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Criminal Charges Filed Against Bullies in Phoebe Prince Case

It is not often that students are charged in criminal court for their participation in bullying.  But that is what happened this week.  As has been well-publicized, 15-year-old Phoebe Prince of South Hadley, Massachusetts, committed suicide in January after experiencing extreme levels of bullying from her classmates.  After conducting a thorough investigation, District Attorney Elizabeth…

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Implications for teachers who socialize with students online, and how to avoid them

Let’s return to our multi-post (here, here, and here) discussion of student and teacher interaction on social networking sites or in other online venues. Social networks such as Facebook and MySpace are primarily for socializing. “Socializing” involves interacting for social purposes, and “social purposes” are those marked by friendly companionship with others. It seems, therefore,…

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Student-Teacher Interaction Online – Another Perspective

Sameer and I have talked a lot about this issue in recent months, and while we both basically agree that teacher-student interactions online are risky business, we struggle with how to best approach the issue.  Earlier today he posted his thoughts on the issue.  I would like to take this opportunity to re-articulate mine to…

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Student-Teacher Interaction Online – Another Perspective

Sameer and I have talked a lot about this issue in recent months, and while we both basically agree that teacher-student interactions online are risky business, we struggle with how to best approach the issue.  Earlier today he posted his thoughts on the issue.  I would like to take this opportunity to re-articulate mine to…

Students and teachers becoming a little too “friendly” in cyberspace

As we have previously discussed, a recent article published in Education Week entitled Policies Target Teacher-Student Cyber Talk suggests that some educators and pupils are informally connecting and chatting online with increasing frequency, where relatively innocent interactions may have the potential to escalate into inappropriate relationships. While such cases seem to occur rarely, a few…

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The Changing Nature of Adolescent MySpace Use: 2006 to 2009

Sameer and I are just putting the finishing touches on a paper that examines the social networking behaviors of adolescents who are on MySpace.  For the past five years, we have annually taken random samples of MySpace profiles and analyzed them for content to ascertain any changes in adolescent participation and information sharing on the…

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Schools Have a Responsibility to Proactively Stop Bullying

A federal jury recently ordered the Hudson Area School District (Michigan) to pay $800,000 in damages to a student who endured years of emotional, physical, and sexual bullying.  Dane Patterson was in middle school when the bullying began as simple name calling and verbal harassment.  It escalated in high school and included being pushed into…

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Strain, Traditional Bullying, and Cyberbullying podcast

I recently participated in a joint podcast organized by Sage Publications with fellow social scientists Robert Agnew, Carter Hay, and Paul Mazerolle to chat about the relationship between the sociological concept of strain, traditional bullying, and cyberbullying. According to Agnew’s General Strain Theory, strain has three sources: (1) the failure to achieve positively-valued goals; (2)…

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Victimology in Cyberspace

Justin and I have been focusing a lot on what I like to call “Facebook Faux Pas” – or, in general, unwise practices on social networking, social media, and microblogging sites.  A new site has been receiving a lot of attention lately – PleaseRobMe.com.  Check it out at your convenience.  Basically, it runs a simple…

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Cyberbullying research article published in Deviant Behavior

Routledge (Taylor and Francis) is making some of their copyrighted journal articles available at no cost through June, and our research piece entitled “Cyberbullying: An Exploratory Analysis of Factors Related to Offending and Victimization,” published in Deviant Behavior, is one of those and is available here.  To date, it is one of the most downloaded…

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Can Schools Discipline Students for Creating a Mean Facebook Page About a Teacher?

There have been a few high profile cases recently reviewed by the courts, and summarized in the media, where students have sued their schools arguing that discipline they received as a result of improper online speech was a violation of their First Amendment right.  The most recent case involved a former Florida high school student,…

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The Relationship Between Cyberbullying and Suicide

There have been many high profile and tragic incidents in the media in recent years which have linked adolescent suicides to experiences with cyberbullying.  The connection between suicide and interpersonal aggression is certainly nothing new, as a number of studies have documented the association between bullying and suicide.  Sameer and I have a paper coming…

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Identifying anonymous or pseudonymous cyberbullies in civil suits

Though we focus on youth, we have had an increasing number of adults who call and email us asking for help regarding their own cyberbullying victimization experiences.  Some of the stories we hear are extremely tragic and horribly malicious.  Many times, we are at a loss for words that might help based on the fact…

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The Changing Nature of Adolescent Use of MySpace

Sameer and I have been exploring online social networking generally, and adolescent behaviors on MySpace in particular, for over five years. Since 2006 we have randomly selected several thousand MySpace profiles each year to determine: 1) who is on MySpace and 2) what kind of information they are posting.  Our latest article, which is published in…

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Slate Magazine project on cyberbullying victimization experiences

The Cyberbullying Research Center is helping Slate Magazine in their newest initiative to delve into the vivid experiences of those who have been victimized online (primarily through cyberbullying, sexting, and cyberstalking).  This multi-faceted and long-term project seeks to collect stories, interact with those most affected, and deeply understand the problem and what can be done…

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Social Norms and Cyberbullying Among Students

As I mentioned in my cyberbullying and sexting comments at the National Crime Prevention Council Circle of Respect event two weeks ago, “social norming” continues to bear relevance for dealing with cyberbullying at schools, and I’d like to flesh it out some more since I am a big fan of the concept.  Basically, youth tend…

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Formal comments on cyberbullying and sexting at the NCPC Event

I greatly enjoyed being a part of a distinguished panel of guests at the National Crime Prevention Council’s Circle of Respect event on Friday, January 15th in Washington, DC. Speaking alongside Deborah Norville (the anchor of Inside Edition), Chris Moessner (a very experienced researcher and Senior Vice President with Stewart and Partners), Rachel Simmons (author of…

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“Redefining Respect in America” event – January 15th, 2009, Washington DC

On Friday, I’ll be participating in this press event hosted by the National Crime Prevention Council, along with some world-class authors.  I have been asked to speak about cyberbullying and sexting.  I will summarize my prepared remarks and experience in a future post, but if you are in the area and want to meet up…

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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…