Public Radio Discussion on Proposed Cyberbullying Legislation

I was a guest on the New Hampshire Public Radio show “Word of Mouth” with Virginia Prescott this morning where I talked about the proposed Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act.  You can listen to the brief interview here.  They were gracious enough to send me some potential questions a couple of hours before the interview…

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Cyberbullying Legislation

There has been a lot of discussion lately concerning proposed or recently passed state and federal legislation designed to address cyberbullying.  One particular bill, proposed by California Congresswoman Linda T. Sanchez and called the “Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act,” was re-introduced in the House of Representatives last month (the proposal was initially introduced in May…

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Cyberbullying and real-time cell phone video broadcasting

Qik – a new software application which can be downloaded onto your phone – allows for real-time web streaming of whatever you’d like to capture.  This means that anyone else can see exactly what you see as it is happening.  The software is being ported for different platforms and will soon be available for the…

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An Extreme Example of Misinterpretation

An article was published in the Washington Post over the weekend describing one teacher’s harrowing introduction to sexting. As they are known to do, parents and prosecutors evidently jumped to some conclusions and misinterpreted the actions this teacher was taking in investigating and dealing with a case of sexting about a year ago.  As a…

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Columbine School Shooting – 10th Anniversary

As you know, today is the 10th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre.  It was a horribly tragic but markedly defining event in the history of American public schooling.  You can research it on your own, but evidence pointed to school administrators condoning bullying and harassment among students rather than dealing with it strictly…

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Cell Phones in the Classroom

We have been discussing the issue of cell phones in classrooms a lot lately.  Most schools have a clear policy prohibiting the use of cell phones in classrooms and standard practice seems to be “if I see it, you lose it.”  Some policies specify that the phones will be confiscated for the day, others say…

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New Jersey seeks to require Facebook and MySpace to police users

You’ve probably heard about the proposed law in New Jersey that would require social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook to police their users.  This is so frustrating for me to hear, as well-intentioned but oft-misguided legislators propose solutions to overblown online fears.  Social networking sites are not responsible for actively surveilling and censoring the…

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Jamming cell-phone signals on school campuses…

This article from British Columbia refers to a high school principal who bought a cell phone signal jammer from an online dealer in China in order to thwart students from using their phones at school in violation of district policy. First off, hats off to the resourcefulness of the principal in this situation – even though…

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Facebook Cyberbullying Policy

Here’s a recent query I received from an educator who I have worked with in the past.  I thought her question and my response would be of interest to others so I am posting both here.  Does your school district have a policy regarding cyberbullying or Facebook?  How about cyberbullying on Facebook? Question: “The reason…

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Sexting, the Jesse Logan case, and what schools can do

Recently, we’ve received calls and inquiries about “sexting” and the Jesse Logan case, and so I thought we’d discuss the matter here.  For those looking for an official definition, we characterize “sexting” as “the sending or receiving of sexually-suggestive or explicit text or pictures via one’s cell phone.”  Anecdotally, it seems that the phenomenon is…

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Cyberbullying on Facebook

A teenager from New York has filed a lawsuit against Facebook, four high-school classmates who used the site to harass her, and their parents.  Specifically, two boys and two girls created a Facebook group called password-protected “90 Cents Short Of A Dollar,” in order to “hold [her] up to public hatred, ridicule and disgrace.”  Content…

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Teachers Prohibited from Using Facebook to Communicate with Students

More and more school districts are passing policies that forbid teachers from interacting with their students via social networking web sites.  We have written about this before, but the movement seems to be gaining traction.  This is a slippery slope and a challenging issue for all involved. A policy recently adopted by the Elmbrook School…

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Virtual Presentation: Internet Safety 2.0

One of our good friends and fellow Internet Safety advocates Anne Collier (co-author of MySpace Unraveled) recently did a presentation on Second Life.  By that, I don’t mean the topic was Second Life (an online virtual reality world in which people interact with each other via avatars), but she, through her avatar, gave a presentation…

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The response of private and public schools to cyberbullying

One of the questions we field sometimes involves how private schools differ from public schools in their response to instances of cyberbullying and student misuse of technology.  A case from a private Michigan college illustrates the general distinction that we’ve seen.  In this situation, a 19-year-old male was placed on six-month probation after being accused…

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Filtering software for iPod Touch and iPhone web browsing

One of my colleagues, Forrest Collier, over at InternetSafety.com, has just released a sweet new app for the iPhone and iPod Touch that helps parents protect their children from objectionable and problematic content on their mobile device.  The program is called “Safe Eyes Mobile” and works just like the built-in iPhone browser with pinch and…

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Facebook’s Terms of Service controversy

As you may know, Facebook recently altered its Terms of Service, essentially stating that they own all of the content that you (the user) upload to their site.  This includes content that you’ve uploaded but then later removed, and your content after you have chosen to delete your account.  The Terms of Service in other…

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Anti-cyberbullying curriculum for schools

Our colleague Mike Donlin, over at the Seattle Public Schools District, recently headed up a comprehensive project to create an initial set of Internet safety curriculum materials focusing specifically on cyberbullying.  His state of Washington has been very progressive in creating and promoting anti-cyberbullying legislation (see RCW 28A.300.285 for more information), and has realized that…

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When Does Free Speech Become Cyberbullying?

There was an article published in the New York Times last week which discussed the case of Katherine Evans.  Katherine was displeased with her high school English teacher and posted about this displeasure on Facebook: “To those select students who have had the displeasure of having Ms. Sarah Phelps, or simply knowing her and her…

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JuicyCampus Shut Down

After a year and a half operating as an unregulated college gossip site, juicycampus is calling it quits.  This is a victory for cyberbullying advocates because we received a number of complaints about this site from those who had been victimized through it.  You can find a press release here, posted by juicycampus discussing the…

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Digital “Sexploitation:” An Extreme Example of Cyberbullying

This story out of New Berlin, WI, reports about very extreme case of cyberbullying.  It is reported that an 18-year-old male student posed as a female student on Facebook and tricked other male students into sending him nude pictures or videos of themselves.  There were at least 31 male students who apparently did so, and…

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Student cell phone confiscation and searches

According to this article, one Texas school district is now allowing for the confiscation of cell phones from students who display or use them at school, and is considering levying a retrieval fee.  I had mentioned in a comment to a previous post by Justin that other districts are definitely requiring a fee of either…

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Information Disclosure on Social Networking Web Sites

As many of you know, we became interested in social networking web sites (MySpace and Facebook) several years ago when we had heard examples of cyberbullying occurring in those environments.  Since then, we have done quite a bit of research looking at the kinds of information adolescents post on their public profiles.  We published one…

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Information Disclosure on Social Networking Web Sites

As many of you know, we became interested in social networking web sites (MySpace and Facebook) several years ago when we had heard examples of cyberbullying occurring in those environments.  Since then, we have done quite a bit of research looking at the kinds of information adolescents post on their public profiles.  We published one…

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The concept of “power” in cyberbullying

We’ve been chatting with other Internet safety professionals about different conceptions of “cyberbullying.” I’d like to talk a bit about the concept of power, and get some thoughts from readers of this blog. Traditional bullying (in the schoolyard, lunchroom, on the bus, etc.) typically involves a clear power differential. I always think of Biff and…