Helping Families Manage Increased Screen Time During a Global Pandemic

The spread of the global COVID-19 pandemic has created plenty of anxieties for parents trying to balance work and family responsibilities amid ever-changing uncertainties. In this unprecedented time of hunkering down and holing up, parents are relying more than ever on technology to help carry the educational and recreational load. All across the world school…

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A Teen’s View of Social Media in 2020

I recently met a high schooler named Eve, and appreciated our conversations about all things related to social media, identity, loneliness, affirmation, and purpose. I thought she would be an ideal person to share “A Teen’s Perspective on Social Media in 2020” and she happily obliged. Below are her thoughts; we both hope they give…

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Digital Dating Abuse Among Teens: Our Research, and What We Must Do

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and we’re doing our part to help equip and empower young people to make wise decisions in their romantic relationships. Most recently, we published a new research paper entitled “Digital Dating Abuse Among a National Sample of U.S. Youth” in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence to illuminate how…

What Should Your School’s Bullying Policy Look Like?

We are regularly contacted by school administrators, board members, parents and others with questions about school bullying policies. In fact, a few months ago the principal at my son’s elementary school asked me to review their bullying policy. I am always happy to help, with the preemptive caveat that I am not a lawyer and…

It is Time to Teach Safe Sexting

It’s 2020. And it’s about time we rethink our approach to teen sexting. Justin and I wrote an piece that was just published in the Journal of Adolescent Health (currently free to download!) arguing that it is time to take a more thoughtful and comprehensive approach to sexting, by supplementing abstinence messages with information to…

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How Social Media Companies Should Combat Online Abuse

A new year is upon us. While we’ve made some progress in reducing cyberbullying, online hate, and other forms of abuse and toxicity, I think we can do better. Social media companies are often seen (and vilified) as accomplices to the harassment and victimization that happens on their platforms, and – admittedly – are an…

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Sextortion: More Insight Into the Experiences of Youth

Earlier this year, thirty-six-year old Barton Scott hacked into dozens of Snapchat accounts to access explicit images of 14 to 16 year-old girls. According to court records, he manipulated and subsequently coerced victims into turning over their passwords, giving him access to images not intended for public dissemination. He then used those private images as…

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RESTRICTing Bullying on Instagram

Last summer the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, announced that the platform would be taking more of a leadership role when it comes to tackling online bullying. With over a billion active users, they are well positioned to make an impact. In a message to users, he discussed some ways Instagram has been using technology…

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2019 eSafety Conference in Sydney

I just got back from my first-ever visit to Australia, and had an incredible time at the 2019 eSafety conference hosted by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner. The theme was “The Online World We Want,” and I was invited to discuss our 2019 research findings on bullying, cyberbullying, sexting, sextortion, and digital self-harm among…

Youth Sexting in the US: New Paper in Archives of Sexual Behavior

We have a new paper that has just been published by the academic journal Archives of Sexual Behavior. As far as we can tell, it is the first article to report national-level sexting data from middle and high school students in the United States since 2011. It is based on our fall 2016 data. Below…

School Bullying Rates Increase by 35% from 2016 to 2019

Sameer and I just finished collecting data from a national sample of nearly 5,000 12-17 year-olds across the United States. And we’re super excited to dig into the data! This is our thirteenth formal survey of students over the last seventeen years (involving more than 25,000 adolescents in total) and the second nationally-representative study we…

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Addressing Religious-based Bullying

Recently, I was a part of a conference held by Facebook and Instagram in Washington, DC. The conference endeavored to bring together members of faith-based NGOs to identify solutions to address bullying and cyberbullying by one’s religion. Overall, it was a productive, energizing few hours together, and I was left feeling very inspired about all…

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Inaugural Issue of the International Journal of Bullying Prevention

The first issue is finally out. Hooray! And it’s freely available for you to download! Issues will be coming out quarterly, and so we’re cranking them out from now on. I’ve written about the goals and intentions of the journal here, and how it fills a huge gap in the existing knowledgebase by providing our…

The Challenge of Understanding the Momo Challenge

A new viral internet craze has created widespread fear and panic among parents, educators, and law enforcement. And like most of the others that came before it, the truth is more complicated (and less threatening) than the hype. I first became aware of the so-called “Momo Challenge” in July of 2018. In short, the idea…

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Cyberbullying and helping youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

I’ve recently discussed the susceptibility of youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to be cyberbullied, outlining a number of reasons that contribute to such victimization.  When it comes to suggestions as to how we can help these kids, a few things stand out in my mind. First, it is really important to try to understand…

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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…

Cyberbullying Victimization Rates by Race, Sex, and Age

Our 2016 survey involved a large enough sample of American middle and high school students that it allows us to extrapolate rates of victimization for various demographic subgroups. For this particular chart, we examined cyberbullying victimization within the last 30 days for three characteristics: race, sex, and age. Even with a sample of more than…

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Thoughts on the Final Report of the Federal Commission on School Safety

The Final Report of the Federal Commission on School Safety came out this week, and it has created quite a stir among educators and civil rights advocates. I’m just not sure the 180-page document will do much good. For those of you not familiar, the Commission was brought together after the high school shooting in…

Social Media Companies, Reporting, and Secondary Victimization

One of the complaints I’ve heard most often from educators, parents, and youth when discussing cyberbullying is that social media companies are slow, inept, or unwilling to respond to the formal “reports” they send in through the site or app. This is not only infuriating, but also depressing because it contributes to a feeling of…