a place of choice for groups wanting to stay hidden online from governments and law enforcement agencies.

It has also been used whistleblowers to communicate with journalists, but more frequently it has been used by terrorists, criminals, paedophile groups. 

Source The Guardian, Iflscience.com 


Realise the power of how to communicate with your children and actively take part in your children’s online life, in that same way as you do in the real world, teach them online etiquette as this will have an impact later on life.

Who are they gaming with?

Has someone invited them to a private chat?

Young people think that if they are saying no to someone online, they are being rude. If they say no to a Facebook request, they think they are being mean.

And it’s up to us to help them through this process and try not to put the technology onto a pedestal.

In a situation where a young person has been pressured into giving an image of themself online, teach them that they can switch the laptop off, and get away from the situation. Give them the tools to have the strength, and time to have a think about the situation they are in and to build a resilience to learn how to cope in these situations.

For the latest edition of Press Like Suzanne Radford is joined by Teresa Hughes, and expert in safeguarding in education expert.   Teresa is a specialist in online safety and child protection, working with many schools and communities in the UK and overseas.   She is currently an Honorary Lecturer at the University of Kent Centre for Child Protection, School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research.

She is a former police detective working in the Paedophile Online Investigation Team and Teresa’s law enforcement expertise gives her a unique insight into the challenges posed by online grooming, cyberbullying, exposure to harmful material and other issues affecting young people and schools. To contact teresa.hughes@girlinghughes.com 

Looking at how to protect children from online predators, and at the same time protecting our children from their own digital tattoo.

If you have any suspicions about abuse towards your child online, you and your child are encouraged to report them here: http://virtualglobaltaskforce.com/

The UAE is proud to be the first Arab Nation to become a member of the internationally acclaimed ‘Virtual Global Taskforce’ with police forces and Interpol from around the globe, including the UK, the USA, Switzerland, New Zealand, Italy and more, all working together to make the internet a safer place.

The UAE is also the current chair of Virtual Global Taskforce the online task force that actively investigates suspicious behaviour online with or towards a child.

If your child or teenager asks you permission to download a particular app, give yourself some time to investigate the application before you let them go ahead.  You can visit Common Sense Media, a website that rates online applications and gives you a common sense approach as to whether or not you should download the application. 


We’re keeping up and do you know the icons to these anonymous chat apps?

slingshot app logo


wut app




secret app


confide app logo






Confide is described as “an off-the-record messenger, that combines end-to-end encryption that allows messages disappear forever once they are read, the messages are private and encrypted, swipe-to-reveal prevents screenshot and you can send messages to any email address or phone number”.

The user can hide behind the apps, say what they want and remain anonymous.  The appeal lies in the anonymity of the app – as a teenager, social comparisons are very important –  they compare themselves to other children of the same age, and to do this through an anonymous chat app holds great appeal and means they can ask questions without being judged. 

And how about the language used over the phone? The three letter acronyms, code – how do you decipher the code? How do we learn the new development? It can be dangerous if it’s used to hide information from their parents – minimise the gap between your knowledge and your teens knowledge by understanding the language. 

One to look out for is LMIRL – Lets meet in real life

Exploring all types of online communication, social media apps, chat rooms, texting apps, and more, we answer any queries you may have so that we can support, inform, advise and guide you through the online world as it unfolds.

We look at the latest developments in the world of online communication from your point of view – across young adults, teenagers, children, parents and teachers alike.

Our Press Like Panel, Dr Thoraiya Kanafani, Barry Cumming, our panel from Dubai English Speaking College and Suzanne Radford. 

Press Like Group (1)

If there is anything you need help with, send your questions here for the Press Like panel.

We asked the teenagers of the Human Relations Institute and Clinics Dubai youth group about the apps they most use, and it seems Instagram, Facebook and Facebook messenger and Snapchat are the most popular app amongst the teens of today.

Did you also know that it is illegal to have a Facebook Account if you are under the age of 13? Snapchat owns the content you are sending via your Snapchat account, and it is stored, both by Snapchat and as hidden files locally on your phone. 

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Snapchat is famous for its disappearing messages. It is a smartphone social media app that allows users to send videos and pictures, known as “Snaps”. 

Snapchat also developed a “Stories” functionality, which allows users to compile snaps into a “story” that can be viewed by other users in chronological order, with each snap available for 24 hours after its posting.

Snapchat has 100 million daily users sharing around 150 million photos daily (source: Evan Spiegel is the founder of Snapchat, at CODE Conference 2015).

“Pictures are being used for talking,” says Evan Speigel, CEO of Snapchat, as he tries to help people understand why children are taking “a zillion photos”.  

“So when you see your children taking a photo of things that you would never take a picture of, it is because they’re using photographs to talk…   Snapchat really has to do with the way photographs have changed. Historically photos have always been used to save really important memories: major life moments and that’s why people are taking and sending so many pictures on Snapchat every day.”

So why are parents so worried when their children use Snapchat?

Because a user should never assume that something that’s vanished is truly gone.

Snapchat admitted that “if you’ve ever tried to recover lost data after accidentally deleting a drive or maybe watched an episode of CSI, you might know that with the right forensic tools, it’s sometimes possible to retrieve data after it has been deleted.”  



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