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Cyberbullying Panic?

Several high profile incidents have put cyberbullying at the top of the headlines in recent months.  When Sameer and I first started studying this problem over eight years ago, it was rare to see a cyberbullying story in the media, now they are everywhere. Larry Magid, a technology journalist who contributes to a number of…

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RapeLay – sexually explicit video gaming and youth culture

Recent press coverage has been focused on “hentai” video games being produced in Japan and distributed all across the world in an underground manner. Hentai generally refers to sexually explicit or pornographic comics and animation, and video games of this ilk have been available for years overseas. Recently, though, they have been “ripped” from DVD-ROMs…

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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,…

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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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…