Concerned parent?

26 Jul
You’re a concerned parent, worried for the safety of your child on the endless plethora of ideas called the internet. He/she is young and new to this ever expanding net world. How can you as parents trust that your children are being responsible on the internet? Take these simple precautions into consideration before giving your child trust and internet access.
  1. Talk to them before giving them internet access. Warn them of the dangers of the internet. According to recent press, lack of parental supervision is a major factor in preventing cyberbullying (along with lack of maturity and technology in the first place)
  2. Watch this video with them. There are many anti-cyberbullying videos online. Enlighten your child on the dangers of the internet without making it seem completely morbid.
  3. Check in with your child’s activity. Do they have a computer with internet access in their room? If so, are they on that computer for several hours every day? Ask which websites they go on, and check over their buddy lists with them to see exactly who your child is talking to.
  4. Get their internet history. Yes, it may be invasive, I know. But as a parent, you have a right to snoop in every once and a while. What websites has he/she visited? Who has he/she been talking to during his/her time on the computer? Has he/she met personally with these people online before talking to them on the internet? Just a few questions to mull over.

Jessi Slaughter fiasco

19 Jul

(Warning: Video contains foul language, obscenities, and death threats — if you’d call them that…)

Ever heard of Jessi Slaughter?

This would be the pseudonym of an 11 year old girl, whose last name will not be revealed in this blog, who was active on the internet, posting videos and bashing others on the video website, Stickydrama. She joined several social networking sites, including Stickydrama and Tumblr. In her description page on one of the websites, she

After she posted a video containing vulgar language and petty threats, a group of anonymous participants from the website 4chan (Caution: Website full of obscenities, pornography, and downright disturbing stuff) the largest English-language imageboard on the internet, set her as a target for their next internet prank. Somehow, these “4channers” found out personal information about the tween — Her real name, phone number and address, for that matter!

Next think ms. “Slaughter” knew, she was receiving pizza deliveries, death threats, and fake police phone calls.

Why did this happen?

Sources say it was for the fun of it.

That’s right, tormenting 11 year olds to the point where they post a video of them crying with their enraged parents is supposedly fun nowadays!

The message here? Consider the consequences when you give your tween a computer with internet access and a webcam!

Identity theft of another kind

14 Jul

Recently, a 27 year old man was charged with taking the identity of a 17 year old co worker and sending “humiliating” messages through email out to her friends.

This time of crime is labeled an act of cyberbullying, and this is not the first time it’s happened. This identity assumption of sorts is frustrating, humiliating, and extremely upsetting. Friends may be confused as to who’s the real “you” behind the screen. So what’s there to do in such a situation?

Here’s what to do if it ever happens to you:

1. Don’t panic. Take time to think. Had you given away your account login information i.e. username and/or password? Do you remember not logging out of a public use computer, or did you use public wifi for personal business? These mistakes can lead to account hacking and theft. If these cases don’t match your scenario, think of people who ┬ámay have confronted or harassed you in real life. The bully may be the same person!

2. Don’t fight it. If you find a clone account of your facebook, don’t try to talk the account faker out of it. This will only fan the flames. There are cyberbullying laws in each state.Wait until legal action steps in to confront your confused peers that the phony you contacted.

3. Contact official services ASAP. Assuming the identity of others is a crime that requires legal action, first and forehand. Again, DON’T try to solve the problem alone, there’s help available to review your situation!

Cyberbullying: A Slideshow

11 Jul

Online Offense: Who’s behind it?

8 Jul

It’s obvious; the ones being bullied — cyber or in real life — are the presumptuous victims. No matter the outcome, the bullies behind it all are the bad guys.

But could the real victims be the ones carrying out the assaults?

While the reasons behind cyberbullying aren’t always determinable, in some instances the motives are quite apparent. There are studies that show preteens and teens alike sometimes do it for the fun of it, at other times the purpose is deeper. Take the Megan Meier bullying case, for example. The motive was simple: An ex-friend of Megan’s along with her mother, wanted to play a joke on her, with a side thought seeing if Megan would gossip about her. The initial “joke” turned rotten, with atrocious consequences.

In other instances, it might be turned around when it comes into the world of the internet. Those who might be bullied at school might cyber attack the meatspace bully by creating anti-name facebook groups or posing as them on websites and mutilating their reputations. In these cases, who would you consider the victim? The ones being bullied in the real life, or those being bullied throwing it back at the tormenters over a computer screen?

So who’s the real victim?

Victim’s Reactions to Cyberbullying

5 Jul

Before the world of instant messaging and text came into the picture, bullying (usually occurring at school) was more of a physical act. Kids would get in fights and come home with a black eye or some torn clothing, and it was evident that the process of parental involvement would ensue. Parents would talk to their child (the victim), go in to the school to talk to the teachers, organize a meeting with the bully and the parents and things would go from there. But what happens when there’s nothing you can physically do to stop the attacks?

At this point, you should know that a cyber bully is a much dangerous than the “classic” bully. Not only can it be impossible to tell if your child is being cyberbullied (After all, what kind of teenager would swallow their pride enough to tell their parents that they’re afraid of the kid behind the screen?), but the reactions, too. The reactions of the victims of cyberbullying have varied from some hard feelings to the devastating stories of Ryan Halligan and Megan Meier, who, in separate incidents, killed themselves after being tormented over instant messaging.

Victims of cyberbullying often feel as if there is nothing they can do to stop the torment. After all, they can’t exactly take a stand up to somebody when they’re both behind screens. They may be driven to feelings of hopelessness and frustration, or, in a suicidal’s case, the feeling of being unwanted in this world. In the case of Megan Meier, the final blow was a sentence-long message sent by a student and her mother over the myspace social networking site that pushed her over the edge. In the story of Ryan Halligan, a student used instant messaging to gradually torture Ryan by insults and rumor spreading. Thing is, victims of cyberbullying are extremely vulnerable, since there’s no way to back themselves up when it’s coming from faceless, voiceless attacks.

Next week: Cyberbullies: Whose behind it all?

Alternative Attacks

4 Jul

Many parentals, school officials and anti-bully associations see cyberbullies as potentially harmless and emotionally intact, but bored and infatuated with the internet and it’s features. With these assumptions, adults find that the way to rid of cyberbullies is to ignore the bully, tell a parent, and go on with their lives.

Wait a minute. The problem is being completely missed in this situation. Sure, parental control over computers might stop the issue of over-internet attacks, but don’t you think that maybe the issue here would be the people attacking, opposed to their actions? Surely, the idea of cyberbullying didn’t turn them from perfectly normal teens to reckless antagonizers. The reality is, these school bullies find the cyberspace to be an advantage, and it’s clear that no “trust contract” will be of help to it.

The focus should be set on these “bullies,” and why they are bringing their attacks to the internet world. Focus, opposed to avoidance, would be a more effective way of preventing this newfound problem in the first place.