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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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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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Lori Drew Officially Acquitted

Well, it’s official.  On Sunday, U.S. District Judge George Wu acquitted Lori Drew of all federal criminal charges for her involvement in the suicide of 13-year-old Megan Meier.  As you may recall, back in November a jury initially found Drew guilty of three misdemeanor charges of illegally accessing a protected computer (in essence, she was…

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Autism and Cyberbullying

I spoke at an Autism conference last week, and presented information on cyberbullying victimization and ASD youth.  I am particularly interested in this population as one of my close friends is on the spectrum, and has shared with me his experiences being harassed by peers who perceive them as “different.”  These youth are especially susceptible…