I was in Naperville, Illinois about two weeks ago for a cyberbullying summit sponsored by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. The audience was comprised of select stakeholders in education, law enforcement, and technology industry. The most relevant companies and constituencies were there. Attorney General Lisa Madigan was on hand to kick the event off with some opening remarks. Michelle Collins from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) followed with some general comments about cyberbullying and sexting and highlighted some of the efforts of the NCMEC in online safety education and prevention. Next, I participated in a panel of experts along with Hemanshu Nigam from MySpace, Andrew Chaulk from the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force, and Nancy Willard from the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use. We each provided a short introduction to our background and initiatives, then opened it up to the audience for questions and discussion. As expected, it was a great discussion.
During lunch, Sarah Migas from the Illinois AG’s office described their efforts to educate youth, parents, educators and others about online safety issues. In the afternoon we all were broken up into smaller groups to discuss in depth a particular scenario. My group (Go Red Team!) discussed a sexting case from a few months ago. We brainstormed possible prevention and response solutions and then presented our analysis to the larger group as a whole. All in all it was a great event.
It is essential to bring all of these players together on a regular basis to develop a coordinated community response to cyberbullying. Having pretty much everyone at the table really made for some interesting discussions. The Illinois AG’s office is very much ahead of the curve with respect to these issues. Stay tuned for more great resources from this group in the future.