My Son’s First Phone

I was sitting in the bleachers of my son’s recent hockey practice when another parent came up to me and sheepishly asked: “Does your son have a phone?” “Funny you should ask,” I replied. Coincidentally enough, we gave our son his first full-functioning phone that very day. I don’t think this particular parent knows what…

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Will New Censorship Bills Increase Cyberbullying on Social Media?

Over the last few months, politicians in many states across America* have introduced and/or passed bills that allow individuals to file civil lawsuits against social media platforms that remove or restrict their online posts. In my home state of Florida, our governor recently signed such a bill into law (SB7072) to protect against “Silicon Valley…

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A Teen’s View of Social Media in 2021

Hey everyone! Meet my friend Lucia – she is the perfect person to give you an updated perspective on how teens are using social media in 2021, based on her personal experiences and the observations she’s made among her peer group. I think she deeply understands the draw and attraction of particular apps, and has…

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Deepfakes and Cyberbullying

Recently, a unique cyberbullying situation came to light involving a 50-year-old woman who targeted teenage girls in her Bucks County, Pennsylvania community last summer. The most interesting twist was not the vast age difference between the aggressor and the targets, but that fact that software was used to alter original images found online to make…

Snapchat Speech Could be Out-of-Bounds for School Discipline

B.L. was a promising cheerleader at Mahanoy Area High School in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania. She had been involved in the sport since elementary school, and as a freshman participated on the junior varsity team. Going into her sophomore year, she was hoping to make the varsity squad. To her disappointment, she was once again placed…

Inoculate Against Bullying by Chatting with your Children

I pick my son up from school most days, and from his first day of kindergarten I got into the habit of routinely asking him two specific questions: 1) “How was your day?” and 2) “Was there any bullying?” I’d ask the latter question with a conspiratorial raise of my brow—as if asking him if…

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StopTheB – A New Anti-Bullying Movement

Recently, I have become aware of a cool new global initiative called StopTheB. It is for young people, by young people – and was founded by two sisters, Vasundhara (22) and Riddhi Oswal (16). The main aim of StopTheB is not only to raise awareness and educate on the issues, context, and dynamics of bullying…

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Digital Resilience

We define digital resilience as “positive attitudes and actions in the face of interpersonal adversity online.” While adversity can arise from technological sources as well (e.g., hard drive crashes, forgotten passwords, vulnerable cloud accounts), we are primarily concerned with the social aspect of online interactions that induce anger, frustration, anxiety, fear, embarrassment, and similar outcomes.…

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Tween Social Media and Gaming in 2020

This month we have been highlighting results from our recent national survey of tweens, conducted with our friends at Cartoon Network. In this post, I want to focus on what we learned about the devices tweens have and the apps and games they use. Technology access and use by children is of interest to many,…

Tween Cyberbullying

Tween Cyberbullying in the United States

We have been exploring how young people use and misuse technology, with a primary focus on cyberbullying, for nearly two decades. In that time, though, we have almost exclusively studied middle and high school students (12- to 17-year-olds) and their caregivers. Earlier this year we were approached by Cartoon Network with questions about tween experiences…

Bullying and Cyberbullying: The Connection to Delinquency

Sameer and I have long been interested in the connection between cyberbullying and offline behaviors. Nearly fifteen years ago we published a paper which found preliminary evidence that youth who had been cyberbullied were more at risk to engage in school violence and delinquency. We framed this possible relationship from the perspective of General Strain…

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TikTok: Pros, Cons, and the Promise of Youth Empowerment

I trust by now that you’ve at least heard of TikTok, the fledgling short-form video app that has been around since 2016 but has exploded in popularity since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. With at least two billion downloads and at least 800 million active users (and probably way more), its reach seems to…

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Trauma, Bullying, and Cyberbullying

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the felt experiences of youth who have to deal with bullying at school or online, and how it may have a traumatic effect on some of them. One might argue that most bullying incidents don’t induce trauma, and that may be true if we view all forms and…

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Cyberbullying Videos to Use in Presentations

Sameer and I regularly give presentations to students about the importance of using technology safely and responsibly. Due to time and resource constraints, this is often done in large school assemblies. By themselves, assemblies likely don’t accomplish all that we would hope for in educating young people about these issues, but they can serve as…

Current Efforts to Curtail Teen Sexting Not Working

The current global pandemic has greatly constrained the way people are able to interact with each other. Schools in the U.S. moved to online learning mid-March and health safety guidelines continue to warn against gathering in groups outside of immediate households. As such, teens haven’t been able to hang out with their friends in hallways,…

Defund the Police? Implications for Cyberbullying Prevention

As someone who teaches criminal justice in a university setting to many future law enforcement officers, I was appalled by the treatment of George Floyd by members of the Minneapolis Police Department. Appalled, but not surprised. Regrettably, these incidents continue to happen at an alarming rate and the last month of worldwide protests have been…

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Digital Citizenship in 2020 and Beyond

Digital citizenship has been defined as helping youth “practice respectful and tolerant behaviors toward others” online. With the ubiquitous growth in personal device and social media use among youth – coupled with the adoption of more web-based technologies for education – many schools in the US and abroad have sought to teach digital citizenship practices…

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What the Best Bullying and Cyberbullying Assembly Speakers Do

I have recently shared the most important considerations for schools planning to host bullying assembly programs according to research. Now, I wanted to turn your attention to bullying and cyberbullying speakers themselves. As you may know from your own experiences, there are fantastic ones out there, but there are also many who leave a lot…

Bullying Assembly Programs - What Schools Need to Know Cyberbullying Research Center

Bullying Assembly Programs – What Schools Need to Know

For decades now, schools have been organizing assemblies to address bullying, substance abuse, and a variety of other student issues. Perhaps like me, you remember sitting through them during middle or high school school and – unfortunately – tuning out because you just didn’t feel like you could connect with the speaker. When it came…

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Eight Fun Student Engagement Ideas During COVID-19 and Beyond

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically affected the way educators across the world instruct, support, encourage, and relate to their students. We know this will continue until at least the end of the school year, and plans are being discussed for online learning through the summer and start of the fall in many communities across the…