Facebook is a major influence on girls, says survey

Facebook has become one of the biggest influences on the lives of girls, according to a survey.

A study of eight to 15-year-olds for National Family Week found 40% of girls identified Facebook as one of the most important things in their lives - compared with 6% of boys.

Parents were found to underestimate the significance of technology.

The role of social networking was particularly important in families with a single mother as parent.

The survey, carried out last month and based on 3,000 parents and 1,000 children across the UK, looked at the perceptions of children and parents of family life.

Online life

It was commissioned by National Family Week - an event supported by charities including the NSPCC and the Women's Institute - which encourages families to spend more time together.

The survey presents a picture of girls using social networking as something central to their social and family life.

Girls saw websites such as Facebook as much more influential than television, magazines, celebrities and even their own brothers and sisters.

Asked to name the three most important things in their lives, the most popular choices for girls were friends, family and then Facebook and MSN.

For boys, family was much more of a popular choice - chosen by 73% of boys, compared with 53% of girls. For their other choices, boys identified money and friends as their next most important things.

Social networking was a much lower priority for boys - only 6% selecting it in their top three things in their lives, compared with 40% of girls.

Girls are also more likely to believe that technology - in the form of social networking and mobile phones - has a major influence on their lives.

While 41% of girls think technology is one of their biggest influences, only 17% of boys believe this.

Relationship with parents

Girls see their big influences as parents, teachers and technology - while boys identify parents, friends and school.

The survey claims that parents have failed to keep up with their children's use of technology, overestimating their own importance in their children's lives.

According to Facebook's own policy, children should not register to use the website until they are aged 13.

The survey also looked at how children viewed their relationships with their parents.

It found that both boys and girls would much rather have stories read to them by their mother - but that girls felt closer to their fathers, while boys felt closer to their mothers.

Bangladesh 'blocks Facebook' over political cartoons

Bangladesh has blocked access to Facebook after satirical images of the prophet Muhammad and the country's leaders were uploaded, say reports.

One man has been arrested and charged with "spreading malice and insulting the country's leaders" with the images, an official told the AFP news agency.

Officials said the ban was temporary and access to the site would be restored once the images were removed.

It comes after Pakistan invoked a similar ban over "blasphemous content".

A spokesman for the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) told AFP Facebook had "hurt the religious sentiments of the country's majority Muslim population" by carrying "offensive images" of Mohammed.

"Some links in the site also contained obnoxious images of our leaders including the father of the nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the leader of the opposition," said the commission's acting chair, Hasan Mahmud Delwar.

On Saturday, one man was arrested by the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in Dhaka and charged with uploading the images.

"Facebook will be re-opened once we erase the pages that contain the obnoxious images," said Mr Delwar.

Pakistan blocked all access to Facebook - along with YouTube, Wikipedia and Flickr - last week after images of Muhammad started to appear online.

People were invited to submit their images of him in the run-up to "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day" held by some users of Facebook on 20 May.

Most Muslims consider representations of the Prophet Muhammad to be blasphemous.

Thousands of people joined anti-Facebook protests in Bangladesh on Friday demanding the site be blocked over the contest.

Pakistani court lifts ban on Facebook

LAHORE, Pakistan – A Pakistani court lifted a ban on Facebook on Monday after officials from the social networking site apologized for a page deemed offensive to Muslims and removed its contents, said a top information technology official.

The Lahore High Court imposed the ban almost two weeks ago amid anger over a page that encouraged users to post images of Islam'sProphet Muhammad. Many Muslims regard depictions of the prophet, even favorable ones, as blasphemous.

"In response to our protest, Facebook has tendered their apology and informed us that all the sacrilegious material has been removed from the URL," said Najibullah Malik, secretary of Pakistan's information technology ministry, referring to the technical term for a Web page.

Facebook assured the Pakistani government that "nothing of this sort will happen in the future," said Malik.

Officials from the website could not immediately be reached for comment. They said earlier the contents of the "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!" page did not violate Facebook's terms.

The page encouraged users to post images of the prophet to protest threats made by a radical Muslim group against the creators of the American TV series "South Park" for depicting Muhammad in a bear suit during an episode earlier this year.

The controversy sparked a handful of protests across Pakistan, many by student members of radical Islamic groups. Some of the protesters carried signs advocating holy war against Facebook for allowing the page.

Bangladesh also decided to block Facebook on Sunday but said it would restore access to the site if the offensive material was removed.

It is not the first time that images of the prophet have sparked anger. Pakistan and other Muslim countries saw large and sometimes violent protests in 2006 when a Danish newspaper published cartoons of Muhammad, and again in 2008 when they were reprinted. Later the same year, a suspected al-Qaida suicide bomber attacked the Danish Embassy in Islamabad, killing six people.

As of midmorning Monday, access to Facebook inside Pakistan was still restricted. But users outside the country confirmed the page that sparked the recent uproar was no longer accessible.

Pakistani government officials are waiting for a written court order lifting the ban before they advise Internet service providers to restore access to the site, said Malik.

Anger over the incident also prompted the government to block access to YouTube, saying there was growing sacrilegious content on the video sharing website. The government restored access to YouTube last week but said it would continue to block videos offensive to Muslims that are posted on the site.

Man accused of raping woman he met on social networking site

Steven Moore

Steven Moore

A woman who met a man on a social networking site says she awakened to being moved and was raped.

Steven Lynn Moore, 40, of the 15000 block of Horseshoe Lane, Fort Myers, was charged Friday with sexual assault on a victim older than 12 years old by using force. He was released Saturday from Lee County Jail after posting a $50,000 bond.

According to Lee County Sheriff’s Office reports:

Just after 9:15 a.m. May 23 the woman called deputies and said she had been raped by Moore.

An investigation shows: The victim met Moore through a networking website on May 21 when he sent her an e-mail. They talked on the telephone that night for about three hours and met the next morning for breakfast. They spent the day into Saturday morning, May 22 and decided to meet again May 23 to see a movie. After she went home, they spoke on the phone again and decided he would go get her so they wouldn’t have to wake up so early Sunday morning, May 23, to go see the movie.

She fell asleep and believed Moore was going to sleep. She was adamant there would be no sexual contact. About 3 a.m. that morning, she was awakened when Moore repositioned her body and ultimately raped her as she kicked and screamed. He put his hand over her mouth and told her “Shut up. Shut up and let me finish.”

She was sexually battered some more before he released her. She gathered her clothes and noticed he was masturbating. She demanded he take her home and he asked her if she wanted to take the three leftover bottles of beer she brought with her. She declined and he took her home. The victim had bruises on her right upper thigh and left bicep. She picked him out of a photographic lineup.

He was spoken to but invoked his right to remain silent upon the advice of his attorney. He was arrested.

This isn’t the first time Moore has been arrested on a sex offense. On Feb. 14, 2007, he was charged with three counts of fondling a child younger than 12, two counts of sexual battery on a child younger than 12 and one count of displaying a firearm. Lee County online court records show that the charges were dropped the middle of July 2008.

Because of the Memorial Day holiday Monday, information as to why the charges were not prosecuted was not available.