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  • July/2013

Facebook Graph Search: A Helpful Tool or Invasion of Privacy?

by South University
July 31, 2013

Earlier in July, Facebook introduced a new feature called Graph Search. Now, when you type a user’s name in the search bar, Graph Search allows you to search for specific items including public posts, likes, location, photos and interests. You can use broad searches as well as more specific ones like "pictures of my family before 2011" or “Friends who live in Savannah and are nurses.”

Facebook search bar

Graph Search improves Facebook’s search functionality by taking information that was previously very hard to stitch together and making it easy to search, helping you to identify people with common interests and quickly find specific photos or content. However, if you can easily find this information about others, remember that your Facebook friends, friends of friends and even the public may be able to find the same information about you!

Protecting Your Privacy

With the introduction of Graph Search, it may be time to change your privacy settings—especially if you’re uncomfortable with people searching for your old Facebook pictures and statuses, or if you don’t like the idea of showing up in a search based on pages that you’ve liked and music or interests that you’ve listed on your page.

The easy way to protect yourself from unwanted privacy intrusions is to go to your privacy settings and click “limit past posts.” This will turn all old posts to a “friends only” status with the click of a button. However, if you want some things to stay public or to be visible to friends of friends, you’ll need to do it the manual way by clicking “Use Activity Log” and going through each post one by one, changing settings as needed.

Facebook Privacy

Business Insider created this great step-by-step guide to help you keep your information private. If you don’t have time for that right now, here are the basics:

1. Go to your Privacy Settings and check who can see your posts: public, friends, friends of friends, or only you.

2. If you want some posts to stay public, click "Use Activity Log" and scroll through your history, editing the privacy settings for each one as you go.

3. To change who can see your profile information, go to the “About” page on your profile and click the "edit" button next to each category.

What’s your opinion on Facebook's new Graph Search? Feel free to share your thoughts on the South University Facebook page!

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Expert Advice on How to Address Nurse Bullying

by South University
July 30, 2013

Caring for others is at the heart of the nursing profession. However, this attitude doesn’t always carry over into workplace interactions among nurses. From journal articles to posts on nursing organization websites and in national newspapers, nurse-to-nurse bullying is a point of common concern and discussion.

To learn what our nursing students can do to recognize and address bullying, we turned to author Renee Thompson, MSN, RN, CMSRN, who explores this topic in her book “Do No Harm” Applies to Nurses Too!. Here’s a bit of our conversation with Renee (referred to as RT below).

Renee Thompson

How do you know whether someone is being a bully or just having a bad day?
RT: As nurses, we haven’t developed good coping mechanisms to deal with the stress of continuous crisis or the unpredictability and ever changing complexity of health care.

However, the difference between someone having a bad day at work and a bully is that if I lash out at you in the middle of a crisis, when the crisis is over, I’ll realize I treated you disrespectfully and apologize. A bully doesn’t apologize. A bully is someone with a repeated pattern of destructive behavior and attempts to do harm.

What do you recommend for a nurse who is a target of bullying?
RT: Nurses sometimes respond by ignoring the bullying, talking about the person behind their back, or finding a way to get them back. This is all destructive behavior. Even if we ignore it, over time, we start to internalize what bullies say about us. You start to believe them, you to start to feel bad about yourself, you start to question your competence.

Instead, start a documentation trail with objective observations about the behavior so that you can see if a pattern exists and escalate the issue if needed. Another thing to do is address the behavior as it happens. Nurses have to find a way to say “I may not know everything, but I don’t deserve to be treated this way. I need your support, not your criticism.” It can be very empowering for nurses to finally stand up to a bully.

In your experience, does bullying take place among students? What would this look like in an online classroom?
RT: Bullying can also happen online –it’s just taking place in a different format and it’s not always intentional either. Really important body languages cues are missing and messages can be misinterpreted. When you’re a student typing a post at 2am, you don’t realize how your message is coming across. When you’re tired, you don’t always have a sensor.

If you’re a student who thinks you are being bullied, it might be that you’re being sensitive, but if you’re taking offense, share it privately with another classmate or someone in a leadership position. Say, “Can you read this and give me your feedback?” to get another opinion. Always tell someone about it, and if you’re not comfortable addressing it right away, find someone who can provide you with support and advice on how to handle it the next time.

To hear more from Renee Thompson, visit http://rtconnections.com/. To learn about our nursing programs, visit http://online.southuniversity.edu/area-of-study/nursing.aspx.

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Electronic Monitoring Trends in Criminal Justice

by South University
July 23, 2013

Electronic monitoring has comes a long way since 1983, when Judge Jack Love, inspired by a Spiderman comic, slapped an electronic monitor on a defendant and sentenced him to house arrest. By the late 1980s, the concept had grown in popularity, but many still had concerns on whether electronic monitoring was a step toward a civilized future or an undesirable invasion of privacy.

Scales of justice

Since then, electronic monitoring has spread rapidly across the country as crowded courts and over-crowded jails required creative solutions. At approximately one-sixth the cost of imprisonment, electronic monitoring is one alternative to jail time, and advances in technology give criminal justice professionals a variety of monitoring systems to choose from. Let's look at a few.

Types of Electronic Monitoring

RF Monitors: The most common monitor is the RF "ankle bracelet." The radio-frequency transmits a periodic signal to a base station attached to a phone line. If the offender gets too far from the receiver, it sends an alarm either to the monitoring contractor or to the probation officer.

GPS Monitors: Offenders can be tracked in real time through a GPS unit either in the ankle bracelet or in a cell phone accessory. Contractors or court service officers can log in and find the offender at any time. GPS can be combined with RF units for extra security.

Drug and Alcohol Monitors: Common in drunk driving and drug cases, the substance monitoring bracelets periodically sample the wearer's perspiration and then run it through a device similar to a breathalyzer. The results are transmitted to the service center and positive results reported to the court.

Cell Phone Breathalyzers: Courts and criminal justice programs also use portable breath-testers to monitor for alcohol usage. The system sends out a call and the client has a limited time to blow into the phone's attachment. The cell phone camera snaps the client's photo to prevent cheating. Results are calculated immediately and transmitted to the contacts programmed into the phone.

The Results

As courts seek to find alternatives to incarceration, especially for non-violent substance abuse violations, electronic monitoring will continue to grow and evolve with technology. At least in Florida, electronic monitoring may be working. In 2011, the National Institute of Justice published a study entitled “Electronic Monitoring Reduces Recidivism” that found "electronic monitoring reduces offenders' risk of failure by 31 percent" in the state of Florida. With these and other studies showing the efficacy of the units, it appears that electronic monitoring may be here to stay.

Sources
What is Electronic Home Monitoring? 
Not Just for the Drunk and Famous: Ankle Bracelets That Monitor AlcoholThe New York Times
Electronic Monitoring Reduces Recidivism, U.S. Department of Justice
Brief History of House Arrest and Electronic Monitoring, Northern Kentucky Law Review 
You're Grounded! How do you qualify for house arrest?

Related Posts
- Social Networks Triggering High Cyber Crime Levels
- Violent Crime Statistics Lowest in a Decade

Learn about your options for studying Criminal Justice at South University!

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A Culture of Smartphone Dependence

by South University
July 18, 2013

Do you ever feel dependent on your smartphone? If so, you're by no means alone. With instant access to text messages, emails, social media, games and practically everything else we could want, our obsession with smartphones is starting to resemble an addiction. People use their phones when they’re walking, driving, hanging out with friends, waiting for a bus, standing in line, and even using the restroom!

Man using smartphoneOver half of U.S. adults--56% to be exact--now own a smartphone, according to the Pew Research Center. And according to an IDC Research report, 18 to 44 year olds who own smartphones spend in excess of two hours a day communicating with people via messaging or social media on their phones. Even more staggering is the fact that almost 80% of this group checks their smartphone at least once within 15 minutes after waking up.

So what are the repercussions of this rampant obsession with our phones and should we describe this behavior as addictive?

In extreme cases, it can cause a slew of problems from social anxiety to car accidents. Researcher and clinical psychologist Lisa Merlo says she has observed many problematic behaviors among smartphone users, including aversion to real-life social interactions and general lack of awareness of their external environments and surroundings. Psychology Today also recently reported that smartphone usage may be contributing to a state of existence in which human communication is suffering. Those who constantly look to their smartphones for stimulation and connectedness may eventually lose their skills in face-to-face interactions.

Other studies have found that smartphone users exhibit signs of under stimulation and boredom when separated from their phones. New findings even suggest that technological addiction is just as serious as substance abuse. Though the consequences may not be as threatening to our health, these actions certainly do steal your time and energy with little payback.

Regardless of whether we label this behavior as addictive, psychologists suggest that we at least use smartphones a little more mindfully, taking caution to give ourselves a break—to occasionally unplug from the constant status updates and emails. Keep it out of reach or turn it off for a few hours a day. Little steps like these might help you to combat some of the negative consequences of smartphone overuse.

These researchers may now turn their attention toward the underlying cause of this phenomenon. In other words, instead of thinking about checking your smartphone as an addictive behavior, perhaps they will look more closely at what it is we are checking and what actually drives our need to do so.

Related Link: Learn about the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree program at South University.

Read More

Social Media More Addictive Than Booze and Cigs
Cell phone dependence ‘just as real as substance addiction’
Always Connected: How Smartphones and Social Keep Us Engaged
Smartphone dependency: a growing obsession with gadgets

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South University Announces Two New Programs

by South University
July 17, 2013

As part of our efforts to provide students with an education that prepares them to be leaders in their fields, South University introduces two new graduate degree programs, a Doctor of Nursing Practice and a Master of Science in Accounting.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree

Nursing Practice symbol

South University has exciting news for current students and graduates of our Master of Science in Nursing program. Now, you can continue your education with our new Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program.

Offered through South University's College of Nursing and Public Health, this program is designed to help working nurses enhance their clinical expertise and leadership skills and to prepare graduates to participate in developing future healthcare systems and influencing the next generation of nursing professionals.

The DNP program is offered in a blended format that includes online courses and a campus-based clinical component that allows you to gain experiential learning from faculty experts in the field. Read more about the program and our courses here!

The Master of Science in Accounting degree

Accounting

Offered as part of South University’s, College of Business, the Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) degree program is designed to equip students with the technical accounting expertise and leadership skills needed to pursue accounting careers within diverse organizations, both public and private.

So as to accommodate the needs of our students, our MSA program offers separate entry points depending on your previous college experience. Students with a bachelor’s degree in business enter directly into accounting courses, while students with a bachelor’s degree in a non-business field study key business concepts and skills before moving to the accounting coursework. Read more about the program and our courses here!

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