If you're under 18, then yeah
, it's a very bad idea. Worse, if you're over 18 and dating someone younger than 18. Parents of teenagers who are in relationships with cellphones
are you listening?Any nude or semi-nude photos that are transmitted electronically (even just sent via cell phone) are considered in many states to be child pornography trafficking, even if the juvenile is sending a photo of himself or herself. The laws vary from state to state, but here in our home state of Maine, for example, the law is extremely harsh.According to Mobile Media Guard "U
nder Maine law anyone - regardless of age - who creates, distributes or possesses an image of a minor engaged in a sexually explicit act may be prosecuted under the State’s child pornography laws and if convicted, may serve up to 10 years in jail and be required to register as a sex offender." Most kids and adults I've spoken to at statewide presentations over the last few months know the term "sexting," but had no idea the stiff penalties associated with it. Furthermore, most adults and kids didn't realize that if they encountered a sext on a cell phone or via the Internet, they, themselves could possibly be arrested for forwarding that photo electronically in any way--even to the authorities! The fact that 36% of Americans (I'm assuming they polled adults) are admitting to engaging in what is called "consensual sexting" is frankly not a surprise. Teens engage in this form of relationship currency all the time. They're calling them "Selfies" self-shot provocative photos, an absolutely beautifully narcissistic way to capture one's youth. Thanks Rihanna! When it stops being "consensual" and begins being cyberbullying is the moment the relationship turns sour or ends. This is the kind of "what would you do" talk you should be having with your teenagers who own cell phones. For example:Parent: "What happens when Joe or Mary decides to spread your image around to all 500 of his/her Facebook friends?" Teen: "He/she would never do that!" i
When 1 in 5
sext recipients report they have passed the images along to someone else and more than half (55%) of those who have reported sending them to someone else say they shared them with more than one person--try saying that again with a straight face. What will be your response?
Frankly mine would be, "I don't want to see your life, your entire reputation, your chances for college and a future job--and most importantly, your self-esteem be absolutely destroyed for years to come over one cutesy 'show me yours and I'll show you mine' exchanged photo. Oh, and I don't want to see you go to jail and have the child pornographer label hanging around your neck for the next ten years either, honey." This Valentine's Day, just give someone a teddy bear and a dorky card, you know, the way we all used to do before cell phones and the Internet.
In Cyberslammed, Hot Topics, we discuss cyberbullying tactics that come from real-life news stories and insights on how to "identify, prevent, combat and transform them."Minnesota
-Recently a group of female high school football fans from one team got into it with fans from a rival team and is so often the case, they took their fight online.
A story in Fox9.com reports
"Officials say at least one of the bullies made a post on Facebook urging a group of girls to go kill themselves...
Investigators say the suicide posts came from a fake Facebook account, and they're still trying to track down exactly who is behind it. "
[Note: If you've followed this blog, you'll know that a "Fake Facebook account" is what we call an Imposter Profile--a website or social networking profile set up by the perpetrator to appear as if it is owned or maintained by the target.]
The story goes on to say:
"Parents should be aware that what they send is often electronically traceable," Hattstrom warned. "If it's offensive or threatening in any nature, basically, you're going to hear from the Police Department."
Kids know that the "Go kill yourself" hot button is the ultimate insult/torment these days, particularly with the rash of international and national suicides that have been linked to cyberbullying this fall. I had a kid ask me yesterday, "How do you know if you're being cyberbullied?" as in when is it a prank and when does it get real?
According to Cyberbulling Research Center
, the true definition of cyberbullying (which we use in the book) is: "willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices."
A one-time prank where someone steals your password to your social networking profile and writes some mildly teasing or obnoxious words, while unpleasant, is not really cyberbullying. It's misconduct or peer harassment. But true cyberbullying is a calculated campaign. Keep in mind the words "willful and repeated harm."
Any time some one is threatening you, telling you to go kill yourself, using extremely derogatory language, publishing your private information, defaming you, libeling you....any time words and intent cross the line into criminal behavior, that's when you know it is real. And that's when it is advisable to bring the police into the situation.
Case in point: this story
of a Veazie, ME target of criminal threats brought the police in. And in no time, they found out who the perpetrator was. Kids need to understand that just because you know how to write an anonymous comment via an anonymous account, you are never anonymous. Everyone leaves a digital footprint behind with every keystroke and the police, cyber crimes units and the FBI know exactly how to find the source of every electronic communication.
The rest of the article states:
"Police say they recognize there is a fine line between free speech and harmful threats, but they say charges are possible in this case. If students are behind the anonymous bullying, they will also face punishment from the Anoka-Hennepin School District."
Free speech does not lend itself to threats of any kind. In both the Minnesota and the Maine case, girls crossed the line, venting their frustration, their fears and their anger into something much more malevolent and lasting. And prosecutable. Unfortunately, most cyberbullying cases do not get the attention they need until they are at the highest threshold and become policeable. We need to have in-class or at-home training with our kids about cyberbullying before it's even at its lowest threshold to help them channel potential negative emotions into better outcomes. Stay posted to this blog for more real-life examples of the most common cyberbullying tactics and what Cyberslammed and other Maine resources are doing to provide school trainings.
As part of Cyberslammed
’s research, I’ve been looking into Reputation Management companies since 2007 and the one that has truly impressed me is RegainYourName.com. [Full disclosure: We approached them after Cyberslammed
was published to see if their reputation management services could somehow mesh with the “Combat” section of each tactic in the book. More on how this works below.]
From the beginning, RegainYourName.com
’s interest in protecting kids from online defamation and Sexting came through as a genuine social mission—an integral part of their core values. Imagine being a teenager whose parents have no clue, whose teachers and school administrators are no help; who daily, sees her reputation getting annihilated online and has nowhere to turn. She may get a free consult with other RM companies, but in the end, it will cost her thousands of dollars to get bad content pushed down off search engines. For that teenager? Dead end, once again.
As a UK nonprofit, recently founded in 2010, RegainYourName.com is very helpfully about the DIY philosophy, that is “do what you can yourself—first.” they offer free Twitter, Facebook and website resources along with free email advice. [For teenagers with little real life support, this is a lifeline.] Next, for around $30, they offer e-guides and videos that for example, teach how to remove and report cyberbullying content yourself off Facebook including:
- Report and delete cyberbullying, cyberstalking and privacy issues on Facebook.
- Ensure you communicate with a real person at Facebook.
- Use applicable local laws to remove content.
- Use Facebook’s ‘Terms of Service’ to make a complaint which will result in deleted content.
One of the # 1 complaints I’m starting to hear from parents when their child is being cyberbullied is that they don’t know where to start, who to go to first, and even if they take it to the police, Facebook or the schools, if their complaints are even effective! That’s why I like RegainYourName’s no-nonsense approach.
Regain Your Name was created by a reputation management consultant who had previously worked in education, and a victim of cyber stalking and harassment who knew first-hand what would and wouldn’t achieve the removal of bullying material on the Internet. Drawing on experience of e-safety in education, cyberbullying and social media marketing, they offer advice to individuals, schools and anti-bullying advocates based on our considerable experience in this field. All of their eBook and video material stems from real examples of removing grossly offensive material on the web. All of their free advice is based on strategies they’ve already seen work.
Here’s how their knowledge and expertise dovetails with what we’ve learned. Take Sexting, one of the tactics in our book, for example. While we use a social-emotional model to get to the bottom of motivation behind Sexting, RegainYourName is all about getting that potentially criminal content off the ‘Net. Fast! No wasting time going through the wrong channels when every second counts. They know how to do it and they aren’t holding this knowledge “hostage.” As they told us:
For example – we get a lot of requests for advice on removing pictures resulting from Sexting – from both teenagers and adults. Currently, using copyright infringement is the most effective way to remove these from search results and social networking – by using DMCA legislation. (Since a phone or webcam was used, the copyright is owned by the person who created the image – and not whoever has published it without permission.)
Apart from their online services, they also offer training solutions, speakers for conference events, schools and educational workshops. In a recent email exchange, it’s clear their work empowers students who fear psychological harm from cyberbullying:
I’ve used the removal guides myself with Y8 students in the UK (7th and 8th grade equivalent) with good results. Interestingly it wasn’t the fact the cyberbullying could be deleted after the event, which appealed most to them, it was the prior knowledge that the cyberbullying could be removed which proved most powerful. The ‘threat’ of cyberbullying, partly caused by a lack of knowledge and information, was at least on a psychological level in terms of the level of worry, reduced. Those pupils who admitted that they had been tempted to bully, or retaliate in a bullying manner, also revealed that they would be less likely to do so in future given the knowledge that the abuse was traceable and removable. Not a scientific study by any means – but an interesting basis for a thesis.
In the future, we hope to provide a live Facebook or webinar forum for adults and teens with expert contributors and would like to invite RegainYourName’s founders to answer live Q&A on one of our six tactics topics. Like RegainYourName, and like us, this isn’t about the almighty bottom line. Yes, we have businesses to run, but when teenagers’ lives and reputations are at stake, there is much we can do to empower adults and teens to take back control over their digital footprint.
photo: Mark Van Manen, PNG , Vancouver Sun
I'm sure every pair of eyes were on Amanda Todd's mother when she got up before a group of Metro Vancouver mothers in her first public appearance since her daughter's death.
"If my daughter didn't believe everyone at the end of that Internet was innocent she would be alive today," she said in a November 5 Vancouver Sun story As always, the point of this blog is to examine the tactics used in individual cyberbullying cases and to dissect them as a way to provide parents and educators with teachable moments for the kids in their lives. According to an article in Digital Journal, when Amanda was 12 years old, she flashed her breasts to a boy she'd met online through a webcam she was using with friends.
"Police knocked on her door early on Christmas Eve of that year to tell her the picture had been posted online. This began her slide into depression that included anxiety, substance abuse, and cutting herself."Not knowing the family personally, I can only speculate, but it sounds as if the girls were role playing
a flirty version of "Girls Gone Wild" like it was a joke, a lark.This type of Sexting happens all the time; it's what author Nancy Willard Executive Director of the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use characterizes as a way to negotiate relationship issues, not actual cyberbullying Sexting. At 12, Todd probably wouldn't have thought what kind of terrible consequences could derive from flashing a stranger. But the cyberbullying instantly started with a nasty Digital Pile On as well as morphed offline into physical bullying where Todd was actually beaten up by a group of teens.
In the Vancouver Sun article, Carol Todd told the group: "Amanda eventually came to realize the mistakes that she made from that one night when she was 12 years old," Todd told the crowd, referring to an incident in which Amanda flashed someone on the Internet. "She never thought it would come to haunt her for the rest of her life. It was a mistake - it became a life sentence and in the end, it contributed to her death."Webcams or smartphones--
the technology doesn't matter-when it comes to Sexting, there are multiple reasons to do it and the underlying conversation every mother needs to be having with her daughter before the new phone is handed over is: Can I trust you to protect yourself with this device?
Pre-play with them the various scenarios. Tell her what happened to Amanda, to thousands of girls across the country whose innocent mistakes have come back to haunt them. The Sexting conversation is essential in every household these days, more than any other topic we cover in our book.
The technology will always be available. It's up to us to prevent the behavior.
Facebook grab via RIP Erin Gallagher memorial FB page
Erin Gallagher, 13, an Irish teenager is the latest young person to be linked to a cyberbullying suicide, according to reports. A Huffington Post article states:
"According to the Irish Independent, Erin Gallagher of Ballybofey was reportedly found dead
by relatives on Saturday night. The teenager had allegedly "warned her tormentors" that she was intending to commit suicide only 24 hours before.
"U prob think it was funny when [I] f**in put a rope round my neck cause of yous [sic]," she wrote on Friday
in a post on ask.fm, a popular social networking site. Her comment had reportedly been directed at an anonymous person
who had been bullying her."
Ask.fm, the social media site Gallagher used is basically a site where your photo/profile is made public, anyone can make a comment or ask a question and you are supposed to answer it. It is an unmonitored site where anonymous aggressors can do a Digital Pile On. Kids DO NOT need to be on this site. If anything, they can have the option of a closed social group on Facebook. We know that when regular people don't have accountability online (their real identities aren't revealed along with their comments, the disinhibition effect takes over; i.e. "I don't see you face to face, therefore, I don't feel empathy for you.") If you want to see firsthand what kind of site this is, here is another "Erin Gallagher" from the United States on ask.fm, who deftly handles the rude questions thrown her way. (That said, she allows herself to be provoked over one question.) I doubt most young 13-year-olds are able to handle
these kind of provocative, disturbing and downright ugly questions. Like Rating Sites, this Ask.fm has no redeemable value for young kids. The one question I'd want to ask any young person who wants to be on this site is: "Why is public approval so important to you?" The larger issue to address is: how do you get what you need without having to go on sites like Ask.fm?
photo grab via Rappler//Frank Lopez Photography
"Internet Famous"--a new term that has sinister undertones, as well it should.
A story in Rappler
shows how quickly one can be a target of a videojacking and how it can devastate the unsuspecting target. This young man shows resilience and strength of character for having gone through it and how he chooses to use his story to help others.
MANILA, Philippines - If there's one person who could preach about using social media for social good, it's Chris Lao.
In 2011, Lao became Internet-famous for driving right into a flooded street in Quezon City. The incident was caught on camera, and the video quickly became viral: netizens were quick to brand him a rich kid with no common sense for driving into an obviously impassable street. His now-famous exclamation -- "I was not informed!" -- became the meme of the season.
But the reactions didn't stop, and soon they became more vicious and hateful: Lao became a victim of cyberbullying.
The cyberbully victim-turned-lawyer now speaks out to encourage netizens to think about the consequences of their social media footprints -- and to use them for social good.
Watch as Lao tells his story:http://www.rappler.com/video/13475-the-consequence-of-cyberbullying-by-chris-lao
The Supreme Court is about to rule on a Facebook Imposter Profile case of a Canadian teen. "The case pits the media's right to report on court proceedings against the inherent vulnerability of young girls subject to online sexualized bullying and the risk of harm if they're required to reveal their identity and republish comments, according to court documents."
Full story below:story originally from: The Montreal Gazette
Supreme Court to rule on Facebook cyberbullying case
By Natalie Stechyson September 26, 2012
OTTAWA - A teenage girl who says she was a victim of cyberbullying will find out Thursday whether she'll be able to keep her name and what was written about her on a fake Facebook profile out of the public eye.
The Supreme Court of Canada will announce in a judgment Thursday whether the Nova Scotia girl known only as A.B. can keep her name and the alleged defamatory statements said about her online under a publication ban, while she tries to sue the person or persons responsible for defamation.
It's the first time the Supreme Court has taken on the topic of cyberbullying, and a number of interveners - including a national media coalition, the privacy commissioner of Canada and Kids Help Phone - have chimed in on both sides of the case, which was heard in May.
The case pits the media's right to report on court proceedings against the inherent vulnerability of young girls subject to online sexualized bullying and the risk of harm if they're required to reveal their identity and republish comments, according to court documents.
What's at stake is the open court principle, which is what lets the public understand and scrutinize what's happening in the courts, said Marko Vesely, a Vancouver lawyer who represented the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, who also acted as interveners in the case.
"Like the old saying goes, 'sunlight is the best disinfectant'. Having the courts open to scrutiny is what gives us all confidence in the court system," Vesely said.
Anytime a court declares something defamatory, it's a restriction on freedom of speech, Vesely said. And it's concerning if that's being done without being open to the public, he added.
But a child's safety should come before any discussion of openness, said Rob Frenette, the co-executive director of BullyingCanada.
Putting A.B.'s name and the details of what was written about her out into the public will likely just further victimize her, he said. And, if she does have to reveal these things, it could scare other cyberbullying victims from getting help, Frenette said.
"As students come forward to us about being bullied we need to ensure their identity is protected, simply because they feel that if they come forward...they could become more susceptible to bullying," Frenette said.
In 2010 A.B. found that someone had made a fake Facebook profile using her image and a slightly modified version of her name, according to court documents filed last year. The profile allegedly included "scandalous sexual commentary of a private and intimate nature," the documents say.
In pursuing a defamation case, A.B. has requested that the identity of the person behind the IP address linked to the profile be released by telecommunications company Bragg Communications - a request that has not been opposed.
But she also sought an order to allow her to proceed with a pseudonym and a partial publication ban. This order has been denied by the lower courts.
A.B.'s counsel has argued that the previous courts failed to take into account the special vulnerability of children, according to court documents.
According to UNICEF Canada, who also acted as interveners, some of the risks to victims of cyberbullying can include physical and emotional health problems, depression, eating disorders, nightmares, and acts of self-harm, including suicide.
A really interesting podcast from Flipswitch
lets Kira, an Australian high schooler with bipolar condition talk about what she suffered at the hands of cyberbullies and how she actually fought back. At the 5:20 mark she recounts a situation where she was attacked on a Haters' Club made on a Facebook group,
(which she was able to get taken down) and a Rating Site on Formspring
, a social media site that allows anonymous opinions to be posted. She left Formspring's community at that point. At the 6:25 mark Kira tells teens these are several ways to fight back against cyberbullies. Her advice:1. Print out copies of every cyberbullying comment or incident before it gets deleted. This is saved evidence for the police if need be.2.
Make your Facebook privacy settings only viewable to see your name, your country and your profile picture. Don't give cyberbullies access to information that can use against you.3. Avoid social networking sites that don't protect your privacy --or--to echo another comment she made, avoid sites that only allow anonymous posters (like Formspring)
.4. Be friends with your delete button. In other words, she says, delete any person from your social networking site who ever belittles you, insults you or is mean in any way, even if you consider them friends. Real friends don't behave this way online.Interestingly, her comment on what schools are doing about bullying/cyberbullying echos a lot of what I've heard from American kids. That schools don't take it seriously; that consequences are rarely strong enough to deter a bully and that this does nothing to encourage bystanders to stand up for a target or report it.Finally, her last comment about teaching kids resilience is more important than teaching prevention has a bit of a sad ring to it. In the real world, prevention won't stop them all. In the end, you have to be your own best friend and stick up for yourself. Never believe what they say about you is true.
Here's kind of a light-hearted example of a Videojacking and you can see why it's funny. A woman does a sleep walk dance
; her son records it, puts it up on YouTube without her knowledge and then shows it to her.
The question is: if it were you, would you want the entire world to be watching this? It's gone viral on CNN. The mother looks amused about it and the son doesn't look as though he's doing this out of any malice--it's just funny to him. If she didn't want it up there, she could ask him to take it down. But once it goes viral, there is no "taking it down." It's endlessly shared online.
This is the problem with our technology trigger-finger culture. Putting up video without someone's knowledge or approval has become the common course of action, rather than the considerate choice, which would be to think first
about how exposing someone so publicly might hurt his/her reputation - or provide fodder for more online ridicule.
Ask your kids/students how they would feel if someone did this to them. Ask them if video like this could be used against them in any way? By their enemies? Ex-friends? Ex-relationships?
Any time you contribute anything to the Internet about someone else, it adds to their digital footprint. And some people do not wish to be so exposed at the expense of a joke.
Of course the perpetrator is anonymous. Why would anyone have the guts to put their name on this?A cyberbully in Washington created a Rating Website called '509 Hoes Exposed' through a Facebook page
posting pictures of girls without their permission. The purpose of a Rating Website is to denigrate someone's image online or unfavorably compare to another person's image. This perpetrator did just that, setting them up for critiques and suggesting they were promiscuous.Though police got the first Rating Site taken down, the culprit set another one up just as fast--something police are now trying to get to the bottom of by getting a subpeona to find out the culprit's IP address.Talk to your daughters about NOT posting any suggestive or sexy photos anywhere online--even privately to friends. In this Internet age-everything can be used against them.