We learned from an early age that bullies can be abusive physically or emotionally, and that they often encourage peers to act the same way towards their intended victim. The social tools of the Internet that appeal most to teens (e.g., the ability to communicate to a lot of people at once, share pictures and videos easily, or pretend to be a different personality or identity) are the tools teens use to easily and effectively humiliate others. And the potential anonymity of it all can make it difficult for parents and teens to identify and report an online bully.
How has bullying evolved?
Before Internet(or "BI"): A bully was restricted by physical location and time. They had to be pretty much standing in front of their target to deliver their verbal or physical attack. This made identifying the attacker easy. And once the victim walked away, the bullying ended.
Now: A bully can be anyone, anywhere at anytime. The Internet never sleeps. And an insulting or abusive message, once put out there, can persist forever and be seen by countless people. Plus, the Internet can be so anonymous that it may never be possible to identify an attacker, making it very difficult to stop. Finally, the bullying can continue even when the victim is safe at home. The content of the abuse follows the victim wherever they go, and can leave the teen feeling helpless.
Tools & Methods of the Cyberbully
Cyberbullying can happen in many ways. These are just some examples:
- -Sending mean text, e-mail, or instant messages
- -Posting nasty pictures or messages about others in blogs or on Web sites
- -Using someone else's user name to spread rumors or lies about someone
- -Sending repeated notes
- -Forwarding supposedly private messages, pictures or videos to others
Teach your kids how to deal with a cyberbully
Tips to avoid being a cyberbullying victim:
- -Don't give out personal information like name, address, phone number, social security number, school or even the names of family and friends. Certainly don't give out your password.
- -Don't exchange pictures or give out contact information (including email) to people you meet online.
- -Don't send a message when you are angry or upset. Once you put something out on the Internet you can't take it back. EVER.
- -Realize that anything you say or do online is never really private. If even one person can see or read it then it can be copied, saved or shared -- even if you try to remove it later.
Detecting cyberbullying and if your child is a victim:
Watch for signs that your child is being bullied online. Are they reluctant to use the computer or go to school?
- -Depending on how your child is being bullied, report any incidents of harassment to your ISP or cell phone provider.
- -Block the harassing email or IM via parental controls or privacy tools provided by your ISP.
- -Do not reply to harassing messages.
- -If bullying includes physical threats, report it to the police.
Up until a few years ago, I'd never heard much about teen dating abuse and violence and wrongly assumed it was mainly limited to adult relationships. I just didn't realize how prevalent it was among our youth. But, it starts somewhere and that is often with young people who are entering into relationships for the very first time. They often mimic the behaviors they've seen growing up. And, because they're new to relationships, young people can misinterpret controlling as caring, and not understand the warning signals of abuse until it is out of control. To understand the severity of the problem, the CDC reports that one in ten high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend. This statistic only reflects physical violence. If we include emotional and verbal abuse in teen dating relationships, the stat jumps to one in three teens.
Digital Dating Abuse
A rising trend in dating abuse is the use of technology to harass, threaten and control the dating partner from a distance – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Through the use of technology such as cell phones, email, and social networking, the abuser can gain access into what once were safe havens for the abused partner - school, extra-curricular activities and home - to apply a relentless barrage of insults and/or demands that are not visible to parents or other adult caregivers. Digital dating abuse can include:
• Checking the dating partner's cell phone for outgoing and incoming calls, texts and images.
• Controlling the dating partner's friends on social networking sites.
• Demanding or stealing the dating partner's account passwords to keep tabs on them.
• Pressuring or demanding the dating partner share sexually explicit images and/or videos of themselves.
• Constantly texting the dating partner to find out where they are and what they are doing (the abused partner often feels obligated to have their cell phones with them at all times so they can respond quickly for fear of being punished).
• Insulting or threatening the dating partner through emails, texts, tweets, and even status updates.
–How to parent Facebook users,
–Managing reputation in the digital age,
–Actual risks in social media
–Managing your privacy on Facebook,
The Parents Guide can be found at: http://www.ikeepsafe.org/parents/parents-guide-to-facebook/.
Safer Internet Day enters its 9th year with the theme "Connecting generations and educating each other", where users young and old are encouraged to "discover the digital world together...safely"! Never has it been more important for parents and other care givers to play a role in the lives of young people and their use of technology as it is today. Being online, or being connected, has become so intricately woven through the daily lives of our children that the distinction between online and offline is nil – we need to parent in that world.
'Parents' and Carers' Guide to the Internet'
In contributing to Safer Internet Day and to help get you started , the UK's Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre today launched the 'Parents' and Carers' Guide to the Internet' - a short, entertaining TV-style program looking at what it's like to bring up children in the online world. You can watch this program online to help you:
• stay up-to-date with the technology your children are using;
• understand steps you can take to keep your children safe online; and
• know what action to take and where to seek further support if things go wrong.
Visit www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents to watch the program and access information on how to keep your family safe online.
As we live in an ever increasing digital world, it's important that we take time to understand how our personal information is collected and used as well as how we can take steps to protect that information. iKeepSafe has a list of steps consumers can take to protect their privacy when using electronic devices ranging from laptops, to smartphones, game consoles and e-readers. Take a moment to review the Simple Steps to Safer Devices to help protect your family's privacy.
By following some simple steps, consumers can protect their data privacy when using electronic devices.
Consumers of all ages are using more and more digital devices to do more than just check their email. Today, devices are used to do things such as: access the Internet, carry out banking transactions, social networking, and shopping. For children and adults alike, using these wonderful devices brings some unwanted risks.
Here is what consumers need to do to keep information secure on those devices:
Protecting a computer or laptop
Every computer and laptop needs:
- Strong security software. Any computer that is linked to the Internet will be infected if it isn't protected. Whether you use a Windows PC, or a Mac, all computers and laptops need security software. When Apple devices were a tiny minority of the total market, designing malware to attack them wasn't very lucrative, but those days are long gone; iUsers are now profitable targets.
- An active firewall. Computers come with firewalls (a set of programs located on your computer that protect it from being accessed by other computers). These firewalls are turned on by default, don't turn the firewall off!
Additional considerations if the computer/laptop is used by a minor:
- Consider the full range of functionality the computer or laptop offers. Are there features that should be turned off-like location tracking? Webcam chats? iKeepSafe recommends that computers used by minors should be secured with filters and parental controls such as K9 Web Protection or Norton Online Family. These provide a safer experience for youth and protect your machine from unwanted malware.
- iKeepSafe also recommends that parents maintain administrator control of computers, giving children a "limited access" account. This will prevent children and friends from inadvertently downloading malware and illegal content.
- Talk with your child. Make it clear what is and is not acceptable use of the device, including times of day the device is used, the ethical treatment of others, the types of downloads permitted, and so on.
In addition to the inspirational story for the whole family, The Fat Boy Chronicles is also an ideal occasion to discuss with your teen the topic of bullying. The film progresses in such wonderful teaching moments that parents will easily find opportunities to have enlightening conversations with their teen without seeming as if to lecture.
The newly released DVD is filled with special features including audio commentary with the director and authors of the novels, cast interviews and bullying prevention information from the International Bullying Prevention Association.
For more information on this film and DVD purchases, go to thefatboychronicles.com
DURHAM, N.H. – Two new studies from the University of New Hampshire Crimes against Children Research Center suggest that concerns about teen sexting may be overblown. One study found the percentage of youth who send nude pictures of themselves that would qualify as child pornography is very low. The other found that when teen sexting images do get to police, few youth are being arrested or treated like sex offenders.
The studies were carried out by researchers at the University of New Hampshire's Crimes against Children Research Center, and published online today by the journal "Pediatrics." The research is presented in the studies "Prevalence and Characteristics of Youth Sexting: A National Study" and "How Often Are Teens Arrested for Sexting? Data From a National Sample of Police Cases."
In the first study, UNH researchers surveyed 1,560 Internet users ages 10 through 17 about their experiences with sexting -- appearing in, creating, or receiving sexual images or videos via cell phone or the Internet. The study found that 2.5 percent of youth surveyed have participated in sexting in the past year, but only 1 percent involved images that potentially violate child pornography laws -- images that showed "naked breasts, genitals or bottoms."
"Lots of people may be hearing about these cases discovered by schools and parents, because they create a furor, but it still involves a very small minority of youth," said lead author Kimberly Mitchell, research assistant professor of psychology at the UNH Crimes against Children Research Center.
In the second study, researchers discovered that in most sexting cases investigated by the police, no juvenile arrest occurred. There was an arrest in 36 percent of the cases where there were aggravating activities by youth, such as using the images to blackmail or harass other youth. In cases without aggravating elements, the arrest rate was 18 percent.
The second study was based on a national sample of 675 sexting cases collected from a systematic survey of law enforcement agencies. The study also found that the very few teens who were subjected to sex offender registration had generally committed other serious offenses like extortion and forcible rape.
Since its inception, this feature has caused much hype in IT magazines and online forums. Many ardently claim that this feature compromises privacy and endangers safety, while also presenting opportunities for stalking and other malicious activities. Also, friends can check into a certain location and broadcast who they are with, thus sacrificing the privacy of others. In contrast, other blogs state that while some may view it as privacy infringement, Facebook allows one to alter his or her privacy settings so that Places does not apply to them. It is a service for only those who wish to use it and Facebook works perfectly fine without it.
It is critical to explore this feature and make an informed decision before using it. To its credit, Facebook has implemented certain in built privacy settings for those who choose to avoid Places. First, this is an opt-in instead of an opt-out option. This means that Facebook users must manually choose to enable it; it is not a default setting. Secondly, even if friends have tagged you while "checking in," you can choose to reject the tag. This allows your friends to remain checked in and you to remain incognito simultaneously. The simplest way to disable this feature altogether is to uncheck a box in the privacy settings, under "Applications and Websites." This way, users don't have to worry about instantly untagging themselves.
Although Facebook Places does provide added entertainment and some convenience, it is a feature that must be used with complete awareness and prudence. As with all social networking websites, it is extremely important to steer clear of unsafe online behavior.
Read the full story here.