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A rare study focused on convicted white collar criminals and their ability to reintegrate with society after their release from prison. Findings gathered by researchers revealed that such offenders continue to pay for their crimes in light of the detrimental effects borne by archived online publications associated with their crime.

Researchers from the University of Portsmouth (UP), a public educational institution in Hampshire, England concluded that criminal punishments now have enduring effects. Primarily because the stigma of their criminal conviction is kept alive by the digital publications, which prevents them from securing better paying jobs.

The lead author of the study, Dr David Shepherd, a Senior Research Associate at the University of Portsmouth’s Institute of Criminal Justice Studies reported that

”Their analysis of digital media indicate that even stories carried by the local press create a so-called "personal digital criminal legacy" (PDCL) that produces a sustained destructive vitality. The resulting stigmatisation causes widespread and enduring detrimental impacts not only on offenders, but on their families as well. That is not excluding those and the families of those who have been wrongly accused."

In conclusion, the University of Portsmouth study presented indications that the power of the Internet poses a major challenge to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974), particularly the confidentiality provisions of the law.

The UP Researchers Interviewed Participants Whose Digital Identity Have Been Permanently Criminalised

As it is, digital media possess archive, search and share features that ensure the crime perpetrated by criminal offenders will stick to their online identity even long after they had served their sentence. The analysis shows that in ending up with a PDCL, such digital media features tend to sustain the PDCL’s detrimental and distressful impact, which continuously disrupt the lives of affected offenders and their families.

Has America turned into a lonely and depressing world? There is a growing observation that it has and has given birth to a new "hidden epidemic," loneliness..

This new kind of epidemic threatens over 40 percent (40%) of America's adult sector, who have voiced and reported that they feel lonely. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that about a third of America’s elderly, in ages ranging between 65 and 85, are living alone. However, a study conducted in 2018 revealed that even the youths are at risk of experiencing the negative effects of loneliness.

Loneliness can heighten stress levels, adversely affect mental and physical health, as well as impact longevity; all of which can drive people to binge eating, excessive drinking and/or drug abuse. That is, if they cannot find the one true remedy that they seek, having a genuine conversation with someone who really cares.

Mobile lifestyles are keeping friends and family farther apart. Despite being virtually connected any time of day, and regardless of the distance between people, reports have it that the number of Americans who have voiced feelings of loneliness has doubled since the 1980s.

Being Alone Together

Sociologist Sherry Turkle, the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, describes this new kind of loneliness as being “alone together”

Holder of a Ph.D. in Sociology and Personality Psychology at Harvard University, Professor Turkle has conducted studies that revealed how electronic devices have actually created a distance between people, even as they live together. Virtual connections, cannot replace face-to-face contact, as it allows people to hide from others.

She says that being alone is not the only, or even the most common cause of loneliness. Loneliness can be experienced even when a person is surrounded by people. In most cases, people may be living together, but it is not the lack of relationships that is making them lonely. Professor Turkle explained that it is the lack of depth and meaning in relationships.

People gather in public places, in parks, malls, airports and shopping centers but the environment has become sterile; because more often than not, the people congregating in them are tethered to their mobile device. In many cases, even those who are together do not speak much to each other.
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American political scientist and Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, wrote in his famous but controversial novel “Bowling Alone” that

”loss of civic involvement is destroying communities even while people live in the middle of it….” “there has been a voluntary withdrawal from community that has left people disoriented and lonely.”

“Bowling Alone” was published in 2000, the dreaded Y2K that saw the beginnings of widespread virtual connections. Professor Putnam actually noted the declining social intercouse between Americans who used to enrich their social lives through civil engagement.

Advancements in technology did not help reverse Professor Putnam's observations, even if it allowed people to engage and interact remotely and virtually. Apparently, the speed and the ease by which people communicate made many less genuinely interested; getting lonelier in seeing proofs of how life seems to be just passing them by.

Recently, the name Sackler affixed to a major wing of The Louvre museum in Paris, has been taken down. According to officials at The Louvre, it was because the said name belonging to the art philanthropist family that funded the refurbishment of the rooms in that section, has reached the end of a 20-year legal term for its use as the name of the rooms.

The action taken by The Louvre would have been regarded as a standard practice, except the name was taken down only after a protest was held by Nan Goldin, an American art photographer and activist. Apparently the name of the donors belonged to Mortimer and Theresa Sackler, owners of Purdue Pharma, the pharmaceutical company that amassed a fortune out of the production and sale of the highly addictive painkiller known as OxyContin.

A day before The Louvre removed the Sackler name, Nan Goldin and activist members of the Paris-based campaign group called PAIN or Prescription Addiction Intervention Now, had waded into the fountains of The Louvre; whilst carrying red banners written with “Take down the Sackler name” as their protest message. .

At the time the protest was held on 1 July, The Louvre still had on display the Sackler name on its website and on the museum walls of 12 rooms containing eastern antiquities, and key pieces of The Louvre's Persian collection.

Although Goldin and the PAIN group acknowledged that donations are important to the functioning of museums, they assert that such donations must also be ethical. The American art activist explained by saying,

“Museums are for the public and the artists; they do not belong to donors. These are supposed to be places where people can receive a higher form of education experienced through art, and not a place where they come into contact with dirty money.”

Satisfied that The Louvre took action by taking down the Sackler name, Goldin expressed satisfaction by saying direct action works. What is important is that the name has been scrubbed out of institutions and museums. She pointed out that The Louvre being the most visited museum in the world, should have been the first to remove the name from its walls.

When asked by the press if the museum removed the Sackler name in reaction to the protests held by Goldin and the PAIN activists, museum officials did not make any further comment.

What’s Wrong with the Sackler Name and The Family’s Pharma Business?

Not many are aware that the family gained most of its wealth from the blockbuster prescription painkiller, which their Purdue Pharma branded as OxyContin. The pill, which was first launched in1996 is said to be stronger than morphine and has been pinpointed as the cause of the current opioid crisis.

Termed crisis because the OxyContin drug is said to be causing the deaths of more than 100 people everyday in America, and has turned millions into drug addicts. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is costing the US government an estimated $78 billion plus a year.

People at the Purdue Pharma company, had previously admitted in a 2007 criminal lawsuit that they had misbranded the painkiller. Thereafter a wave of lawsuits have been filed in courts, assailing the deception involved in covering up the unsafe use of OxyContin,

Still many, have noted that none of the Sackler family members have been named in the lawsuits. Presumably, the family’s philanthropic role in the field of art and education in major institutions like The Louvre and several others, has helped keep the family name out of courts. Rob Reich, professor of ethics at Stanford University, calls such philanthropic acts as “reputation laundering”

Peer groups are social clusters distinguished by social status, shared interests of members and the age range of the individuals comprising each cluster. Sports teams, school organizations, clubs, bands, classmates, or business associates are some examples of peer groups. Every peer group maintains a set of rules, hierarchies and standards of behavior and expectations.

Peer Group Identification

 

Identifying with one or more peer groups is an important aspect of socialization, particularly during stages of childhood and adolescence. A child’s peer group may be friends and contemporaries within the neighborhood, presumably of the same gender and age. Ideally, belonging to one, provides a child with opportunities to take part in productive activities that benefit all members of the group. More importantly, a child is able to form relationships and interact with others without parental or adult supervision.

The Learning Aspects of Peer Group Socialization

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Being in the company of peers also enable children to experience conflicts as well as work out ways to solve them through cooperation. Competition may also arise between peers, which members eventually learn to handle in order to stay part of the group..

As a child grows older, he or she becomes more selective of peer groups in which he or she wants to belong. Selection is often based from values and some sets of standard imposed or acquired from his or her family. In some cases, adolescents seek peers that are exactly the opposite of what their family regard as good influences; usually out of curiosity; or in problematic family relationships, as a form of rebellion or call for attention.

 

The quality of family interaction therefore plays an important role in shaping a child’s ability to identify with the right kind of peer groups. The family serves as the first source of information and examples of behavior that make a growing child choose to socialize with one peer group over another.