Cyberbullying has been a major theme in headlines over the past few months. The teen suicides of Long Island’s Alexis Pilkington and Massachusetts’ Phoebe Prince, as well as the bullying of California teenager Autumn Albin, have generated legislative action from California to New Hampshire.
Here is a brief look at what four states are doing to stop bullying.
In wake of Phoebe Prince’s death, the Boston Herald reported that both the state House and Senate passed anti-bullying bills in March. According to the article, both bills seek to “curtail bullying in schools and in cyberspace.”
No kidding, that’s the name of a new website that is meant to make a statement about location-based social media: Please Rob Me. At any given moment you can see the amazing amount of people who are publicly advertising that they are not at home. Imagine the possibilities for some enterprising young thieves out there.
When I first visited the site a few days ago, there was actually a location search that allowed you to search by city to see who—in that city—was not currently home. That feature has been inexplicably removed from the site in the intervening days, perhaps out of protest that the site would ACTUALLY BE USED by criminals, instead of just being a snarky way of telling people to stop sharing so much information publicly.
A Thin Line is an MTV campaign aimed at arming teens and parents with information on the “thin line” between public and private in our digital world. The offer resources for understanding the dangers of making too much of your information private, as well as what to do with texting stalkers and digital harassment.
Their most recent and most highly-impactful tool is a documentary (done in an MTV-like style) that follows a couple of cases of teen sexting and how the teens involved experienced horrible repercussions for their actions—from extreme harassment and embarrassment to being registered as a sex offender.
I’ve posted the entire documentary below (in 4 parts, about 45 mins total). Take a look at the videos or watch them with your teen. They could prove a good starting place for an open discussion about what is and is not appropriate in cyberspace.
The TV station CBS 11 in Texas recently reported the story of how WebSafety, an Internet safety company based out of Irving, Texas, effectively fights cyberbullying.
News reporter Doug Dunbar told of two different Texas teenagers that were cyberbullied through text messages. The good news was that the parents of both families immediately received a danger alert to their emails and phones because they were signed up for WebSafety’s CellSafety services.
I know we’ve focused a lot on teen sexting lately, here on the Neighborhood Crime Map, but a recent commercial, aired during the super bowl last weekend, seemed to stir up the waters again. You know how we feel about teen sexting, but what do you think about this commercial? Do you think it could encourage young people to “sext”? Could it be potentially damaging? Or, is it just a harmless, funny commercial? Watch the video embedded below and leave your thoughts in the comments section.