The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.
Cyberbullying And Other Online Threats
Students Expelled Following Teen's Suicide The Boston Channel, 2/24/2010
Hundreds of parents met in South Hadley on Tuesday night as an anti-bullying task force mobilized weeks after a case of bullying so extreme it drove a 15-year-old girl to end her life.
Phoebe Prince, a freshman at South Hadley High School, died Jan. 14., and two students accused of bullying the 15-year-old have been expelled. A police investigation could also lead to criminal charges.
Student's Facebook Tirade Against Teacher Is Protected Speech Wired, 2/16/2010
The score is 2-1 in favor of the First Amendment when it comes to three federal rulings this month on the limits of students' online, off-campus speech.
The latest ruling, which supports the student, concerned a former Florida high senior who was reprimanded for "cyberbullying" a teacher on Facebook. Katherine Evans, now 20, was suspended two years ago after creating a Facebook group devoted to her English teacher.
The group was called "Ms. Sarah Phelps is the worst teacher I've ever met!," and featured a photograph of the teacher and an invitation for other students to "express your feelings of hatred."
Teens charged in cyberbullying case Boston Globe, 2/11/2010
Three 14-year-old boys from Newburyport have been charged with identity theft after they allegedly harassed a boy at Newburyport High School by creating a fake Facebook page bearing the boy's name and picture and then posted disparaging remarks on the page about other students, police said.
Police accused the boys of "cyberbullying" and said they will face charges next week at Newburyport District Court. None of the boys' names were released.
Mean Girls: Cyberbullying Blamed for Teen Suicides ABC News, 1/28/2010
Parents in a western Massachusetts town are trying to understand the horrific bullying that apparently led a pretty 15-year-old to kill herself -- and they are furious. "That could have easily been my daughter and I am angry," South Hadley, Mass., parent Dave Leonard told school officials at a crowded meeting this week. [read on]
Zero tolerance for cyberbullies The Seattle Times, 1/21/2010
BRAVO to the principal at McClure Middle School in Seattle who suspended 28 students for bullying a classmate on the Internet.
Cyberbullying has become a pervasive element in schools, a tool used by students with a mean streak and a need for an anonymous haven to hide.
U.S. Courts Split on Internet Bans Wired, 1/12/2010
A federal appeals court is reversing a lifetime internet ban imposed on a child sex offender also handed a 15-year prison term.
The outcome highlights the appellate courts are all over the map when it comes to internet bans often imposed on defendants, especially sex deviants, once they have served their time. What's more, the courts appear to be accepting the internet as a basic freedom to which convicts, even the worst of the worst, usually should not be denied permanent access.[read on]
Mean kids, online Los Angeles Times, 1/2/2010
Parents, not schools, are the first line of defense against cyber-bullying. Mean girls -- and mean boys -- have been terrorizing their classmates since the first schoolhouse was built. Recently, however, teachers and administrators have adopted elaborate programs to prevent and punish such cruelty. Now that trend is colliding with another one: bullying online.[read on]
Does parental control software work? PCPro, 12/24/2009
Davey Winder exposes the strengths and weaknesses of parental control software - and how kids get around it.
Parental control software has been a part of online life since those heady early days when family-friendly service providers brought a ring-fenced internet experience to an eager public.
Along the way we've seen the development of standalone software, plugins for internet security suites, server-based filtering by ISPs, and even the addition of parental controls directly into Windows.
MTV Awareness Campaign Targets 'Digital Abuse' PCMag.com, 12/3/2009
MTV on Wednesday kicked off a multi-year campaign aimed at preventing cyberbullying, sexting, and other "digital abuses."
The music channel is joining forces with social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, as well as violence prevention and Internet safety organizations to get the word out via its 'A Thin Line' campaign.
Think your kid isn't 'sexting'? Think again MSNBC.com, 12/3/2009
Sexting — sharing sexually explicit photos, videos and chat by cell phone or online — is fairly commonplace among young people, despite sometimes grim consequences for those who do it. More than a quarter of young people have been involved in sexting in some form, an Associated Press-MTV poll found.
Parents using Internet filters to protect children from cyber bullying Bignews.biz, 11/26/2009
Internet filtering software is helping parents protect their children in the cyber bullying playground. 2009 has seen a startling rise in cyber bullying across the world, particularly in the US, UK and Australia, and with children and teenagers spending more hours every day on computers, the need for parental control online is more prominent than ever before. [read on]
A life online: just delete the cyber-bullies Parent pages, 11/24/2009
Cyber-bullying must be out of hand when it is suggested that social networking sites carry a "panic button" for distressed children to click on.
Jim Gamble, head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, said last week that social networking sites such as Facebook, which refused to add the button, were not working hard enough to stop online bullying. He added that the websites had a "duty of care" to young people online.
Internet predators, privacy, porn: Are parents concerned? U-M Health System News, 11/19/2009
When your daughter goes online, how likely is it she's being stalked by a stranger or bullied by a classmate? When your son surfs the Web, what are the chances he's viewing pornography or gambling?
A report released today by the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health shows that parents across the United States have a wide range of concerns about the safety of their children's lives online. [read on]
Sex predators have a new hunting ground. One you may not know even exists. Kids have all the weapons they need against monsters in video games, but it's real-life monsters their parents should worry about.[read on]
Many Kids Feel Threatened in the Classroom U.S. News and World Report, 11/13/2009
It is often assumed that the schoolyard is where bullies go to make other kids miserable, but a new study suggests that classrooms are another popular site.
The study, presented recently at the American Public Health Association's annual meeting in Philadelphia, is based on survey results from more than 10,000 middle-school students who anonymously answered questions online. [read on]
Protecting kids or free speech: Where to draw the line? eSchool News, 11/6/2009
Controlling what children see on TV, online, and in other electronic media requires a delicate balancing act between the First Amendment rights of content providers and the desire to protect kids from inappropriate material, said panelists during a Nov. 2 discussion at the Georgetown Law Center in Washington, D.C.[read on]
Teens sue school over punishment for racy pics Associated Press, 10/30/2009
Two sophomore girls have sued their school district after they were punished for posting sexually suggestive photos on MySpace during their summer vacation.
The American Civil Liberties Union, in a federal lawsuit filed last week on behalf of the girls, argues that Churubusco High School violated the girls' free speech rights when it banned them from extracurricular activities for a joke that didn't involve the school. [read on]
Government wades into digital parenting anxieties The Washington Post, 10/26/2009
When it comes to parenting in the digital age, I'm a bit of a mess. I view our technology tricked-out home with both adoration, loathing, and certainly anxiety. I Love how my six-year-old daughter and I looked up the difference between snails and slugs on a Wikipedia iPhone app. I hate that after watching an online clip of the Wizard of Oz, she was oddly steered to another video of a couple in heavy liplock.[read on]
Guardians of Their Smiles The New York Times, 10/23/2009
FOR Jessica Gwozdz, a professional photographer and mother of two, Flickr was a blessing. It allowed her to share photos of her children, Grace and Henry, with distant, tech-averse relatives for whom a username and password would have been too great an obstacle. It even allowed potential clients to freely browse her gallery.[read on]
Sex-offender residency restrictions don't make kids safer Newsday.com, 10/16/2009
Conventional wisdom is a powerful force that often leads the well-intentioned astray. For example, there's the widespread belief that we can make children safer by restricting where known sex offenders are allowed to live. The notion is enticing in its simplicity. [read on]
At Girls' Summit, an Image Betwixt and Be Tween The Washington Post, 10/13/2009
We are at the First National Tween Girl Summit, and we are looking for tweens who sext.
Sexting! The evil blend of technology and smut, the process by which your daughters electronically receive -- and send! -- lewd photos. All tweens sext, according to concerned TV pundits everywhere. That's what tweens do.
Two cyberbullying bills duke it out in House committee ars technica, 10/1/2009
The House Judiciary Committee listened to testimonies this week that argued the differences between two proposed laws aimed at cyberbullying. The two bills take decidedly different approaches, and many of the experts at the hearing favored one that focused on education.
Cyberbullying: a challenge in the digital age ABC Online, 9/17/2009
Being digitally connected around the clock brings huge benefits for many of us, but for an increasing number of children this new connectedness also brings with it the frightening world of 24/7 bullying.
UN expert: child porn on Internet increases Associated Press, 9/16/2009
The number of Web sites containing child pornography is increasing and more images show serious abuses, a U.N. expert said Wednesday.
More than 4 million Web sites worldwide show images of children being sexually exploited, said the U.N. investigator on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, Najat M'jid Maalla.
Communication, monitoring are key to protecting children online TMCNet.com, 9/10/2009
Children spending time online has become about as common as children riding bicycles. But for their parents, especially those who aren't technologically savvy, it's a strange frontier to monitor.
According to a recent Nielsen Online report, children ages 2 to 11 are spending more time online than their parents. That age group's online time increased more in the past five years than any other age group, according to the study.
Vague Cyberbullying Law The New York Times, 9/7/2009
Lori Drew acted grotesquely if, as prosecutors charged, she went online and bullied her daughter's classmate, a 13-year-old girl who ended up committing suicide. A federal court was right, however, to throw out her misdemeanor convictions recently.
Sexting banned in schools: Shouldn't this be obvious? Boston.com, 8/27/2009
It seems obvious to us as parents: Like emails and anything you post to Facebook, text messages can go public in an instant. But while we're thinking of private information like social security numbers and credit card codes, some teenagers (and even tweens) are sending, receiving, and forwarding something far more personal: nude and semi-nude pictures of themselves.
First Person Arrested for Cyberbullying After Missouri Suicide DaniWeb, 8/25/2009
As predicted, a number of cyberbullying laws were put into effect after the suicide of Megan Meier last fall, which left prosecutors unable to charge the Missouri woman who created a fake MySpace person to mock the 13-year-old girl with anything other than violating MySpace's terms of service.
Overreaction to online harassment The Los Angeles Times, 8/22/2009
The tragic case of Megan Meier, the Missouri teen who committed suicide in 2006 after being bullied on MySpace, is still rippling through the courts and Congress. Meier's tormentors weren't charged locally because Missouri law only barred harassment by mail or phone.
Cox: Ban Internet Child Sex Offenders from MySpace, Facebook, craigslist The Michigan News, 8/20/2009
Attorney General Mike Cox and six state legislators today announced Internet child protection legislation which would ban convicted Internet child sex predators from social networking websites like MySpace and Facebook, require Internet child sex offenders to appear on the state sex offender registry, and mandate lengthier sentences for possession and distribution of child pornography.
What Parents Don’t Know About How Their Kids Use Facebook , MySpace U.S News and World Report, 8/13/2009
Parents of teenagers know how important texting and social
networking sites like MySpace, Bebo, and Facebook are to the over-13 set. But
if we think we know what our kids say and do on the sites, we're kidding
ourselves. My 13- and 14-year-old nephews kindly remind me more often than I'd
like of my cluelessness, and a new survey confirms that I'm not the only parent
who has no idea.
Sexting and sexy snaps on social networks TechDigest, 8/7/2009
I haven't been able to move this week for news about 'sexting'. I must confess that I was only vaguely familiar with the term, thinking it had been made up by a journalist for publicity purposes and wasn't a real problem. How wrong I was.
How to Keep Kids Out of Cyber-Trouble: Top Tips for 6 Problem Areas PRNewswire, 7/29/2009
Every day, it seems, the news carries another cyber-horror story. Last week, five Internet predators in Pennsylvania were arrested for sexually propositioning undercover agents in a chat room, in several cases sending nude webcam videos of themselves to agents they believed were 13- and 14-year-old girls.
The Internet and how anonymity can affect you Examiner.com, 7/26/2009
Hidden behind every computer screen lies a Teacher, Student, Artist, Politician, Mechanic, Con-artist, Mother, Father, Son, Daughter, etc.. Behind the computer hides a blank shadow of a person, a blank canvas to paint yourself into who ever you want to be. A lot of websites require you to sign up for access to emails, games, or even forums.
Officer: 'Kids have no idea' about dangers lurking online TMCnews, 7/25/2009
Just because they are on your friend list, doesn't make them your friends.
In fact, Det. Tammy Moews says unless you know someone personally, you shouldn't add him or her to your friend list on popular social-networking sites like MySpace and Facebook.
Still Not Taking Sexting Problem Seriously? Read This EducationWeek, 7/21/2009
If you've been skeptical or indifferent about the potential perils of sexting and whether schools need to be concerned about students sending inappropriate photos of themselves electronically to classmates, you've got to read this piece in GQ magazine.
Stop Cyberbullying with Education CBS News.com, 7/15/2009
The first things you need to know about cyberbullying are that it's not an epidemic and it's not killing our children. Yes, it's probably one of the more widespread youth risks on the Internet and yes there are some well publicized cases of cyberbullying victims who have committed suicide, but let's look at this in context.
School bullying, once a silent battle, now a crime Associated Press, 7/6/2009
In a Tampa middle school locker room, prosecutors say four flag football players held down a younger teammate and committed a horrifying assault: Raping him with a hockey stick and a broom handle.
"Don't do it again or this is going to happen to you again," a witness says he heard one of the boys say in the April attack.
Two decades ago, the attack may have stayed a secret. Victims of hazing, bullying and sexual assault are still often too terrified to report their attackers — though officials say that's starting to change.
Ending the national panic on 'sexting' The Los Angeles Times, 6/22/2009
Text messages are forcing us to rethink the way we deal with the difficult issues that arise when teenagers get involved with sex; The Times addressed this touchy issue in its June 1 editorial, "Keeping an eye on ‘sexting.’ " Some in law enforcement have taken extreme measures against teens who send sexually explicit words and images using cellphones and Internet sites. Their solution?
Why Do Teens Engage in “Sexting?” The Wall Street Journal, 6/15/2009
Much of the talk about teens’ sexting — sending nude or sexually explicit photos of themselves or peers to others via cell phone — has focused on what legal or educational tools adults should use to curb it.
Pediatricians Tackle Bullying CBS Evening News, 6/12/2009
One group of doctors is taking on bullying. They're coming out with some ideas on ways to halt the violence that 8 percent of kids say happens to them every day; another 7 percent say it happens every week.
CBS News correspondent Kelly Wallace reports that YouTube generation did not invent bullying, but has made it more visible.
What Do I Tell My Kids About Sexting? HealthNewsDigest.com , 6/5/2009
When it comes to talking with your kids about healthy relationships, it’s probably never been harder to be a parent than it is today. The celebrities teens follow are making headlines not for the music they make, but for the violence they commit or experience.
Sexting: Just a modern version of spin-the-bottle? The Daily News, 5/27/2009
Is sexting the new spin-the-bottle?
At a conference this week, an associate professor at York University in Toronto defended sexting (where teens exchange nude and seminude photos of themselves over their cell phones) as a modern day “playing doctor or spin the bottle,” according to an AFP article.
Are you a digital stalker? More states toughening laws ABC Action News, 5/22/2009
During court-mandated private therapy sessions, teenage victims of domestic violence sit across from social worker Lora Watkins with cell phones in their hands -- still sending dozens of text messages to their abusers. It's maddening, but Watkins, an adolescent domestic violence therapist for nearly a decade, is accustomed to having an unwelcome third participant in the room: the cell phone.
Group shows how to avoid cyber bullying 7Online.com, 5/19/2009
Some students are learning how to protect themselves against bullies who use the Internet to attack. As social networking Web sites grow, so do cyber bullies.
Attorney: Probation advised in MySpace suicide Associated Press, 5/4/2009
A Missouri mother involved in a MySpace hoax on a 13-year-old neighbor girl who committed suicide should be placed on probation for one year and fined $5,000 for her misdemeanor convictions, probation officials recommended.
How Should Teens' "Sexting" – the Sending of Revealing Photos – Be Regulated? FindLaw, 4/28/2009
"sexting" – the practice of sending nude or semi-nude photos of oneself or others via cellphone. After some "sexted" photos were confiscated from students at a high school, the local District Attorney threatened to file broad child-pornography charges if the teens were not willing to enroll in a five-week compulsory educational program covering topics such as "what it means to be a girl in today's society."
A kinder, gentler response to adolescent "sexting" ars technical, 4/23/2009
They came from pretty much every sector—nonprofits, government, wireless executives, and think tanks—to a day-long conference in Washington D.C. on how to respond to the panic du jour over kids, mobile phones, and sex.[read on]
Coping with Sexting The Huffington Post, 4/18/2009
Now that we've gotten those infernal tea-bagging parties out of the way, let's get to what's really important: sexting and teens.
I hope I don't need to explain what this trend is, because I'd just as soon leave that to Urban Dictionary or to Good Morning America, which recently held a no-holds-barred Town Hall meeting with parents and teens on the issue.
Software That Guards Virtual Playgrounds The New York Times, 4/17/2009
VIRTUAL worlds for children and teenagers — Web sites like Neopets, Club Penguin and Habbo — are a big business. On these sites, children create an avatar and, with it, explore an imaginary universe. They can play games, chat and decorate virtual rooms or other spaces.
FBI Targets Scammers Posing as Minors to Target Would-Be Pedophiles Fox News.com, 4/11/2009
In the past five years, federal authorities have arrested more than 11,000 "online predators," at least in part as a result of officers posing as minors on the Internet to attract would-be pedophiles. But the FBI is increasingly seeing cases of computer-savvy scammers posing as minors online to steal financial information or extort money from those would-be pedophiles.
Don't Expect Privacy on Public MySpace Blogs PCMag.com, 4/9/2009
Guess what? That unlocked rant you put on your MySpace profile is open to the public and can be seen by anyone with a computer. Imagine that!
Cynthia Moreno learned this the hard way. A judge ruled earlier this month that it was not an invasion of her privacy when a local newspaper published a rant pulled from her MySpace blog.
Study: Underage-Solicitation Stings Nab More Web Predators E-Commerce Times, 4/4/2009
Arrests for sexually soliciting youths online rose over the first half of the decade, mainly due to better enforcement techniques, according to a recent study. Researchers looked at activity from 2000 to 2006, a period in which Internet use rose sharply.
Protecting kids while protecting free speech First Amendment Center, 3/31/2009
If Wikipedia is to be believed, cyberbullying involves “the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated and hostile behavior by an individual or group that is intended to harm others.” Cyberbullying has eclipsed sexual predators on the Internet as the number one concern of policymakers, parents and kids themselves.
Girl posts nude pics, is charged with kid porn Associated Press, 3/27/2009
A 14-year-old New Jersey girl has been accused of child pornography after posting nearly 30 explicit nude pictures of herself on MySpace.com — charges that could force her to register as a sex offender if convicted.
Explicit Cellphone Photos Could Land Teenagers in Prison The New York Times, 3/26/2009
One in five teenagers may be child pornographers risking life in prison — for the crime of taking and distributing naked pictures of themselves.
This statement, though seemingly ridiculous on many levels, is true.
Students Sue Prosecutor in Cellphone Photos Case The New York Times, 3/25/2009
When a high school cheerleader in northeastern Pennsylvania learned that she might face criminal charges after investigators reported finding a nude photo of her on someone else’s cellphone, she was more confused than frightened at being caught up in a case of “sexting”: the increasingly popular phenomenon of nude or seminude photos sent over wireless phones.
Internet predators continue to multiply Associated Press, 3/20/2009
Eric Szatkowski is a Wisconsin Justice Department special agent, but on that Sunday afternoon he entered an online chat room as a 14-year-old boy.
He claimed he was into weightlifting, AC/DC and muscle magazines. Then he waited.
Within hours, screen name Paul2u sent a message: "Hi. u realy 14?"
Is a computer virus stealing your identity? Associated Press, 3/16/2009
Computer-virus infections don't cause your machine to crash anymore.
Nowadays, the criminals behind the infections usually want your computer operating in top form so you don't know something's wrong. That way, they can log your keystrokes and steal any passwords or credit-card numbers you enter at Web sites, or they can link your infected computer with others to send out spam.
Teen sues Facebook over cyberbullying Yahoo Tech, 3/12/2009
Largely as expected, folks are getting awfully litigious over comments made on the increasingly popular social network sites.
Following the hubbub generated by the Lori Drew case, more victims of what they feel to be cyber-abuse are looking to the courts to straighten out the situation. The latest news: A New York teenager named Denise Finkel is suing four former high school classmates, their parents, and Facebook over an alleged bullying incident "in a private forum."
Internet Safety Act Would Make Us Less Safe ABC News, 3/11/2009
Lawmakers recently called for a new federal law that would require any provider of Internet access to keep records related to the identity of anyone using its computer networks -- for up to two years.
That means all Internet service providers, businesses providing employees with Internet access, coffee shops and restaurants offering WiFi connections, libraries, and other Internet-enabled places would, at a minimum, be required to maintain records of who used a particular computer to access the Internet and when.
Facebook Named In Cyber-Bullying Suit InformationWeek, 3/4/2009
A Long Island, N.Y., teenager has sued Facebook, some of its users, and those users' parents in a lawsuit that alleges the teen was traumatized through cyberbullying on the social networking site. Denise Finkel claims that her former classmates at Oceanside High School created a Facebook chat group to ostracize, ridicule, and disgrace her. She is seeking $3 million in damages.
Stalkers turn to cell phones to 'textually harass' Associated Press, 3/3/2009
The college student had endured months of online and cell phone harassment from her ex-boyfriend. She ignored the barrage of e-mails, changed her phone number and dismantled online profiles to cut him off.
Then one evening, her cell phone signaled a new text message. It was him again.
FTC: ID theft cases surge; 20-somethings biggest percentage of complaints ZDNet, 2/27/2009
The number of identification theft cases surged in 2008, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s annual data.
In 2008, ID theft was by far the biggest complaint to the FTC, representing 26 percent of complaints. The next biggest complaint–third party and creditor debt collection scams–represented only 9 percent of complaints.
Facebook gives sex offenders the boot Associated Press, 2/19/2009
Facebook has removed more than 5,500 convicted sex offenders from its social networking Web site since May, Connecticut's attorney general said Thursday.
Richard Blumenthal said the world's largest social networking site, which claims to have more than 175 million active members, reported to his office that 5,585 convicted sex offenders were found on the Web site and removed between May 1, 2008, and Jan. 31, 2009.
Microsoft and Girl Scouts take on online safety ars technica, 2/13/2009
Seattle Tech Report discovered that Microsoft has teamed up with Girl Scouts of the USA to create LMK ("let me know"), an online safety website for girls. There is a version for teenagers, lmk.girlscouts.org (blogs, forums, articles, quizzes, and polls), and one for parents, letmeknow.girlscouts.org (lead by Internet security lawyer Parry Aftab). Subjects that are discussed include cyberbullying, predators, and social networking.
Monitoring your kids on that pesky Internet CNN.com, 2/10/2009
The Internet, just like the real world, is filled with its upstanding citizens, lowlife greaseballs, civic centers, red light districts, libraries, dirty bookstores, video arcades, casinos, museums and bootleg kiosks.
Parents wary of allowing their children out of the house without certain guidelines -- like "don't cross the street without looking both ways," "be home by 8" and "stay away from that shifty-eyed drifter who hangs out under the bridge" -- should have a series of equally reasonable guidelines for their children when they venture into the potentially seedy online world.
MySpace Turns Over 90,000 Names of Registered Sex Offenders The New York Times, 2/3/2009
MySpace provided two state attorneys general the names of 90,000 registered sex offenders it had banned from its site in response to a subpoena.
The figure is 40,000 more than the amount previously acknowledged by MySpace, according to Attorney General Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, who along with Attorney General Roy Cooper of North Carolina are among officials pressing social networking sites to adopt more stringent safety measures.
New study challenges attorneys general on predator danger CNETnews.com, 1/28/2009
There's a war of words brewing, with several Internet safety organizations, researchers, and social-networking companies on one side and some state attorneys general on the other.
Earlier this month, the Internet Safety Technical Task Force, run out of Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, issued a report stating that Internet predator danger to kids is not as high as some have claimed.
Rules to curb online bullying raise concerns MSNBC, 1/23/2009
Avery Doninger has put off going to college so she can volunteer with AmeriCorps — at least when she’s not in court.
Doninger, 18, graduated from Lewis Mills High School in Burlington, Conn., last June, but she has not left it behind. She is at the center of a landmark free-speech case, stemming from her days at the school, that appears headed for the Supreme Court
Online pornography law appeal denied Associated Press, 1/21/2009
The government has lost its final attempt to revive a federal law intended to protect children from sexual material and other objectionable content on the Internet.
Consequences of social-network parental controls CNETnews.com, 1/19/2009
Last week I wrote about the final report of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force that dispelled some myths about predator danger, pointing out that--while predators remain a threat--teens are far more likely to be bullied, harassed, or even sexually solicited by another young person than by an adult predator.
The task force, on which I served as a representative of the nonprofit ConnectSafely.org, was asked by a group of state attorneys general to evaluate technical solutions for keeping kids safe online.
Teens send nude pics to one other, face kiddie porn charges Ars Technica, 1/14/2009
There are a number of reasons to think twice (or three times, or four times, or fifty times) before sending a nude photo of yourself to someone electronically. But, if you're under the age of 18, there's at least one big, glaring, serious reason: you and the recipient could be charged with trafficking child pornography.
Unemployed A Big Spam/Phishing Target In 2009 WebPorNews, 1/7/2009
Expect more sophisticated spamming in 2009. And thanks to the economy, an increase in scams targeting the down and out, the tax-rebate hopeful, and the noble yet digitally naïve pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps market.
In Several States, A Push to Stem Cyber-Bullying Washington Post, 1/1/2009
In California, a hateful Internet campaign followed sixth-grader Olivia Gardner through three schools. In Vermont, a humiliated Ryan Halligan, 13, took his own life after being encouraged to do so by one of his middle-school peers. And in perhaps the most notorious case, Lori Drew, 49, was recently convicted on misdemeanor charges for posing as a teenage boy on MySpace to woo and then reject 13-year-old Megan Meier of Missouri, who later hanged herself in her closet.
Cyber Bullying-It's not just for kids Examiner.com, 12/27/2008
Cyberbullying has become a growing problem for parents and educators. School districts have been trying to find ways to deal with this ever increasing problem among young people, but it is often difficult. Unlike school-based bullying, cyberbullying takes place outside of school grounds and therefore falls outside of school jurisdiction.
Opinion: Criticism of woman's prosecution in cyberbullying case is off base San Jose Mercury News, 12/22/2008
Last month a Los Angeles jury convicted Lori Drew, a 49 year-old woman, of three counts of violating the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. She created a MySpace account to misrepresent herself as a 16-year-old boy to harass 13-year-old Megan Meier, who, as a result, committed suicide. The use of this federal statute to prosecute an egregious case of cyberbullying has been sharply attacked in the press. The criticisms are premised on two totally incorrect assertions — first, that the law was intended only to prosecute hackers, and second, that use of this law against Drew opens the door to wholesale prosecutions of everyone who lies on the Internet.
Talking To Your Kids About Cyberbullying The Wall Street Journal, 12/18/2008
If your teenager or pre-teen were being harassed or bullied on-line, would he or she tell you?
Cyberbullying is a growing problem, as reported in today’s “Work & Family” column. More than one in five students said in a study by Clemson University researchers that they’ve either been victims of on-line harassment, have been the bullies themselves, or in some cases played both the bully and victim roles.
More states posting criminal records online Associated Press, 12/15/2008
Worried your daughter's new boyfriend might have a nefarious past? Want to know whether the job applicant in front of you has a rap sheet?
Finding out can be a mouse click away, thanks to the growing crop of searchable online databases run directly by states. Vermont launched its service Monday, and now about 20 states have some form of them.
Group Wants Obama to Name Officer to Fight Online Dangers washingtonpost.com, 12/11/2008
Online safety advocates are urging President-elect Barack Obama to put more resources toward protecting children from crime, harassment and predators on the Web.
In a report to be released today, the Family Online Safety Institute, a Washington nonprofit organization, is urging the new administration to appoint a national safety officer to serve under the chief technology officer, a position Obama has promised to create.
The Next Generation of Cyber-Threats TechNewsWorld, 12/9/2008
With each passing year, hackers come up with new ideas, or variations of past ideas, to combine technology and social engineering to deceive users and attack networks for their financial benefit. The mid-2000s saw the proliferation of botnet attacks used for spam, targeted attacks and worse, while 2007 and 2008 have seen the rise of SQL injection attacks and other Web site exploits as hackers increasingly focus on social networking sites to target millions of users.
Here's your Web allowance. Don't use it on porn MSNBC , 12/5/2008
Isn’t it enough that the government thinks they know better than us when it comes to spending our entertainment dollars? In February, they’re making our perfectly adequate faux wood-paneled TVs obsolete by cramming free digital TV down our throats.
Now that meddling FCC wants to tell us what to do — or rather what we can’t do — with our free broadband …
Thieves Winning Online War, Maybe in Your PC The New York Times, 12/5/2008
Internet security is broken, and nobody seems to know quite how to fix it.
Despite the efforts of the computer security industry and a half-decade struggle by Microsoft to protect its Windows operating system, malicious software is spreading faster than ever. The so-called malware surreptitiously takes over a PC and then uses that computer to spread more malware to other machines exponentially.
The following editorial appeared in the Chicago Tribune on Monday, Dec. 1:
Surfing the Internet carries all sorts of minor hazards, including pop-up ads, vitriolic bloggers and time-wasting videos. As of last week, it also carries one that is anything but minor: the threat of criminal prosecution.
That's the implication of the jury verdict in the case of Lori Drew in the infamous MySpace case.
Verdict in MySpace Suicide Case The New York Times, 11/26/2008
A federal jury here issued what legal experts said was the country’s first cyberbullying verdict Wednesday, convicting a Missouri woman of three misdemeanor charges of computer fraud for her involvement in creating a phony account on MySpace to trick a teenager, who later committed suicide.
MySpace-hoax trial shines light on federal cyberbullying bill Firstamandmentcenter.org, 11/20/2008
As federal prosecutors in California began this week to try a Missouri woman on charges of online fraud in connection with the suicide of a teenager, a bill to more directly confront cyberbullying remains in a congressional subcommittee.
The Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act, introduced in May by Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., would amend Title 18 of the United States Code to punish electronic harassment.
Cybercrime crusaders shut down shadowy Web hosting operation San Jose Mercury News, 11/16/2008
When cybercrime crusaders this week persuaded Internet service providers to disconnect a shadowy Web hosting operation called McColo, the impact was dramatic — an instant 40 percent drop in spam and other "badness'" across some e-mail networks, security experts say.
McColo, which operated from servers in San Jose, was alleged to be a conduit for activities that included fraud and child pornography, according to a "Cyber Crime USA" report issued Tuesday by an alliance of private-sector Internet security advocates.
Microsoft fixes critical Web bugs with security updates The New York Times, 11/11/2008
Microsoft released two security updates for its Windows operating system Tuesday to patch flaws that could give attackers new ways to install malicious software on a victim's computer.
The MS08-069 update fixes critical flaws in the Microsoft XML Core Services used by Internet Explorer and other programs to render Web pages. [read on]
Microsoft reports improved security for Windows amid growing threats VentureBeat, 11/8/2008
Microsoft said today that security for Windows Vista has gotten better, but the threats from online attackers have become more serious.
Among the culprits are organized criminals who have gone online, and naive users who are duped by message scams. The company’s fifth Security Intelligence Report said that the amount of malicious software removed from Windows computers grew 43 percent in the first half of 2008, compared to the first half of 2007.
Youth violence linked to Web sites, study claims Reuters, 11/5/2008
Young people exposed to violent media are more likely to lash out violently themselves, new research published in Pediatrics shows.
"Our findings add to the growing evidence that violence in the media is related to aggressive behavior, including seriously violent behavior among youths," Dr. Michele L. Ybarra of Internet Solutions for Kids in Santa Ana, California and her colleagues report.
Today Kicks Off Stop Internet Predators Awareness Week MarketWatch, 10/27/2008
Child Safety Coalition focuses efforts to protect the safety and security of children during the last week of October, Cyber Security Awareness Month
Today marks the beginning of Stop Internet Predators Week, the last week of Cyber Security Awareness Month, as part of a new campaign by Stop Child Predators to raise awareness nationwide about emerging technologies that threaten the safety and security of children.
Making Punishments Fit the Most Offensive Crimes The Wall Street Journal, 10/23/2008
Are people who download and view child pornography -- but aren't themselves molesters -- as much of a threat to society as rapists or murderers?
The question, being raised by federal judges in response to tough sentences meted out to consumers of child pornography, goes to society's view of repugnant behavior and the legislative response to it.
Will it be our job to legitimise the web? ZDnet, 10/22/2008
Nobody likes to say it, and nobody likes hearing it. People squirm, pull semi-distressed faces, people become uncomfortable at the thought and sound of these next words. These dreaded words - “online child abuse“.
Over the course of the last 10 years, the Internet has slowly become a feeding ground for criminal activity; a hotspot for offending material and a shooting range for the police and intelligence services.
21 Internet Predators Arrested in Sting MarketWatch, 10/20/2008
Attorney General Mike Cox and Kent County Sheriff Larry Stelma today announced the arrest of 21 individuals who attempted to engage in sexual activity with children they met on the Internet. The arrests resulted from a joint Internet Child Predator Sting conducted in Kent County from October 17 to 19.
These predators were arrested by Attorney General Agents and Kent County Sheriff Deputies at or near a decoy home in Grand Rapids Township after engaging in explicit Internet chats with undercover agents posing as children
ISPs are pressed to become child porn cops MSNBC.com , 10/16/2008
New technologies and changes in U.S. law are adding to pressures to turn Internet service providers into cops examining all Internet traffic for child pornography.
One new tool, being marketed in the U.S. by an Australian company, offers to check every file passing through an Internet provider's network — every image, every movie, every document attached to an e-mail or found in a Web search — to see if it matches a list of illegal images.
eGuardian and Web Wise Kids Collaborate to Protect Children From Internet Dangers Marketwire via Yahoo Finance, 10/15/2008
eGuardian, the only online protection to block predators effectively and make search engines and social networking sites safer for children, today announced a collaboration with Web Wise Kids, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering today's youth to make wise choices online.
Web site invites kids to report bullies incognito Associated Press, 10/14/2008
Hoping to combat the "snitch" label that often leads to silent suffering, six Utah schools have introduced a Web site that allows students to anonymously report bullies.
A Brigham Young University student, Justin Bergener, created the site, which also lets students post information about thefts, drugs and harassment.
CyberPatrol Offers Free Online Safety Videos School Library Journal, 10/8/2008
As part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, CyberPatrol has unveiled a series of family-oriented online safety videos that provide parents, educators, and others with easy to understand and useful advice on how to protect children from predators, cyberbullies, inappropriate material, and other online threats.
Celebrities Join Love Our Children USA To STOMP Out Bullying PNN Online, 10/1/2008
Love Our Children USA announced today the launch of its national campaign STOMP Out Bullying. Teen Celebrities Demi Lovato and JoJo are participating in the public service campaign, which includes TV spots, videos, posters, brochures and wristbands. Others celebrities are slated to join the ongoing campaign. The Geppetto Group created the poster and video campaign.
Feds Aim to Tighten Net Around Online Predators E -Commerce Times, 9/24/2008
Home is no longer a safe haven for children, said U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, as he announced a new agreement among law enforcement agencies to combat online predators. The "new and hidden threats" of the Internet call for greater cooperation at all levels, along with the use of sophisticated technical tools.
Help line in the works for cyberbullying victims CNET News.com, 9/24/2008
A grassroots organization is working on a help line to support kids dealing with cyberbullying and other online issues, particularly on social networks.
In an interview Wednesday following a meeting of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force at Harvard University, Parry Aftab, the director of the national advocacy group WiredSafety, said her organization had started working on a pilot project to support cyber-bullying targets in West Chester County, New York.
Social network providers urged to enhance security The Industry Standard, 9/22/2008
Without proper security, the potential of social networks, virtual worlds and real-time mapping services cannot be fully exploited, according to research house Gartner.
"Improved security in virtual environments should be a joint responsibility between individuals, companies and service providers," said Gartner research director Andrew Walls told a Singapore conference. "There are some steps that users themselves must take, some things their employers can do, and some that the providers of virtual environments could do to reduce the risks."
It's a fact of life we've all experienced. Gone are the days, however, when avoiding a bully meant ducking out of the back door at school. Thanks to personal computers, cellphones and instant messaging, it's now easier than ever for children to attack each other, often anonymously.[read on]
AOL Launches New Online Safety Site and Upgrades Parental Controls... WebWire, 9/12/2008
AOL launched a new online safety education Web site, SafetyClicks.com, and introduced an improved version of its free, downloadable parental controls software. The upgraded software no longer requires an AOL screen name and now works with any e-mail address.
The SafetyClicks.com site features articles, videos and an interactive quiz – the "Online Safety IQ Challenge" –designed to help educate parents about how to best protect kids and teens in a Web 2.0 world. [read on]
Bullying: Help your child handle a school bully MayoClinic.com , 9/2/2008
Bullying was once considered a childhood rite of passage. Today, however, bullying is recognized as a serious problem. Up to half of all children are bullied at some point during their school years, according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. And thanks to tech-savvy kids, cyberbullying and other forms of electronic harassment are now commonplace — even in elementary schools.
A holistic approach to protecting kids online Todayonline.com , 8/30/2008
CYBERBULLYING, addiction and sexual predators— children are exposed to all sorts of risks online.To protect these minors, the Advisory Council on the Impact of New Media on Society (Aims) has suggested setting up a dedicated coordinating agency and an annual national fund, to be co-funded by the Government and the private sector.
As School Year Begins, Cyber-Bullying Presents a Complex Legal Landscape Newswise, 8/25/2008
As students across the country prepare to return to school, school districts face an often complicated and confusing legal landscape on how to deal with cyber-bullies in their schools, according to a researcher from the University of New Hampshire.
Todd DeMitchell, professor of education, studies school liability, adequate supervision, and responses to preventing bullying and cyber-bullying from school administrators and state legislatures. In addition to his research in this area, DeMitchell has two decades of experience in K-12 as a teacher, principal and superintendent.
CyberBully Alert Develops Innovative Method for Combating Growing Problem of Online Cyberbullying mmdnewswire.com, 8/18/2008
In an effort to protect children and teenagers online, Vanden Corporation, based in California and dedicated to youth safety is proud to introduce CyberBully Alert a ground-breaking software designed to help the thousands of young people who every day are the victim of the growing crime of cyberbullying.
CyberBully Alert is a web-based solution that simplifies the notification and documentation of cyberbullying. It lets children instantly notify predetermined, caring adults of bullying or online harassment — in a communication style used by today’s tech-savvy, young people.
Bullying takes twisted turn for the worse San Francisco Chronicle, 8/17/2008
Oakland first-grader Zachary Cataldo suffered a skull fracture when a fifth-grader allegedly slammed him against a tree in April as he waited to be picked up after school at Piedmont Avenue Elementary.
Novato middle-school student Olivia Gardner was bullied so mercilessly after having had an epileptic seizure at school that her mother transferred her to another school - twice.
Thirteen-year-old Missouri eighth-grader Megan Meier committed suicide in 2006 after she was victimized by an Internet hoax designed to humiliate her.
California Lawmakers Consider Cyberbullying Bill CNET, 8/11/2008
School bullies who use the Internet or text messaging to harass fellow students could be kicked out of school under a bill being considered by the California Legislature.
Assembly Bill 86, introduced by Assemblyman Ted Lieu of Torrance, passed the Senate on Monday by a 21-11 vote and now heads back to the Assembly for consideration of Senate amendments, according to an Associated Press report. If the Assembly approves the Senate amendments, the bill will be sent to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
California lawmakers consider cyberbullying bill CNET, 8/11/2008
School bullies who use the Internet or text messaging to harass fellow students could be kicked out of school under a bill being considered by the California Legislature.
Assembly Bill 86, introduced by Assemblyman Ted Lieu of Torrance, passed the Senate on Monday by a 21-11 vote and now heads back to the Assembly for consideration of Senate amendments, according to an Associated Press report. If the Assembly approves the Senate amendments, the bill will be sent to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
CyberBully Alert Develops Innovative Method for Combating Growing Problem of Online Cyberbullying PR.com, 7/28/2008
Murrieta, CA – In an effort to protect children and teenagers online, California software developer CyberBully Alert is proud to introduce a ground-breaking new product designed to help the thousands of young people who every day are the victim of the growing crime of cyberbullying.
CyberBully Alert is a web-based solution that simplifies the notification and documentation of cyberbullying. It allows children to instantly send alerts to their parents regarding potentially harmful online conversations and interactions the moment the bullying occurs. With a click of the mouse, parents are notified and the unwanted behavior is stored for future use with school officials, other parents or law enforcement authorities.
Invasive new technologies alarming parents The Washington Times, 7/28/2008
Child predators can access pictures of your son or daughter's school, bus stop, soccer field or even your home - all without setting foot in your neighborhood, according to child-safety advocates who urge parents to be vigilant about new technologies like Google Inc.'s "Street View" application.
Stop Child Predators, a group of policy experts, law-enforcement officials and parents, last week opened a new campaign targeted at online programs they say could unwittingly aid perverts and deviants.
Study: Online threats emerging faster than ever Associated Press, 7/28/2008
SAN JOSE, Calif. - The bad guys on the Internet are narrowing the time frame they need to unleash computer attacks that take advantage of publicly disclosed security holes, new research shows.
More and more of these attacks are coming within 24 hours after a vulnerability is disclosed. That means security flaws are being exploited in Web browsers, computer operating systems and other programs before many people even have had time to learn there's a problem, according to IBM Corp.'s latest Internet Security Systems X-Force report. [read on]
N.Y. Leans on Comcast to Fight Child Porn InformationWeek, 7/22/2008
Comcast has signed a national agreement promising to limit the distribution of child pornography, but that's not enough for New York state.
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said he'll give the company five days to sign an agreement with the state before he pursues legal action, according to a report from Reuters.
Last month, several Internet service providers signed an agreement with New York to block newsgroups and Web sites where child pornography is distributed. Users complained that several companies blocked all newsgroups instead of narrowly targeting those that distribute child pornography.
How can cyberbullies be stopped? The News & Observer, 7/20/2008
The episodes are hurtful, ugly -- and sometimes deadly. In Lakeland, Fla., a group of teenagers records the beating of another teen. The local sheriff says the attack was in retaliation for online trash-talking by the victim.
At a high school near Pittsburgh, an anonymous e-mail list features sexually explicit rankings of 25 female students, names and photos included.
In suburban Dardenne Prairie, Mo., near St. Louis, 13-year-old Megan Meier hangs herself after receiving cruel messages on the social-networking site MySpace.
With Bullying, Suicide Risk for Victims and Tormentors The New York Times, 7/18/2008
A broad analysis of childhood bullying and the link with suicide has found that it's not just the victims of bullying who are at risk. Bullies themselves also are more likely to have suicidal thoughts.
The finding comes from a review of bullying research from 13 countries. Researchers from the Yale School of Medicine have found that both bullies and their victims appear to be at high risk for suicidal thoughts, according to the report published in the International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health.
AT&T and AOL Agree to Fight Child Pornography The New York Times, 7/10/2008
Two of the largest Internet service providers, AT&T and America Online, have reached agreements with the state attorney general, Andrew M. Cuomo, to eliminate access to newsgroups where child pornography is posted and purge their own servers of child pornography Web sites.
The deal, announced on Thursday morning, follows agreements reached last month with Verizon, Sprint, and Time Warner Cable.
Missouri: Cyberbullying Law Is Signed Missouri: Cyberbullying Law Is Signed, 7/1/2008
Gov. Matt Blunt signed a bill outlawing cyberbullying in a ceremony just miles from where a 13-year-old girl committed suicide nearly two years ago after being harassed on the Internet. The bill updates state laws against harassment by removing the requirement that the communication be written or over a telephone.
7 Rules for MySpace Parents PC Magazine, 6/25/2008
As the parent of a teen, I'm coming to the slow and somewhat unpleasant realization that I may have misjudged MySpace. I'm not saying that I have any higher opinion of the social-networking environment than before, but I'm not so sure it's going anywhere anytime soon. How could something that's so perfect a reflection of the teenage psyche ever disappear? The teen mind, as best as I can discern from the teens I know (and vague recollections of my own teenage years), is an ever-shifting miasma of emotion, pain, euphoria, sexual interest, and a measurement of one's social status. That's also a pitch-perfect description of most MySpace pages. They're confused, muddled, and urgent. If you could shake the contents of a teenage mind out onto a page, I imagine that these pages are exactly what you'd find. Thing is, some of the pages aren't built by teens. They're built and maintained by predators (ah, but you knew this already), and quite a few were built and are now maintained by parents (this, perhaps, you didn't know).[read on]
Nonprofit Organizations Collaborate to Help Keep Kids Safe Online Government Technology, 6/12/2008
In recognition of National Internet Safety Month, AT&T today announced a collaboration with Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), the Internet Keep Safe Coalition (IKeepSafe), Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) officers and Enough Is Enough to promote a safe online experience for consumers. AT&T also encouraged parents to be involved in their children's online activity, including wireless devices and computers."We've taught our children to be wary of 'stranger danger' on the playground, but their wide use of the Internet and networking sites expands the dangers of a virtual playground that reaches into our homes," said U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean, who sponsored the U.S. House of Representatives resolution designating June as National Internet Safety Month.[read on]
Leading ISP's Reach Agreement to Block Child Pornography Government Technology, 6/10/2008
Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced landmark agreements with Verizon, Time Warner Cable, and Sprint to shut down major sources of online child pornography. For the first time, three of the world's largest Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have agreed to block access to child porn from two significant sources. The companies will eliminate access to child porn Newsgroups, a major supplier of these illegal images, and will also purge their servers of child porn Web sites.[read on]
A rallying cry against cyberbullying CNET, 6/7/2008
Lawmakers and Internet executives are perking up to the growing problem of kid bully fights on the Web.
Legislators are newly arming themselves with laws that will protect kids from being repeatedly harassed via the Internet, text messages, or other electronic devices. In recent weeks, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) and Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R-Mo.) proposed a federal law that would criminalize acts of so-called cyberbullying (PDF). And Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt was scheduled Friday to sign into state law a similar measure, but the event was postponed because of inclement weather in St. Louis.
Verizon Offers Free Tools To Improve Child Safety On Internet InformationWeek, 6/3/2008
Verizon (NYSE: VZ) broadband customers will have free access to parental controls for the Internet.
Ivan Seidenberg, Verizon Communications chairman and CEO, announced plans for the free service Tuesday. He spoke during WiredSafety's Stop Cyberbullying Conference at Pace University in New York City.
The company will provide content blockers that allow parents to prevent their children from accessing certain content. It will offer application filters to keep children from using software. Finally, Verizon will empower parents to limit time spent on various Internet activities.
Mom in Cyberbullying Suicide Case Launches Foundation Wired , 5/30/2008
Tina Meier, the mother of the Missouri teen who committed suicide after being bullied online has launched a foundation to educate kids and parents about cyberbullying and work on legislation to address the growing phenomenon.[read on]
Facebook Agrees to Devise Tools to Protect Young Users The New York Times, 5/9/2008
The social network Facebook has reached an agreement with 49 state attorneys general to institute a broad set of principles intended to protect young users from online predators and inappropriate material.
The company will require users under 18 to confirm they have read Facebook's safety tips when they sign up; the site will also display a prominent "report abuse" icon devised by the New Jersey attorney general.
Cracking Down on the Cyberbully The New York Times, 3/30/2008
THE instant messages that Sonya Sackner-Bernstein received in eighth grade were mostly from friends wanting to deconstruct the day's events or make plans to hang out. But they also included something far less appealing: provocative prose meant to embarrass her.
"It was mostly boys who would make sexual comments or just type the same inappropriate word over and over and over again," Sonya, now 17, said.
The New Face of School Bullying Santa Monica Daily Press, 3/6/2008
First it was stealing lunch money and calling out playground foes for an afternoon brawl in front of the swings. Now schoolyard bullying has turned to the Web, antagonizing classmates at the click of a mouse. It's "Mean Girls" - and boys - meets the Web. [read on]
Cyberbullying A Growing Concern For Teens Need Help? The Free-Lance Star, 3/4/2008
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me."--Children's chant.
"Not true."--Andrew Bathke, assistant principal, Rodney Thompson Middle School. At a parents' workshop at Rodney Thompson Middle School last week on cyber- bullying and Internet safety, moderator Andrew Bathke, the school's assistant principal, was asked, "Why here? Why now?" "Middle school is where and when it all begins," he replied. "This is the age when kids begin to seriously socialize, when the cliques form. You and I used to just pass notes in class. Now these students have the technology to text message across the room, or practically anywhere."
How Dangerous is the Internet for Children? The New York Times, 2/28/2008
A few years ago, a parenting magazine asked me to write an article about the dangers that children face when they go online. As it turns out, I was the wrong author for the article they had in mind.
The editor was deeply disappointed by my initial draft. Its chief message was this: "Sure, there are dangers. But they're hugely overhyped by the media. The tales of pedophiles luring children out of their homes are like plane crashes: they happen extremely rarely, but when they do, they make headlines everywhere. The Internet is just another facet of socialization for the new generation; as always, common sense and a level head are the best safeguards."
My editor, however, was looking for something more sensational.
There's Nothing Funny About A Cyberbully Americas Most Wanted (amw.com), 2/27/2008
I've spoken out many times about the Internet's "dark side" - about how sick predators use online technology to hunt their victims. But sex predators aren't the only ones targeting our children online. Bullying has always been a problem for kids, but now some out-of-control youngsters do their menacing online. It's called Cyberbullying. These bullies use social networking sites, cell phone text messages, instant messages and emails to hurt or embarrass other kids. They know how to make themselves anonymous in their attacks, so the targeted kids often don't even know who's hurting them. According to the National Crime Prevention Council, 43% of teens have been victims of cyberbullying in the last year. Many of the bullies probably think it's a joke. Believe me, there's nothing funny about this. Kids have committed suicide over this kind of embarrassment.[read on]
Teenage Bullies 'Use YouTube And Facebook To Torment Their Victims', Parents Warned DailyMail.com, 2/26/2008
Popular websites such as YouTube, MySpace and Facebook have fuelled a rise in teenage bullying, MPs were told today. Children's campaigners said they were used to target victims by posting offensive messages, images and video clips. And they told MPs companies such as YouTube should be liable to prosecution for "aiding and abetting" a crime.[read on]
Danger Lurks As Youths Head On To The Internet Tri-Town News, 2/21/2008
With the click of a computer mouse, people in other parts of the state, country or the world can steal, threaten and lure people into dangerous and sometimes even fatal situations. Children and teenagers very often fall victim to online predators who trick them into a false sense of friendship and subsequently lure them into circumstances that can change their lives forever.[read on]
Cyberbullying And Predators, A Growing Threat To Kids And Teens The Star News, 2/19/2008
It's been said to create friendships, entice predators and allow bullying to follow kids from school to home without parents ever knowing.
Online social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook are a fast-growing trend worldwide, offering positive and negative consequences for users.
Feeling slightly out of the loop on modern trends is nothing new for most parents. Some simply don't understand the hype surrounding online social networking, while others just want tools to keep their kids safe on the Internet.
It's Not Just About Lunch Money Anymore Huffington Past, 2/6/2008
When I was in school bullies were the mean kids on the blacktop. The ones waiting after school to beat up on another kid that was usually no match for their size and strength. But there was at least a "safe zone" from school bullies: Home. Today, running home and shutting out the bullying happening at school isn't an option because bullies are popping up on the internet faster than ever.[read on]
States Push For Cyberbullying Control USA Today, 2/6/2008
The problem of cyberbullying gained national attention last November when the story surfaced of a 13-year-old Missouri girl who killed herself following an Internet hoax.
The death of Megan Meier, who was allegedly tormented by a neighbor on the Web, echoed another case three years earlier in Vermont. There, a 13-year-old boy committed suicide after being bullied online by peers who spread rumors that he was gay.
Those incidents - along with complaints from teenagers, parents and educators - are spurring an increasing number of state lawmakers across the USA to draft legislation giving schools more power to do something about bullying over the Internet.