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Sextortion: More Insight Into the Experiences of Youth

Earlier this year, thirty-six-year old Barton Scott hacked into dozens of Snapchat accounts to access explicit images of 14 to 16 year-old girls. According to court records, he manipulated and subsequently coerced victims into turning over their passwords, giving him access to images not intended for public dissemination. He then used those private images as…

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RESTRICTing Bullying on Instagram

Last summer the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, announced that the platform would be taking more of a leadership role when it comes to tackling online bullying. With over a billion active users, they are well positioned to make an impact. In a message to users, he discussed some ways Instagram has been using technology…

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2019 eSafety Conference in Sydney

I just got back from my first-ever visit to Australia, and had an incredible time at the 2019 eSafety conference hosted by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner. The theme was “The Online World We Want,” and I was invited to discuss our 2019 research findings on bullying, cyberbullying, sexting, sextortion, and digital self-harm among…

Youth Sexting in the US: New Paper in Archives of Sexual Behavior

We have a new paper that has just been published by the academic journal Archives of Sexual Behavior. As far as we can tell, it is the first article to report national-level sexting data from middle and high school students in the United States since 2011. It is based on our fall 2016 data. Below…

School Bullying Rates Increase by 35% from 2016 to 2019

Sameer and I just finished collecting data from a national sample of nearly 5,000 12-17 year-olds across the United States. And we’re super excited to dig into the data! This is our thirteenth formal survey of students over the last seventeen years (involving more than 25,000 adolescents in total) and the second nationally-representative study we…

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Addressing Religious-based Bullying

Recently, I was a part of a conference held by Facebook and Instagram in Washington, DC. The conference endeavored to bring together members of faith-based NGOs to identify solutions to address bullying and cyberbullying by one’s religion. Overall, it was a productive, energizing few hours together, and I was left feeling very inspired about all…

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Inaugural Issue of the International Journal of Bullying Prevention

The first issue is finally out. Hooray! And it’s freely available for you to download! Issues will be coming out quarterly, and so we’re cranking them out from now on. I’ve written about the goals and intentions of the journal here, and how it fills a huge gap in the existing knowledgebase by providing our…

The Challenge of Understanding the Momo Challenge

A new viral internet craze has created widespread fear and panic among parents, educators, and law enforcement. And like most of the others that came before it, the truth is more complicated (and less threatening) than the hype. I first became aware of the so-called “Momo Challenge” in July of 2018. In short, the idea…

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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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Flash Mobs and Lip-Dubs to Combat Bullying

I was talking with an educator last week about enlisting students to help create a healthy, thriving, and fun school climate, and specifically brought up the idea of flash mobs and lip-dubs. Many of our students have talents and abilities which we should really tap in order to help us promote positive attitudes and behaviors…

Cyberbullying Victimization Rates by Race, Sex, and Age

Our 2016 survey involved a large enough sample of American middle and high school students that it allows us to extrapolate rates of victimization for various demographic subgroups. For this particular chart, we examined cyberbullying victimization within the last 30 days for three characteristics: race, sex, and age. Even with a sample of more than…

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Thoughts on the Final Report of the Federal Commission on School Safety

The Final Report of the Federal Commission on School Safety came out this week, and it has created quite a stir among educators and civil rights advocates. I’m just not sure the 180-page document will do much good. For those of you not familiar, the Commission was brought together after the high school shooting in…

Social Media Companies, Reporting, and Secondary Victimization

One of the complaints I’ve heard most often from educators, parents, and youth when discussing cyberbullying is that social media companies are slow, inept, or unwilling to respond to the formal “reports” they send in through the site or app. This is not only infuriating, but also depressing because it contributes to a feeling of…

The Skinny on Screen Time: Common Sense Over Research (at least for now)

There has long been a fervent debate about the potential impacts of screen time on youth. When our son was born in 2010, the American Academy of Pediatricians recommended no screen time for children under the age of two. The guidelines have softened a bit in recent years, but the group still generally promotes less…

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Authoritative School Climate: The Next Step in Helping Students Thrive

I’m always on the lookout for innovative approaches to improve student well-being and to create healthy, thriving communities – whether online or on campus. And as you know, Justin and I have examined a number of factors over the years which affect the experience of youth during their journey through adolescence. School climate has been…

Sextortion Among Adolescents

Thirteen-year-old Amanda Todd made a mistake. The British Columbia teen had just moved to a new town and turned to the Internet to meet people. She’d been chatting online with a man whom she’d become interested in. He said she was pretty. After more than a year of communicating with the man, he convinced her…

Are “Gamers” More Likely to be “Bullies”?

Conventional wisdom and media headlines would have one believe that those who play video games are more at risk for engaging in a host of anti-social behaviors. There is certainly nothing new about this mentality: It was prominent in my 80s-era adolescence as well. I remember spending many hours playing Mortal Kombat on the classic…

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Bullying, Cyberbullying, and Suicide Among US Youth: Our Updated Research Findings

There continues to be a lot of discussion involving bullying, cyberbullying, and suicide both in the media as well as in social circles of parents, educators, and other youth professionals. I just looked up “suicide and bullying” on Google News and in just this past weekend alone there are multiple stories involving different kids in…

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International Journal of Bullying Prevention

As a cyberbullying scholar, I engage in research related to its identification, prevention, and response and seek to get articles based on this research published in academic journals. By doing so, we can contribute to the extant knowledgebase concerning what we know about cyberbullying, inspire other researchers to advance the proverbial ball, equip educators, mental…

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Federal Commission on School Safety

Yesterday, I testified on “cyberbullying and social media” in front of the Federal Commission of School Safety, chaired by Secretary Betsy DeVos and comprised of Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen (Homeland Security), Secretary Alex Azar (Health and Human Services), and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Collectively, they are trying to garner insight on the ecology of schools and…