Archive for the ‘Pets and Family’ Category

More and more person chose to adopt animal when they want to have a pet. In my hometown, Taiwan, government and celebrities are beginning to support this issue in recent years.

When I came to Australia in 2013, I found lots of pet owners in Australia especially in Melbourne chose adoption than buying. This is because most of them think pet shops or puppy farms are making profit through animal. For the people who love animal it is so unethical.

Through I chatted with my friend, Emily, she talked to me some cruel situations of pet shops happened, like inbreeding program. And she also talked to me something about RSPCA because she adopted two dogs last year.

RSPCA Australia (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is an Australian government funding organization. In Australia, each state has an RSPCA organization. RSPCA Victoria was established in 1871, it located in Burwood Highway, near Deakin University.

I do an interview to test about the awareness of adoption in RSPCA.I interviewed people who walked around RSPCA to ask them some simple questions such as ‘Do you know how to adopt an animal in RSPCA?’ But most of interviewees think to adopt a pet in RSPCA is a hard task.

Thus, I came to RSPCA and ask them how to adopt an animal in RSPCA? The answer was surprised me! The staff told me they knew choosing the pet for people are takes time. So, to make this process easier, RSPCA has introduced a national website called ‘Adopt A Pet’ that will let you view some of the animals waiting to be adopted at RSPCA locations across Australia.

Besides, if you prefer come to RSPCA directly, they are also welcome. You just do three steps: find a pet, fill the form and wait thee phone call.

The reason why you can take the pet directly, this is because they have to do some survey on your family background. The staff told me they want to make sure every pet find a right home. It is very important for these stray pets. They do not want to they ever come back again. They want to they stay and be happy and live for their rest lives in their new homes.

In the future, if you or your friends want to buy a pet, think about adopting in RSPCA. They are as same animals as you see in pet shops. Please, support adoption, because love does not come with a price tag.

Many people especially teenagers are using the Internet as a form of social behavior replacing older methods of communicating between one another.

But when Internet considered as the place where younger generation could say not-so-nice things to one another, every parents start to worry on the fact that Internet could make they children’s behavior into Anti Social behavior.

Teens and Internet

Teenagers with Anti Social Behavior have become one of the biggest concerns for every parent, as a matter of fact it become one of the worst nightmare for every parents if they find out their child struggling with this kind behavior.

Therefore when the statistics appears in a new report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project said that nearly nine out of every ten teenagers have witnessed cruelty to others on social networks, every parent now have a reason why they should be concerned.

The survey also said that 88 percent of social media-using teens have witnessed other users being mean or cruel on social networks, and 25 percent have had an experience on social network that resulted in a face-to-face argument or confrontation with someone.

According to the study at California State University with social networks sites like Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr, teens will eventually spending their times on these sites and this can cause them to develop and anti-social behavior.

The study by Larry Rosen, a psychology professor, also said that social media’s impact on preteens and teenagers seemed to have a negative effect on people in that age group.

He further said that social Media has infiltrated every aspect of daily life, and in each area could cause potential roadblocks.

For example, social media can really affecting their education.

Among the students who got lower grades in their school, said the study, most checked Facebook at least once during a 15-minute study period.

Those who had Facebook open on their computers during that study period, lower reading retention rates were observed.

This is proving that checking your Facebook page and Twitter timeline while in a classroom will disturb teenager’s concentration.

Another disturbing behavior that found in the Internet is in a form of Cyber-bullying.

Hurtful comments or provocative remarks in the Internet is a usual thing that can be seen everywhere in Internet.

This negative activity can harm teenagers especially when the negative comments are addressed to them.

Then, what kind of solution that all the parents need to do in order to prevent their children to do such bad things to other and to themselves in the Internet?

Rosen said that parental website monitoring turn out wasn’t necessarily the answer.

“If you feel that you have to use some sort of computer program to surreptitiously monitor your child’s social networking, you are wasting your time because they will find a workaround in a matter of minutes.”

Rosen believes that parents should do more listening that lecturing when handling this type of situation.

On average, 2,100 Australians commit suicide each year, accounting for more deaths than those caused by road accidents. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, it is the leading cause of death amongst young people aged 15 – 24 in the country.

Last year, in the City of Casey in Melbourne’s South East suburbs, too many teenagers ended their lives. Often rapidly, one after the other, these tragedies shocked the community and left families, friends and schools in constant fear. Beaconhills College in Berwick lost 4 past and current students in the space of 12 months, heartbreakingly leaving the area desperately searching for a solution to the horrific situation.

Rowan Membrey was one of the young boys to take his life in 2011. His father, Craig Membrey, spoke to ABC earlier this year about his son.

 

Late last year, after receiving the news that there had been another teen suicide – this time of a 14 year old girl named Paige Menzies – Beaconhills College senior students Jess Cummings, then 17 and Thom Hartland, 18  decided that something needed to happen.

“It really shook up the community, especially the school we both attended.
When we found out that people even younger than us were taking their lives or considering it, we definitely knew that was the time to change things.”

In the hope that they could raise awareness of the rising suicide epidemic that appeared to be racing through their local community, they created a Facebook page called Coming Together to Prevent Youth Suicide.

Twelve months on and it has swarmed through the social media sphere, with a giant 18,500 followers to date. Whilst the Australian media currently reports very little regarding suicides, essentially to protect vulnerable individuals and families, attitudes are changing. After rumours of a suicide pact being in place in schools in the area, parents, friends and the families of those affected are pushing for the lift of these media norms. By targeting the right demographic via social media to broadcast the serious issue, Cummings and Hartland’s page exploded in a way that they never expected.

“We added six people the night we made it [the page]. The next day we had about 1000.”

Having been close with several of the deceased teenagers, both Jess and Thom have become incredibly passionate about their cause. Unfortunately, they have taken on the burden of thousands of follower’s emotions and have felt the tragic weight as teenager’s worldwide turn to the page for both help and a friend.
National charity In2Life has offered their assistance, and provided the page with professional moderators, guidelines and counselors to monitor the content that is being posted constantly.

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At a recent youth suicide forum in Berwick, the State Minister for Mental Health, Mary Wooldridge, said that almost $150,000 of this year’s Headspace funding would be channeled towards a dedicated suicide prevention worker for the City of Casey and Cardinia Shire area’s for 12 months.

“Along with the local councils, schools and youth services, the Health Department is supporting services to effectively respond to young people presenting with mental health issues and to minimise the risk of suicides occurring.”

The Honorable Anthony Byrne, MP for Holt acknowledged the bravery of those that attended the forum and held a summit to address the issue.

A recent survey conducted by major mental health organization Beyond Blue investigated the attitudes towards depression amongst Australians. CEO Ms Kate Carnell said, “It seems that many people still don’t know depression is an illness which needs and responds to treatment, and still don’t know how to help themselves or someone else who may be struggling.”

The survey revealed the following response:

*   62% wrongly believed antidepressant medication is addictive
*   34% wrongly thought people with severe depression should ‘pull themselves together’
*   25% wrongly thought it would be helpful to take a person with depression to the pub for a few drinks to help them forget their worries
*   19 % wrongly thought it would be helpful to tell a depressed person to ‘put on a brave face and push on’
*   14% wrongly thought people with severe depression are weak-willed.

“This indicates we need to work harder to make people more aware of the signs and symptoms of depression” said Ms Carnell.

A simple Facebook page created by two high school students has gathered 18,500 followers, and a community has banded together to support each other during the aftermath of a series of heart-rending tragedies.

With the State funded suicide prevention worker and the slowly changing attitudes towards the portrayal of suicide in the media, the City of Casey is trying to open the lid on youth depression and suicide in an attempt to try and understand why their children chose death.

We asked the public about their attitudes towards depression, suicide and its representation in the media.

 

If you are experiencing feelings of depression or suicidal tendencies, please contact any of the services below:

Lifeline – 13 11 14 (cost of a local call)

Kids Help Line – 1800 55 1800 (free call).

Beyond Blue 

Headspace

Monday the 10th of September was World Suicide Prevention Day. ABC’s Four Corners program addressed the issue, and interviewed Jess Cummings and Thom Hartland of Coming Together to Prevent Youth Suicide, along with the parents of suicide victims and Beaconhills College Head Master. You can watch the video here:

 

On July 11, a 13 year old girl called Molly Lord was killed in a quad bike accident in Kembla Grange. But it was not this freak accident that caused the media storm to follow; in one of the most proactive and controversial campaigns against media intrusion, the Molly’s Law movement has triggered a public outcry in the bid to protect grieving and distressed families against death knocks.

Young Molly Lord was an accomplished equestrienne, tragically killed in a farm accident on July 11, 2012

The Illawarra Mercury, and Channel 7 are the guilty parties that initiated this movement. In the most devastating and emotional time a parent could face, freshly grieving the death of their beloved child, their situation was escalated and privacy violated by media agencies in the defence of ‘public interest’.

Goldspink-Lord was filmed by a channel 7 helicopter besides her dead daughter, and in a separate incident when consoling herself by visiting her daughters horse, had a reporter enter her house, trespassing and snooping for the Illawarra Mercury.

‘I went outside at some point to go to her horse for some comfort when the channel 7 helicopter flew above me … footage of myself sitting with my deceased daughter was put on the channel 7 website for the world to see before I had even told all my family.’
— Channel Seven, News, Facebook page, 21st July, 2012

Goldspink-Lord’s comment on Channel 7’s wall received great support, however was removed by the television station when they removed the offending video.

Lords father was overseas at the time, and was contacted for comment by these agencies. The family implored the press not to publicise the death, declined comment in a bid to have the opportunity to contact those close family and friends who had not known about the accident, but this right was denied when in minutes footage was aired on Channel 7 showing the grieving mother with her child, and a front cover on the Illawarra Mercury describing with text and image the death.

An outraged Goldspink-Lord retaliated, posting with her full name on both agencies articles her plight of intrusion, supported by thousands of comments outraged over the families treatment. A Facebook page, now supported by over 7000 fans, further publicised her plight.

‘I am the mother of the beautiful Molly Lord who was killed on a quad bike last week. I would just like to let everyone know of the pain and harassment we suffered as a result of channel 7…’ Channel Seven News, Facebook page, 21st July, 2012

The Facebook page established to support Molly’s Law, and the efforts of the Lord family in their plight.

Beyond just press coverage, bloggers including Woolly Days, WA TODAY, Crikey, FOI PRIVACY, Mumbrella and many others, have also commented and discussed this incident on many occasions, seeking an interactive medium to give consumer power back to those from media entities.

The power of social media has been clarified, with the medium providing an opportunity for the family to seek the answers they want, and are moving with legal representation to not only seek justice, but demand fairness in grieving for the protection of families in similar circumstances.

Mollys Law from Elia Lom on Vimeo.

Molly’s Law

-Elia Lom

 

Euthanisation of abandoned animals raise alarm

Posted: October 4, 2012 by steffidot in Pets and Family

The number of abandoned animals being euthanised was raising concern.

According to RSPCA figures, in 2010-2011, around 20,000 dogs, 37,000 cats and 11,000 other animals were euthanased.

Animal shelters and pounds have been keeping abandoned animals over the past few years. But with the number of unwanted animals remained high, many had run out of space. Not only sick animals, but healthy and treatable ones were put down as well.

Coordinator of Getting 2 Zero Neil Thompson addressed the issue of over-population.

“There are more animals in community than community can hold,” Ms Thompson said.

She said the number of shelter and pounds remained the same even the size of population was increasing.

“The support resources of community are not growing in line with our population” Ms Thompson said.

The funding mainly came from non-profit organisation and individuals. Ms Thompson said there wasn’t much support from local and national government.

“There isn’t huge amount of resources towards animal welfare,” Ms Thompson said.

Head Vet for animal inpatients at Lort Smith Hospital Dr Andrew Kapsis also recognised the lack of government funding, which just “rely on organisation to raise fund”.

He said government should carry out tighter measures on breeders.

“The government should be tougher on people who bred animals. There should be license to breed,” Dr Kapsis said.

Animals were abandoned for different reasons. Dr Kapsis said the main reason was people can no longer afford to keep the pets.

“Their pets might be unwell and they can’t afford surgery,” Dr Kapsis said. “They might be moving overseas or to smaller property, so they can’t keep big active dog. Or their landlord do not allow.”

Dr Kapsis regarded the importance of education in teaching people “responsible care and ownership”. He said the public should be educated to desexing their pets to prevent high abandonment rate in breeding season.

“A lot of animals do not have home especially during spring and summer,” Dr Kapsis said.

Ivy and Puffy.

Ivy Fung, who is a dog-lover and has a pet named Puffy, said she was upset about abandoned animals.

“I am quite sad,” she said. “For people who just abandoned their dogs, it’s just like abandoning their children, abandoning one of their family members.”

She said people should take responsibility.

“If you can’t keep the promise, don’t even buy them,” she said.

The community was pushing for changes. They were taking advantage of social media to spread their messages, like Pound Rounds on Facebook page.

Getting 2 Zero is an organization aimed to increase community responsibility and “achieve zero euthanasia” by encouraging people to adopt Getting to Zero Model. The model provides strategies on what people working in organization and community can do. More information about Getting to Zero Model can be found on the site: http://www.g2z.com.au/pdf/G2Z_Brochure.pdf

Sexting has now become more common among teenagers than previously thought.

Statistics from a survey conducted by Tru-Insight, a global leader in research on tweens, teens and 20-somethings, have found shocking results in that 21 per cent of teen girls and 18 per cent of teen boys have sent or posted nude or semi-nude images of themselves.

Sexting also appears to be on the increase, a submission prepared by Australian charity The Salvation Army reveals that more than a third of under 18s in Australia have received a sexual text or image via their mobile or computer.

As more teenagers are using their mobiles and computers to communicate sexually, the concerns of parents and adults involved are rising.

Hugh Stevens, a member of the Victorian Privacy Commissioner’s Youth Advisory Group, believes the growing number of adolescents sexting is due to their lack of knowledge of the circumstances,

“Sexting is a phenomenon where this communication has significant negative consequences, often beyond the thoughts of young people involved.”

The consequences leading to humiliation, harassment and bullying can be detrimental and life threatening to a teenagers health and well-being.

But high school student, Stephanie Tate, 17, thinks otherwise and believes that people concerned are over-dramatizing the issue and that teenagers are actually more aware of the matter than people think they are,

“Of course we understand and are fully aware of the consequences. Teenagers are smart enough to know that once something is sent you can’t get it back. Friends my age may send a text that could be sexual, but not a picture. I think parents forget that teenagers are growing into adults and are in an important stage of exploring their sexuality. But if we have gone too far, it’s a mistake that we must learn from.”

SEX IN THE MEDIA

It’s the popularity and demand of new communication technologies that play an increasingly important role in the lives of the young, especially adolescents. The easy access to these devices coupled with the freedom of the social media and the internet create an open door for kids to be influenced by and act upon the provocative and sexual nature of what they see on screen.

Assistant Vice-Principal of the Alice Smith School, Tobin Connell, believes part of the media contributes to creating the normalization of this behavior of exchange to teenagers,

“What we see in the cinemas, and what is so easily obtained on the internet has no regulation, and it’s very, very difficult to try and keep ahead of that kind of game. The normalization of the, ‘Yeah, well everybody does it’ is a very, very scary concept, especially in educational circles because students aren’t mentally prepared enough to deal with the issues that are coming their way.”

Donald Strassberg, professor of psychology at the University of Utah states that, “These results argue for educational efforts such as cell phone safety assemblies, awareness days, integration into class curriculum and teacher training, designed to raise awareness about the potential consequences of sexting among young people.”

If you are a concerned parent or someone who is receiving uncomfortable messages, there are many helpful websites you can go to for support and information:

www.cybernettrix.com.au

www.wiseuptoit.com.au

Dog days not over yet

Posted: October 1, 2012 by Chris Healy in Pets and Family
Tags: , , , ,

Golden retriever, Rupert, in his yard

It’s common knowledge that there are many abandoned animals throughout Australia. However, why has it reached the crisis level it is at today? In the 2010 to 2011 financial year, 67,573 dogs were received by the RSPCA nationwide.

Of course, many factors contribute to this issue, including the running of puppy farms as well as owners not desexing their pets.

Coming from a family who loves animals and having been brought up surrounded by dogs and cats, it is difficult to imagine how others can justify abandoning their pet.

Julie Johnston from the Save a Dog Scheme in Glen Iris says, ‘people get animals for all the wrong reasons and don’t take into account factors such as behavioural issues and vet costs.’

So what can be done?

Encouraging the public to adopt from shelters rather than buying a puppy or kitten would make a huge difference to the number of homeless animals. Irresponsible breeding such as at puppy farms should be stopped to prevent further oversupply of animals.

It would be wrong to think that all dogs received by animal shelters are the result of negligence however the sad truth is that most are.

Dog owner, Susan Ditchfield, explains her point of view on why dogs are abandoned

It is my firm belief that the strong should always protect the weak. As humans I feel that we need to appreciate all animals and understand that they are not just here for our ‘use’ and eventual ‘disposal.’

It’s clear that pet shops send the wrong message to the public. The notion of going to the shops and buying a puppy or kitten on impulse because you thought it was cute is both ridiculous and irresponsible. The public must understand that making this decision will affect your life possibly for the next twelve to fifteen years.

Dog being held in animal shelter

Only when people start turning to animal shelters to find their new best friend rather than breeders and pet shops will we start to see a decline in homeless animals.

However it seems that until then and until everyone starts to take pet ownership seriously, animal shelters will continue to overflow.

For more information on pet adoption visit The Lost Dogs Home Website

“Hey..you look familiar. Add me 😉

How old are you? 

 I’d really love to meet you.”

Sound familiar? Of course, it sounds like what may seem to be a genuine conversation starter. But if this is being said to a 12 year old school girl, we should be worried. This is exactly what many young girls AND boys are facing in the deceiving yet attractive world of technology. Online child grooming is a serious issue and is being looked into by the Australian Institute of Criminology.It’s called child grooming and it’s becoming a frightening issue arising in contemporary society. A child groomer is generally known to lure a child or children into a trustworthy relationship by usually faking an identity which appeals to the victim. Facebook, MSN/Windows Live and even websites such as Neopets (an online virtual pet world, where individuals create an online pet and integrate them into the community with other Neopets) are tools for child groomers to find their victims.

The most recent case of child grooming was by a Melbournian who used Facebook to groom minors for sex. The 22-year-old is in jail for 15 months for posing as a 14 year-old boy and using the social network site as a service to seduce young girls. Then after presenting several images, videos and graphics to the child and normalising the idea of sexual activity, a child groomer tries to make the child accept this sort of behaviour.

The video below explains the actual process of child grooming and how serious it actually is. 

Similar to child grooming, recently in New South Wales there was the case of the ‘facebook killer’. An 18 year old girl was lured into bushland and murdered after a 22-year old man faked his identity as a team leader from the NSW Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service. He found out she was an animal lover after researching into her hobbies and lifestyle using that to gain her trust. Child groomers also use hobbies and interests of children to communicate freely and attract them.

Parents need to monitor their children when on the internet. China has gone as far as banning Facebook, but all that’s really needed is parental supervision.

In this day and age, the internet has become a playground for predators. Whether you monitor your child or not determine’s how vulnerable they are to predators.