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‘Being Ginger': A film for anyone addressing bullying

Being Ginger is really about being human. In a fundamentally kind, sometimes humorous, amazingly un-moralistic way, director Scott Harris shows what it both feels and looks like to be dehumanized and what healing from that looks like, even as the casual cruelty he documents continues. Sometimes he asked for it while doing his filming but […]

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Continued downward trend in bullying & other violence for US youth

This is news that we could use more of: US 2-to-17-year-olds have been exposed to decreasing sexual victimization and violence, including bullying. Examining “50 types of violence that kids might witness or experience themselves,” researchers at the University of New Hampshire and University of the South found “significant declines in kids’ exposure to 27 types […]

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Risk implications of kids going mobile: Research

Even back in 2010, the EU Kids Online researchers in 25 countries noted that “the ways through and the locations from which children go online are diversifying, and this trend is continuing.” It has indeed continued. Increasingly obvious to parents, the mobile platform enables “ubiquitous internetting,” as Dutch researchers put it way back in 2006). […]

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Anonymous apps and services are not synonymous with ominous

I’ve heard a lot of consternation about apps and sites that let users post anonymously and, indeed it is possible to use services like Whisper, Ask.FM, Secret, and Yik Yak to be annoying, mean, or downright cruel. But the same can be said for any tool that enables social interaction, whether it’s a social network, […]

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A positive, insightful new book for schools on bullying

In the preface to her new book, Positive Relations @School (& Elsewhere), author and risk-prevention educator Nancy Willard tells of a conversation with a very smart 5th grader in a dance class waiting room. She was explaining to another parent why a “rules and punishment approach” to dealing with bullying wasn’t working for schools, when […]

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Popularity: The other kind of vulnerability

A study cited in “When Popularity Backfires” at Time.com found that socially ambitious kids can be just as likely to experience bullying and harassment as “social outcasts” at school. Interested in the “hotspots” of social aggression in students’ social experiences at school, sociology professors Robert Faris at University of California Davis and Diane Felmlee at […]

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The evolution of online safety: Lessons learned over 20 years

When I wrote the original version of Child Safety on the Information Highway (click here for 20th anniversary updated version), in 1994, “online safety” was largely defined as keeping kids away from porn and predators and the solution was pretty much focused on parental controls. But, over the past two decades, there have been a lot […]

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How Yik Yak is different from other social media

Based on news reports and conversations with educators about troubles with Yik Yak, the location-based anonymous texting app, at schools in many parts of the US, three scenarios leap to mind…. Remember that kid at school (or maybe that frat house) who felt the need or the pressure to set off the fire alarm to […]

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Major study of teen online conflict in Canada, insights for all of us

Though “cyberbullying” is in the title, the just-released study from Canada’s premier digital and media literacy organization, MediaSmarts, is about far more than that. The study offers a wide range of insights from young people themselves on the full spectrum of negative behaviors that turn up in digital media, including meanness, gossip-spreading, acting out of […]

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‘Neknominate’ is a stupid and potentially deadly online dare game

The Irish Mirror calls it “sickening online drinking craze,” and that’s factually correct.  “Nekominate,” also known as neck and nominate, is a game that’s growing in popularity in Australia, the UK and parts of Europe where someone posts a video of themselves doing something stupid or dangerous and then “nominates” another person to stick his or […]

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