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Impersonation – a serious form of cyberbullying?

It goes without saying that youth are exploiting new technological developments (even though everyone is saying it).  I wondered if you all saw the story from Maryland over Christmas break discussing how teenagers are punking their peers by impersonating their vehicles while flying past speed cameras.  This is done by taking a digital photo of…

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Sex Offenders and Social Networking Sites: Show me the Research!

As anticipated, the Final Report released yesterday by Berkman Center’s Internet Safety Technical Task Force summarizing the state of knowledge concerning child safety online has come under fire by some state Attorneys General and others with an interest in advancing public fear about the risks inherent in online social networking.  In my view, much of…

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New Report on Adolescent Internet Safety

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University released the final report of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force entitled “Enhancing Child Safety and Online Technologies.”  The Report was commissioned by the Multi-State Working Group on Social Networking which is made up of the 50 state Attorneys General who asked the Task Force…

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Risky behaviors referenced on MySpace by adults

Findings from a new content analysis of MySpace profiles were released yesterday – something of keen interest to us as we’ve written empirical articles and presented extensively on the use of that social networking site by youth.  The study is methodologically sound and well done, overall.  The researchers found that over half (54%) of 500…

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Is Cyberbullying Really That Bad?

We recently received this email and I thought I would respond to it here so that others too can add their thoughts: Dear CyberBullying.us ~ I recently discovered your website as I was wandering the internet.  I read some of the stories on your site and I would just love it if you could publish…

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MySpace versus Facebook

Ok, now that we have discussed some of the risks and benefits of social networking, I want to return to an issue that we have discussed before on this blog.  And that is whether or not any one particular social networking environment is “safer” than the others.  And if so, how?  When I talk to…

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Online social networking: Are the potential benefits worth the possible risks?

I was giving presentations at a school in Pennsylvania (last week) and got to the point in my presentation with parents and staff in the district about the risks and benefits associated with online social networking.  When talking about the issues, I try to be reasonably impartial – simply presenting the facts as I see…

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Age- and identity-misrepresentation on the Internet

The New York Times last week asked me my thoughts on the Megan Meier case and online misrepresentation, and I thought I’d expand on my perspective here.  First off, we have to understand why this case drew so much attention.  It was because we have a vulnerable and depressed young girl basically driven to suicide…

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Family Online Safety Institute Conference – December 11th, 2008

I’m going to be in Washington, DC on Wednesday, December 10th and Thursday, December 11th for the Family Online Safety Institute’s annual conference, where I’ll be participating in a formal roundtable to discuss cyberbullying prevention and response and Internet safety issues.  I am really looking forward to this, as many top practitioners and authors in…

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Megan Meier Federal Cyberbullying Case Decided Today

Well, as you’ve probably heard by now, the federal jury in California found Lori Drew guilty of computer fraud (and violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act) but not guilty of felony charges of unauthorized computer access to inflict emotional distress on Megan Meier.  She faces up to one year in prison and up to…

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Megan Meier Cyberbullying Case In Court Today

So, today is a big day in that the Megan Meier cyberbullying case is going to trial.  Lori Drew, the neighbor who is accused of creating and using a fake MySpace page to befriend and then break the heart of Megan by posing as a boy who had romantic interest in her.  You know the…

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Reducing Cyberbullying: Is Your School On Track?

A couple of school districts have recently contacted me in a panic about how cyberbullying has been a major actionable issue for them since the start of the school year, but that they don’t know where to even begin (apart from amending the school policy to cover “electronic” variants of harassment).  They realize that additional…

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JuicyCampus.com and the response by schools

My local newspaper just ran a story on JuicyCampus.com and asked me about it (since it could be considered cyberbullying), and so I figured I’d share a few of my thoughts here.  First, the fact that college students are flocking to the site to read and write highly-offensive gossip about others is a sad commentary…

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Anger in Cyberspace

I found this new CNN article on anger online really interesting.  In our new book, we talk about two theoretical concepts which are highly relevant: disinhibition and deindividuation.  To be disinhibited is to be freed from restraints on your behavior.  In some venues, disinhibition can be a positive thing. For example, someone who tends to…

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Cell Phones and ChaCha

In the last several months, we have received more calls and emails from school administrators about issue related to cell phones than probably anything else.  The concerns about cell phones are varied.  For example, students are texting on them all hours of the school day, cell phones can be used to take pictures or video…

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Rates of cyberbullying in Australia, and the reasons why…

Just a quick cross-cultural thought – this article discusses how approximately 10% of 9th and 10th graders in Australia have been cyberbullied…and the article compares that figure to the 50% or so (????) of American students who have been cyberbullied.  The lead researcher and professor stated that their country is about five or so years…

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Focal areas within cyberbullying prevention and response

Mike Donlin, Senior Program Consultant (aka Program Manager), for Seattle Public Schools (and our good friend and esteemed colleague) recently asked us a few thought-provoking questions about cyberbullying prevention and response.  They are as follows: 1. How can we consistently involve all the major stakeholders – educators, legal, the tech industry, families and youth –…

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Problematic pictures circulated via cell phones

I just read an interesting article covering a topic that is frequently brought to our attention when we speak at conferences – cell phones and sexually-explicit images of teenagers being circulated among peers. The bottom line is that we have got to figure out the best way to get kids to think hard and seriously about…

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Wide variation in reports of cyberbullying frequency…

As my eyes tend to be super sensitive to statistics and data related to cyberbullying, I was taken aback by the findings from a study mentioned in this recent FoxNews article. It states: According to Parry Aftab, an Internet security and privacy lawyer and founder of WiredSafety.org, 85 percent of 5,000 middle-school students surveyed said…

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Live Web Chat for EdWeek Today

We will be participating in a live web chat for EdWeek today from 1-2 Eastern time.  From EdWeek: “At its best, the Internet helps students find information and stay in touch with friends through everything from text-messages and blogs to social-networking and other video- and photo-sharing Web sites. But the Internet can also enable students…

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UCLA Research on Cyberbullying

A new research piece on cyberbullying was published recently by a couple of UCLA professors that pointed out that 72% of youth between 12-17 experienced online bullying within the past year.  I find this number insanely high; the authors rightly note that their web-based methodology (constructed very similar to our older studies) possibly led to…

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Tagging of personal pictures online, facial recognition, implications for youth

As most of you know, Justin and I have conducted some studies on the youth use of social networking sites.  Our primary intention was to determine if and how adolescents are rendering themselves vulnerable to victimization based on the content (diary entries, personal information, pictures, video, etc.) they post within their profile pages.  This content…

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Defining Cyberbullying

There has been renewed discussion recently about what behaviors actually constitute cyberbullying.  This is an issue that we have commented about on this blog before and discuss in detail in our book (see especially pages 5 and 49). One of our favorite Internet safety newsletters, Net Family News, recently reported on an article published last…

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Cell phones on School Campuses in California

In keeping with a trend we have been seeing across the country, another school board in California has decided to ban the inappropriate use of cell phones on school grounds (largely to prevent cyberbullying and the recording and online posting of fights). There is one exception – students are able to use cell phones to…