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Category Archives: Cyberbullying

A recent story from a school bus illustrates the ability of people to use digital communications as a force for incredible good or for evil.

A student used his cell phone to record a video of other students on his bus cruelly taunting and insulting the bus monitor. The video was posted to You Tube and went viral. So far a story of people using technology for bad things.

But the reaction of online communities showed some of the wonderful promise of the digital age.

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“Bully,” a documentary film that’s been in the news a lot lately, is providing some unintentional lessons in media literacy. The film tells the stories of four young people who have been bullied and how that has affected them and their families. Two of the kids had committed suicide. The other two are dealing with bullying in different ways. I reviewed Bully (originally called The Bully Project) here after seeing it in a film festival last year.

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While most kids in most situations are making the right choices, there are subgroups who are at greater risk of bad experiences. New research puts lower numbers on sexting and other dangerous acts. Guest blog post at iKeepSafe.

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Very interesting discussion today at the Kids, Privacy, and Online Drama event, part of @Microsoft: Conversations on Online Safety, cohosted by the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), and held at Microsoft’s Innovation & Policy Center in Washington, DC.

Researcher danah boyd said something that particularly struck a nerve with me. She and her colleague Alice Marwick found that while adults talk about ‘“bullying,” teens are more likely to refer to the resultant skirmishes and their digital traces as “drama.”’ There’s more to it than that, of course, (and their paper, The Drama!

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That’s one of the take aways from two research projects looking into kids digital lives.

Learn more at our guest blog on iKeepSafe.

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October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. This year’s theme is Our Shared Responsibility. As explained by the National Cyber Security Alliance, “no individual, business, or government entity is solely responsible for securing the Internet. Everyone has a role in securing their part of cyberspace, including the devices and networks they use. We need to understand that individual actions have a collective impact and when we use the Internet safely we make it more secure for everyone.”

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Tonight, CBS airs an episode of 48 Hours on bullying. I haven’t seen it yet, but it has stimulated a lot of discussion and some concern among many of the top researchers and practitioners in the fields of bullying and suicide prevention. Why? Because media so often gets it wrong.

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Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D., Co-Director of the Cyberbullying Research Center and Associate Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University, recently wrote another in a series of blog posts about cell phone and mobile devices in schools. In this post, Sameer points out why “even with a suspected or actual policy violation by a student, it may not be in your school’s best interests to seize that student’s device.”

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In a commentary in Education Week, Jim Bosco and Keith Kreuger of the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) call for a switch in thinking from the outdated and negative approach of traditional acceptable-use policies (AUPs) for technology use in schools towards a more positive and proactive responsible-use orientation.

Most AUPs were created in the one-way world of Web 1.0 or in the early stages of the two-way Web 2.0 environment. They were devised to protect kids from harm being done to them by exposure to inappropriate content, conduct, or contacts.

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I recently saw The Bully Project at the Silverdocs documentary film festival and stayed after to hear a Q&A with the film’s director, Lee Hirsch, and one of the families featured in the movie.

The Bully Project is a feature-length documentary film that covers a year in the lives of five families affected by bullying and traces the impact that has on their lives. Two families struggle with the suicide of a son and how to turn that tragic loss into something positive for others.

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