Tips & resources to prevent cyberbullying

Each act of cyberbullying hurts students, disrupts classrooms, and affects your school’s culture and community. So how should you handle it? What should you do or say? And what can you do today that will help your students recognize, respond to, and avoid online bullying?

No matter how proactive you are, the reality is that students may still very well witness or experience cyberbullying. Acknowledging this and understanding how to deal with the aftermath is just as important as knowing how you can prevent it.

Changing the culture of how we both prevent and respond to cyberbullying can lead to powerful effects in the larger community. Rather than simply focusing on the consequences after the fact, we must guide students to understand that they have a choice in all their online relationships. They can say something positive or say something mean. They can create great community support around activities or interests, or they can misuse the public nature of online communities to tear others down.…Read More

Facebook and Time Warner join to stop cyber bullying

Facebook and Time Warner's initiative will feature a town hall hosted by Anderson Cooper.

A new partnership between Facebook and Time Warner aims to expand the companies’ individual efforts to prevent online bullying. The initiative, called “Stop Bullying: Speak Up,” will combine broadcast, print, online, and social media outlets to get parents, teachers, and youth speaking about cyber bullying prevention.

“Nothing is more important than the safety of the people [who] use our site,” said Andrew Noyes, manager of public policy communications at Facebook. “Online safety is a responsibility shared among parents, teachers, teens, policy makers, and services like Facebook.”

The announcement came after a recent White House Convention on Bullying Prevention. The campaign will include a town hall meeting with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, which will focus on bullying issues and teaching adults how to cope with it. It also will coincide with Facebook’s Social Media Pledge App that encourages educators, parents, and kids to make a personal commitment to help stop bullying. Also featured will be Cartoon Network’s bystander-focused bullying prevention resources and expansive coverage of bullying from Time Inc. publications.…Read More

Rhode Island act prevents cyber bullying, not social media access

Rep. Ruggiero penned the Safe Schools Act after a bullying-provoked suicide occurred in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island’s recently-approved “Safe School Act,” created in response to online bullying, seeks to standardize school responses to online bullying issues. And despite some media reports decrying the bill’s apparent ban of all social media at all times, the bill’s author clarifies that social media use is, in fact, encouraged for educational purposes.

The act defines cyber bullying as bullying through the use of technology or electronic communication, including eMail, instant messages, impersonating another person as the author of posted content, as well as a variety of other internet communications.

The Safe Schools Act is meant to provide a statewide policy of disciplinary actions in response to online bullying, including the prompt notification of parents of both the victim and the bully. The new law also protects students who anonymously report bullying.…Read More

Facebook bullies charged after victim tracks them down

When 18-year-old Ally Pfeiffer found a Facebook profile impersonating her and replacing her photograph with a picture of a cow to mock her weight, she cried. However, the Connecticut teen fought back, found the IP address for the bogus page and helped police trace the cruel behavior back to Sarah Johnson and Jeff Martone, her former classmates at a Bristol, Conn., high school, reports AOL News. And now, Johnson and Martone, both freshmen at the University of Connecticut, have been charged with criminal impersonation and second-degree harassment. Pfeiffer said she’s speaking out about her experience because she hopes it will prevent other young people from going through the pain she did. “If I help one teen or if I make one bully think twice before doing something I would feel 100 percent better,” she said in an interview with NBC’s “Today” show this morning. Both Martone, 19, and Johnson, 18, have admitted to creating the fake Facebook profile, which listed Pfeiffer’s “likes” as “being fat,” “whales,” “Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream” and “not running.” Pfeiffer said she and Johnson were close friends in high school. “When I first saw the page, I was completely devastated. I didn’t know who had done it at this point and was questioning why they chose me, why they’d say those things about me,” she told But Pfeiffer, a freshman at the University of Hartford, said she didn’t want to let the cyberbullying ruin her life. “Some of my friends would have hung themselves over this,” she told the Bristol Press. “So I’m just glad that [Martone and Johnson] got a stable person trying to take a positive approach to dealing with it rather than someone who could have taken different action.”
Cyberbullying has gained increased scrutiny since the death of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi earlier this year, who killed himself after his classmates allegedly posted a video of him having sex with another man…

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Victims of online bullying may be more likely to be depressed

A study released on Sept. 21 shows that as bullying has moved beyond the schoolyard and on to Facebook pages, online chat groups and cell phone text messages, its victims are feeling more hopeless and depressed, the Washington Post reports. “Traditional bullying is more face-to-face,” said Ronald J. Iannotti, principal investigator for the study, published online in the Journal of Adolescent Health. It says that students targeted by cyber-bullies, who may not always identify themselves, “may be more likely to feel isolated, dehumanized or helpless at the time of the attack.” The study, by the National Institutes of Health, is based on surveys of more than 7,000 American schoolchildren. It offers a troubling portrait of the latest incarnation of an eternal problem. But researchers also say that traditional bullying and cyber-bullying are not necessarily distinct events and that one often flows into the other…

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Google executives convicted over online bullying video

In a case with huge implications for web site operators, an Italian court on Feb. 24 convicted three Google executives of privacy violations because they did not act quickly enough to pull down an online video that showed bullies abusing an autistic boy, reports the Associated Press. In the first such criminal trial of its kind, Judge Oscar Magi sentenced the three to a six-month suspended sentence and absolved them of defamation charges. Google called the decision “astonishing” and said it would appeal. “The judge has decided I’m primarily responsible for the actions of some teenagers who uploaded a reprehensible video to Google video,” Google’s global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer, who was convicted in absentia, said in a statement. The trial could help define whether the internet in Italy is an open, self-regulating platform or if content must be better monitored for abusive material. Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., had said it considered the trial a threat to freedom on the internet because it could force providers to attempt an impossible task—prescreening the thousands of hours of footage uploaded every day onto sites like YouTube. “We will appeal this astonishing decision,” Google spokesman Bill Echikson said at the courthouse. “We are deeply troubled by this decision. It attacks the principles of freedom on which the internet was built.”

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