Digital Self-Harm and Suicidality among Middle and High School Students

Sameer and I have been interested in digital self-harm for almost a decade now. We first became aware of it when we learned of the suicide of Hannah Smith, a 14-year-old girl from England who ended her own life after being mistreated online. It was ultimately determined that many of the hurtful comments directed to…

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Can Empathy Reduce Cyberbullying Based on Race or Religion?

I have been increasing concerned about rising levels of hate speech, hate crimes, racist bullying, and xenophobia – especially when considering how these behaviors online are linked to violence offline against marginalized groups. It isn’t just alarming, it’s frightening – especially being a minority and considering what my children may have to deal with while…

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Child Grooming and the Metaverse – Issues and Solutions

Arguably one of the biggest concerns of the metaverse, especially to law enforcement, parents, guardians, and caregivers of children, is the potential for pedophilia, online grooming, and child sexual exploitation. To be sure, the media is quick to focus on this hazard with any new environment (offline or online) that allows for adults and youth…

teen's view of social media in 2022

A Teen’s View of Social Media in 2022

Hey all, let me introduce you to Emily, a student I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with over the past year. I asked her to give you all an updated perspective on how she (and her peers) are using the most popular apps out there, and provide some self-reflective observations that can clue you into…

ReThink the Internet: How to Make the Digital World a LOT LESS SUCKY

I recently visited with Trisha Prabhu, Internet Safety advocate and social entrepreneur, to discuss her new book intended to help youth stop hate, lead with kindness, be an upstander, and enjoy their online experiences. I also read an advance copy, and I highly recommend it. Let’s get to our conversation! Trisha, it is so good…

metaverse harms and risks

The Metaverse: Opportunities, Risks, and Harms

We have all been hearing about the metaverse much more frequently over the last few years, and consideration of its promises and perils has picked up tremendous pace in recent months. It is being designed by multiple companies to further connect us to each other and to the experiences we love. And it’s doing so…

Jordan DeMay

Michigan Teen Latest Casualty of Sextortion

Seventeen-year-old Jordan DeMay seemed to have it all going for him: he was handsome, athletic, and was finishing his senior year at Marquette Senior High School in Marquette, Michigan. He was Homecoming King. When a pretty girl he didn’t know messaged him on Instagram and asked to exchange intimate images, he was skeptical. After a…

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The Role of Parents in Preventing Bullying and Cyberbullying

Parents and guardians have always had a powerful influence on the behaviors of children, while research is clear that peers tend to have more sway during the teenage years. That said, our new research published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies identifies that certain positive parenting practices have a strong effect on both…

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Cyberbullying Statistics 2021 | Age, Gender, Sexual Orientation, and Race

Provides updated statistics on cyberbullying from a national study on US youth by age, gender, sexual orientation, and race. In May-June 2021, we collected new data from a nationally representative sample of 2,546 US youth between the ages of 13 and 17 to better understand their positive and negative experiences online. This is the type…

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Flash Mobs and Lip-Dubs to Combat Bullying

I was talking with an educator last week about enlisting students to help create a healthy, thriving, and fun school climate, and specifically brought up the idea of flash mobs and lip-dubs. Many of our students have talents and abilities which we should really tap in order to help us promote positive attitudes and behaviors…

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Bullying During the COVID-19 Pandemic

New research shows that school bullying dropped dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic while cyberbullying remained stable. One of the questions we have been asked most often over the last 18 months is whether bullying has gotten better or worse since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Early on, there was a concern that cyberbullying incidents…

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.…

tweens and social media

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…