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Cyberbullicide – What We Can Do

We’ve been discussing cyberbullying and suicide recently, and even though cases are isolated and rare, the link is worth our attention.  First, it reiterates the fact that all forms of adolescent peer aggression must be taken seriously both at school and at home, and that online harassment can have grave real-world implications.  It also follows…

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2009 in Review

This has been a very busy year for us at the Cyberbullying Research Center.  We continued our research activities and expanded our outreach and educational efforts.  We enjoyed meeting many of you through our travels throughout the United States.  We did about 50 presentations, workshops, or assemblies for thousands of youth, parents, educators, and others…

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Cyberbullying on Wiki Sites

Recently, I spoke about cyberbullying on Wiki-type sites at the annual Answers.com conference in Atlanta, Georgia.  Let me first say that the Answers.com community (employees of the company and volunteer supervisors and contributors) is top-notch.  I absolutely loved being with them, witnessing their contagious passion for improving user experience on the site, and hearing their…

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Cyberbullying and the Right to Feel Safe at School

Evidently, the waters of cyberbullying case law are still murky.  Due to variability in opinions and perspectives across jurisdictions and adjudicators, clear precedent is still sometimes elusive.  Consider the following case from late 2009 from a California District Court (08-cv-03824, J.C. v. Beverly Hills Unified School District), in which an eighth-grader was cyberbullied through the…

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Sexting – education, research, and multidisciplinary prevention and response

Earlier this week, I participated in a Summit organized by the National District Attorneys Association and the National Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse with a variety of professionals in the child protection arena. While other attendees focused in on the problem of child sex trafficking, my small group concentrated on the phenomenon of…

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Cyber Safety Summit: A Model for Successful Collaboration and Coordination

I was in Naperville, Illinois about two weeks ago for a cyberbullying summit sponsored by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.  The audience was comprised of select stakeholders in education, law enforcement, and technology industry.  The most relevant companies and constituencies were there.  Attorney General Lisa Madigan was on hand to kick the event off with…

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Coming soon – Facebook Privacy and Security Upgrades!

If you’ve logged into Facebook over the last few hours, you may have noticed an open letter from its founder, Mark Zuckerberg.  The letter discusses forthcoming improvements to better safeguard the experience and participation of users on the site.  We at the Cyberbullying Research Center highly approve of these changes, and believe they will assist…

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Meep

An interesting controversy has emerged in the last couple of weeks over the word “meep.”  What does meep even mean?  Frankly, it doesn’t really matter.  In fact there are numerous and varied definitions of, and uses for, the word meep.  The most frequent use among adolescents, it seems, is to replace an inappropriate word with…

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Faces Behind the Statistics

I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to present alongside Tina Meier last week at a cyberbullying event in Detroit sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League.  I have spoken to Tina on the phone several times in the past, but this was the first time that I was able to meet her in person.  By…

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Cyber-Mentors – an online anti-bullying support system of youth for youth

I really liked this article on “Cyber-Mentors”, a relatively new program from BeatBullying (based in the UK) that is gaining traction. Justin and I believe strongly in the power of older students and youth to provide guidance and advice to younger students as it relates to peer conflict (especially the online variant). Many of the…

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Cyber-Mentors – an online anti-bullying support system of youth for youth

I really liked this article on “Cyber-Mentors”, a relatively new program from BeatBullying (based in the UK) that is gaining traction. Justin and I believe strongly in the power of older students and youth to provide guidance and advice to younger students as it relates to peer conflict (especially the online variant). Many of the…

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Cyberbullying Legislation – Accountability in the AWARE Act

This article discusses two bills currently being considered on the American legislative landscape: Representative Linda Sanchez’s (D-CA) “Megan Meier Cyber Bullying Prevention Act” (H.R. 1966) and Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s (D-FL) “Adolescent Web Awareness Requires Education Act” (H.R. 3630). Justin and I are personally a big fan of Schultz’s AWARE Act, because education is the…

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School Facebook Pages

I’ve noticed a lot of schools now have their own Facebook pages.  Here are some examples: Ramblewood Middle School; Da Vinci Arts Middle School;  Lincoln High School.  These pages are generally created by teachers, school administrators, or school counselors as a virtual gathering place to students and staff.  Does your school have one? I can…

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Status update comment on Facebook gets student suspended for cyberbullying

Just wanted to point out this new article sharing the story of a high-schooler who responded to a friend’s status update on Facebook, and consequently received a ridiculous sanction from his school for it.  He basically stated “you’re not going to bust a grape” – indicating to his friend (who posted about fighting another girl…

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Identity Theft from Facebook and Twitter use?

Justin and I study and work to reduce various forms of deviance and crime on social networking sites, and this recent article on CNN.com prompted me to talk about some of the issues therein. The main thrust of the story is that cybercriminals are now using Facebook and Twitter to victimize unsuspecting individuals through “phishing”…

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Felony harassment charges stemming from Craiglist posting

Recently, a case came up before the Missouri court involving a 40-year-old woman and a 17-year-old girl, with the former having been charged with felony harassment as she posted the girl’s personal contact information and photo on Craigslist in their subsection for individuals seeking “Casual Encounters” (you can imagine what that means).  To note, this…

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Cyberbullying Limerick

It’s important to introduce young people to issues related to cyberbullying and online safety at an early age.  One way to do this is to have them participate in a fun activity that includes key concepts or practical advice.  For example, we have several activities on our site, including a word find and a crossword…

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Formal bans on sexting in school districts

My colleagues and I have been discussing the phenomenon of sexting in great detail recently, in light of the actions of two Texas school districts.  Before the beginning of this new school year, the Houston Independent school district (one of the largest in the nation) and the Dallas-Fort Worth school district banned sending sexually-explicit photos…

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Cyberbullying is the Future of School Violence

I was in Colorado Springs earlier this week meeting with the Futures Working Group, which is a consortium of folks interested in exploring the future of law enforcement.  The group is an eclectic mix of law enforcement administrators, military intelligence officers, federal agents, and academics established through a memorandum of understanding between the Federal Bureau…

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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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Lori Drew Officially Acquitted

Well, it’s official.  On Sunday, U.S. District Judge George Wu acquitted Lori Drew of all federal criminal charges for her involvement in the suicide of 13-year-old Megan Meier.  As you may recall, back in November a jury initially found Drew guilty of three misdemeanor charges of illegally accessing a protected computer (in essence, she was…

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Facebook, Cyberbullying, Death Threats, Jail Time

We’ve been discussing the recent case in Britain involving 18-year-old Keeley Houghton, who posted a death threat on Facebook and was subsequently incarcerated.  Specifically, the aggressor wrote the following on her own profile page, “Keeley is going to murder the bitch. She is an actress. What a ******* liberty. Emily ****head Moore.” Those with whom…

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Revealing the identity of cyberbullies by schools….

Following up from my last blog post, and after talking to a number of individuals working in various school districts, this is what we know: 1) FERPA allows schools who learn the identity of a cyberbully upon investigation of an incident that affects the climate or environment or values of the school to protect that…