6 out of 10 young Canadians admit to texting while walking

Most Canadians will be enjoying an extra hour of sleep this weekend as clocks ‘fall back’ to daylight standard time. However, the extra morning light means dusk comes sooner making the afternoon drive riskier for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

Time-changes are known as a dangerous period for pedestrian and cycling injuries and fatalities. In autumn, it becomes riskier for pedestrians and cyclists to travel between 4:30 and 7 p.m. as they and drivers adjust to lower light visibility. A Carnegie Mellon University study found pedestrians were three times more likely to be killed in traffic collisions after the fall switch.

Desjardins Insurance promotes education and awareness to help keep road users of all ages safe, including the most vulnerable: pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. According to the latest national survey from Desjardins Insurance, almost two thirds of Canadians say that pedestrians, cyclists and motorists all have a roll to play to ensure safety on our roads.

Distracted Walking

3 out of 10 respondents admitted to texting while walking near a public road, which is cause for concern, but for Canadians aged between 16 and 24 that number jumps to 6 out of 10 (61%). For jaywalking, 47% of 16-24-year-olds reported doing so compared to the average of all age groups at 38%, and when it comes to wearing headphones and listening to music near a public street, 57% of 16-24-year-olds admitted to doing so compared to the average of 26%.

Responsibility

When asked ‘Who is responsible for pedestrian and cyclist safety on the road?’, a majority (64%) believe it is the responsibility of all parties (cyclists, pedestrians and drivers) to ensure they are obeying traffic laws, being courteous to others and not walking or driving while distracted.

Respondents also stated that municipal governments have a responsibility in ensuring road safety (56%) with 72% indicating that city planning, and updated infrastructure play an essential role in keeping pedestrians and cyclists safer.

Vision Zero

Since 2008, Desjardins has partnered with Parachute (www.parachutecanada.org) to bring more awareness to transport-related incidents, one of the leading causes of injury and death in Canada. Each year 2000 Canadians are killed and 165,000 are injured using our roads. Parachute is committed to reducing these incidents to zero by adopting the strategies of Vision Zero. (www.parachutevisionzero.ca).

Additional Resources

Desjardins Insurance sponsored the following fact sheet compiled by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (www.tirf.ca) which examines the degree of fatalities among young vulnerable road users in Canada from 2000 to 2010 – http://tirf.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Young-Vulnerable-Road-Users-5.pdf

Infographic

About the Survey

The online survey, conducted in March 2018, polled 3,020 respondents of driving age across Canada.

Desjardins Group
Desjardins Group is the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and the fifth largest cooperative financial group in the world, with assets of $290.1 billion. It has been rated one of the Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt. To meet the diverse needs of its members and clients, Desjardins offers a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses through its extensive distribution network, online platforms and subsidiaries across Canada. Counted among the world’s strongest banks according to The Banker magazine, Desjardins has one of the highest capital ratios and credit ratings in the industry.

Parachute
Parachute is Canada’s national charity dedicated to reducing the devastating impact of preventable injuries. Injury is the No. 1 killer of Canadians ages 1 to 44, where one child (0-19 years) dies every nine hours. The financial toll is staggering, with injury costing the Canadian economy $27 billion a year. Through education and advocacy, Parachute works to save lives and create a Canada free of serious injuries. For more information, visit us at parachutecanada.org and follow us on Twitter Facebook Instagram and LinkedIn.

SOURCE Desjardins Group

Facebook beyond Facebook? Instagram, Messenger step up

By Barbara Ortutay

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK _ When Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012, it seemed like a big gamble for an unproven little app. Six years later, that little app _ along with Messenger and WhatsApp are serving as Facebook’s safety net for a future that could find its flagship service on the sidelines.

Sure, Facebook reigns in social media today, and this is not likely to change soon. Still, amid the company’s seemingly endless troubles over elections meddling, misinformation, privacy lapses, hacking and hate speech, the idea that Facebook may not always be on top has begun to take hold.

“Facebook could collapse,” said David Kirkpatrick, who wrote a 2010 book on Facebook’s early history.

In an interview, he said the elections manipulations issue “could get so terrifying that advertisers could start to back away. That’s nowhere near happening now, but it could happen.”

That is, as Facebook stops being a virtual watercooler for friendly conversation, but a lair for trolls and misinformation _ advertisers might find the service too dangerous to showcase laundry detergent and shoes.

For now, Facebook is a social and advertising powerhouse. It has 2.23 billion users, a number that’s still growing at a healthy pace outside of the U.S. Wall Street analysts project Facebook’s 2018 revenue will top $55 billion. While the company doesn’t break out revenue among its apps, eMarketer estimates that Instagram will bring in 16 per cent of Facebook’s advertising revenue this year and 25 per cent by 2020. (The research firm does not have estimates for Messenger ads, which are still new and nascent, and WhatsApp, which doesn’t have ads yet.)

“It really speaks to the fact that advertisers love Instagram,” eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson said. “It has the appeal of being a generally positive environment.”

In fact, Instagram is becoming the top social media service for many brands to interact with consumers, said Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CEO of the social media marketing firm Socialbakers. So even though these companies are reaching a smaller audience than Facebook, these people are “engaging,” or interacting, a lot more with the advertisers, he said.

Facebook is working hard to ensure that Messenger and later, WhatsApp, become viable businesses as well. On Tuesday, Facebook announced plans to make its Messenger app simpler and easier to use. But the redesign also makes it clear that messages from businesses _ and ads _ are becoming increasingly important. Such messages are now front and centre alongside messages with friends and other individuals.

The new Messenger features a “dark mode” that lets people switch to white text on a black background. It has fewer “tabs” or words and icons to tap to get to different sections in the app. The previous version had nine, including “messages,” ”active” to show ongoing conversations, ”groups,“ ”games“ and a ”discover“ icon to find bots to chat with for everything from the weather to horoscopes to shopping. The new version has just three: ”chats,“ ”people“ and ”discover“ to connect with businesses, follow the news or play games.

Stan Chudnovsky, head of product for messaging at Facebook, said the primary intent wasn’t to elevate messaging with businesses. But he said that “when people spend more and more time communicating with each other on a platform, inevitably that is where businesses need to be. It’s almost like print happened and then businesses needed to be on print.”

Facebook, of course, is working hard to nudge people and businesses in this direction, convincing them that chatting on Messenger is more efficient than, say, emailing, calling or tweeting at  an airline, a clothing store or even your bank.

One thing Facebook has always understood is the importance of human connections and interaction. Chudnovsky considers one-on-one communications a “basic human need.” Considering that people use Messenger, and not the main Facebook service, for such interactions, does this mean Messenger is more important than Facebook?

“We don’t take a position on what is more important,” Chudnovsky said.

Still, considering that people no longer need a Facebook account to use Messenger, maybe some day it will be. After all, people (especially younger ones) are using Facebook less frequently, even as they flock to Instagram and its messaging services. A Pew Research Center study recently found that just over half of teens use Facebook, while 72 per cent use Instagram.

“The idea has always been not to replace Facebook, but to add to it,” said Nate Elliott, head of the market research firm Nineteen Insights. “But now that Facebook’s reputation has taken a beating, I’m sure that they see it as a very nice insurance policy.”

Poll: Teens say social media makes them feel better

By Barbara Ortutay

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK _ Today’s teens are constantly on their smartphones, many check social media “constantly” and prefer texting over face-to-face communication.

But a new poll finds that these same teens also say that social media has a positive effect on their lives, helping them feel more confident, less lonely and less depressed.

The poll was released Monday by Common Sense Media, a San Francisco-based non-profit group focused on kids’ use of media and technology. It found that 89 per cent of teenagers have their own smartphone. That’s up from 41 per cent in 2012, the last time the survey was conducted.

But while 2012’s teens were all over Facebook, the age group’s presence on the social network has plummeted in the past six years. Only 15 per cent of teens now say Facebook is their main social network. In 2012, 68 per cent did.

Today, 44 per cent of teens say their primary social network is Snapchat, making it the most popular social media app, followed by Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) at 22 per cent.

Among the survey’s other findings:

_ The majority of teens 59 per cent said social media makes no difference in how depressed they feel. Twenty-nine per cent, meanwhile, said it makes them feel less depressed and 11 per cent said it makes them more depressed. Thirty-nine per cent said it makes them feel less lonely and 13 per cent, more lonely.

_ Thirty-five per cent of teens said texting is their favourite way to communicate with friends, compared with 33 per cent in 2012. Only 32 per cent said talking in person is their preferred method of communication, down from 49 per cent among 2012 teens.

_ Almost three-quarters of teens said they believe that tech companies manipulate people into spending more time on their devices and more than half said using social media often distracts them from homework.

_ Sixty-four per cent of teen social-media users said they come across racist, sexist or homophobic or other hateful content either sometimes or often.

_ Sixteen per cent of teens use social media “almost constantly,” while 19 per cent never do.

_ Thirteen per cent of teenagers said they have been cyberbullied. Nearly a quarter, meanwhile, has tried to help a person who has been cyberbullied by talking to them or reporting it to an adult.

_ More than half said parents worry too much about social media on the other hand, 46 per cent think parents would be a lot more worried if they knew what “actually happens” online.

The survey was conducted in March and April among 1,141 13- to 17-year-olds nationwide. The margin of error is 3.4 percentage points.

Texters who distract drivers could be held liable in accidents: insurance expert

By Peter Rakobowchuk

THE CANADIAN PRESS

MONTREAL _ An insurance and legal expert says texters could be held liable for any damages if they message someone they know is driving and that person has an accident.

“There’s an increasing public safety issue of operators of vehicles who are distracted while driving,” lawyer Jordan Solway said in a recent interview.

“And if you contribute in the same way as if you’re in the vehicle, and you interfere with their driving of the vehicle, you could be held responsible for that injured third party.”

Solway, vice-president of claim at Travelers Canada, pointed to a New Jersey court ruling from 2013 that said the sender of a text who causes a driver to become distracted and have an accident may be held liable.

The case involved an 18-year-old driver’s girlfriend who texted him about 25 seconds before his pickup truck crossed a median and seriously injured a motorcyclist and his wife. Both bikers lost their left legs as a result of the 2009 accident.

Solway said there have been no similar cases in Canada yet, but he believes it’s just a matter of time.

He compares it to what happens when a bar owner or the host of a party has to take responsibility for someone who is drinking, becomes intoxicated and gets into a vehicle.

“It’s analogous you’re putting someone in a position where they could cause harm to themselves or a third party,” Solway said.

Travelers Canada also commissioned a recent online survey that delved into what may be distracting drivers.

The No. 1 reason may not be surprising.

Thirty-one per cent said it was because they have family obligations that require constant attention. By gender, 40 per cent of females gave that reason, while it was 23 per cent among males.

In Quebec, 23 per cent cited family obligations, while in Ontario the figure was 41 per cent.

When it came to other reasons, 27 per cent said they didn’t want to miss something important, another 14 per cent said they always wanted to be available for work and eight per cent said they were afraid of upsetting the boss if they didn“t answer.

“I think it’s a (consequence) unfortunately of living in a highly connected world where, if someone doesn’t respond immediately to an email or a text, your concern is they are ignoring you,” Solway noted.

The Harris Poll was conducted March 9-12 and involved 948 Canadian drivers aged 18 and over.

An Insurance Bureau of Canada spokesman says companies must implement policies to discourage drivers from texting _ and individuals who may be texting them _ while they are on the road.

“The aspect of determining liability or fault in cases lke that would rest with the courts,” Pete Karageorgos said in an interview.

“It has to be a whole host of instances in terms of not just the act of texting, but also the act of reading the text or responding or having that phone in your hand.”

He said some insurers are seeing more instances of rear-end-type collisions which typically happen when the driver in the back isn’t paying attention.

“It’s a concern that we share as an industry because that will impact premiums,” Karageorgos added.

But Quebec’s automobile insurance board provided some encouraging statistics involving drivers who violated the law, which prohibits the use of a hand-held device while driving.

The highest number was in 2013 when there were close to 68,000 infractions, including 19,000 that involved drivers between the ages of 25 and 34.

But in 2016, the overall total dropped to 46,369. For the 25-34 age group, it decreased to just more than 14,000

The lowest number was in 2008 when there were about 18,250 violations.

Loreena McKennitt is leaving Facebook, but other musicians say it’s not so easy

Loreena McKennitt is leaving Facebook, but other musicians say it’s not so easy

By David Friend

THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO _ Folk singer Claire Coupland doesn’t love Facebook, but when it comes to promoting her music career she’s almost married to the social media goliath.

Her relationship with the platform is fraught with her questions about its true effectiveness, but like most musicians the Toronto-based performer sticks around. She shows up nearly every week to post something that she hopes will attract new listeners and keep the loyal fans entertained, like a new song or recent photo.

And despite concerns over Facebook data breaches, she hasn’t seriously considered joining the chorus of users who severed ties with the platform and deleted their profiles. It seems like most musicians haven’t.

“Everything’s there. It’s all connected already, so I don’t know if it’s wise to get rid of a Facebook fan page,” she said. “I would never get rid of mine.”

Coupland, like many independent musicians early in their careers, is always looking for ways to promote her music without spending a lot of money. Facebook is cheap to use and can potentially reach millions of listeners.

But it’s also problematic for people concerned about privacy and the wider-reaching impact of data exchange between Cambridge Analytica and Facebook that went undetected for some time.

Facebook told investors last week that known data breaches might only be the tip of the iceberg. The company filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission disclosed expectations that “additional incidents of misuse of user data or other undesirable activity by third parties” could emerge in the coming months.

That puts artists in a tough spot where most believe they can’t afford to leave the platform, but they don’t necessarily like it either.

The Darcys’ Wes Marskell holds those mixed feelings for Facebook, calling it an “overarching menace,” but a necessary tool for musicians. He balances his dislike for the platform, and its privacy concerns, against his belief that “everyone else is collecting that sort of data” on its users too.

But as a career musician, he said it offers valuable fan insight that can help determine which cities to play and what resonates with listeners.

“It is helpful to understand who your audience is, who’s participating and what they like,” he said.

But Facebook’s attractive features make it impossible to follow the lead of singer Loreena McKennitt, who recently announced plans to delete her Facebook profile over concerns for the privacy of her fans. The Manitoba-born performer, known for her 1997 hit “The Mummers’ Dance,” has more than 546,000 followers on the platform.

McKennitt said after details of the data exchange between Cambridge Analytica and Facebook were recently made public, she had to make a decision.

“As a business owner and a citizen I became very concerned that Facebook was offside,” she said in a recent interview.

“I’d rather stop partaking in an infrastructure that I know is very compromised.”

McKennitt’s plan to dump the platform, which she says she’ll do on June 1, has been met with mixed reactions from her fans.

Some say the singer is being hypocritical by publicly expressing concerns over privacy, but still using Facebook to promote her new album in the weeks before she officially closes her account. Others are unhappy they’re losing an easy way to learn about the singer’s upcoming tour dates.

Leaving Facebook is a privilege as a musician, McKennitt acknowledged.

“There are many artists whose Facebook page is probably managed by their label,” she said. “They may not even have a choice about whether they can shut it down or not.”

“I’m also lucky from the standpoint that I’m kind of a legacy artist,” she added. “I could retire tomorrow and I’d be fine.”

Younger acts are operating in a totally different social media world, said Rebecca Webster, president of music publicity firm Webster Media Consulting Inc.

“Definitely Facebook is a place where artists need to be,” she said. “I always think of it as the water cooler.”

But Webster doesn’t see Facebook holding any sort of unwieldy position against its social media competitors. It’s an instrument in the digital toolbox alongside Instagram, Twitter and all the others, she said.

“Media is impermanent, and it has been for quite a while, and the only way you survive is by transitioning and changing,” she said.

“You have to keep learning and finding where the people are.”

Tamara Campbell believes music fans generally find it valuable to know where their favourite artists will be. It’s one of the reasons why the Toronto-based music publicist encourages independent artists to invest in a website.

She said many new artists often don’t think about the value of a permanent home base when they’re trying to cater to every trendy social media platform.

“Having your own URL is almost like having your own social insurance number,” she said.

“It doesn’t matter if you have a million followers, if you can’t sell a $10 album it’s worthless to you, if that’s what you’re looking for.”

Coupland is trying to keep the big picture in mind as she navigates her social media future. The folk singer recently began to make plans to update her website with flashier graphics. She’s also forging ahead with the proven success of another traditional digital approach _ the email newsletter.

“If they come to a show, I get their email address,” Coupland said. “That’s the one thing that’s pretty tried and true for me.”

She also strongly believes in the value of word-of-mouth.

“If you make something really great, people will find it and they’ll share it,” she said.

International probe shuts down cyberattack provider

By Mike Corder

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

THE HAGUE, Netherlands _ In a major hit against cybercriminals, an international police operation has taken down what investigators called the world’s biggest provider of potentially crippling Distributed Denial of Service attacks.

On Wednesday, police hailed the success of the operation Wednesday, saying that a joint investigation led by Dutch and British experts and supported by European Union police agency Europol led to the arrest on Tuesday of the administrators of the website webstresser.org.

Europol said webstresser.org had more than 136,000 registered users and racked up 4 million attacks on banks, governments, police forces and the gaming industry. Distributed Denial of Service, or DDoS, attacks attempt to make online services unavailable by overwhelming them with traffic from multiple sources.

“It used to be that in order to launch a DDoS attack, one had to be pretty well versed in internet technology,” Europol said in a statement. “That is no longer the case.”

The agency said that registered users could pay a fee of as little as 15 euros ($18) per month to rent its services and launch cyberattacks.

Administrators of the service were arrested Tuesday in Britain, Croatia, Canada and Serbia, Europol said. The illegal service was shut down and computers and other infrastructure seized in the Netherlands, the United States and Germany.

Croatian police said that a 19-year-old Croat, whom they described as the owner of webstresser.org, was detained on charges of “serious criminal acts against computer systems, programs and data” that carry a possible sentence of one to eight years in prison.

Gert Ras, head of the Dutch police’s High Tech Crime unit, said the operation should send a clear warning to users of websites like webstresser.

“Don’t do it,” Ras said. “By tracking down the DDoS service you use, we strip you of your anonymity, hand you a criminal record and put your victims in a position to claim back damages from you.”

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