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In Case You Missed It: Man Charged in Amanda Todd Bullycide Case

By Tim Woda on May 9, 2014 at 2:12 PM

One of the more pernicious aspects of cyberbullying is that, due to the nature of the Internet, it can cross international lines. Amanda Todd was a 15-year-old living in British Columbia who committed suicide in 2012 after being extorted online by a stranger. Before Amanda committed suicide, she left behind a heart-wrenching YouTube video describing the horrors she suffered as a result of her cyberbully. 

For many months, it was unsure if the cyberbully behind her suicide would be charged, or even identified. At one point Anonymous, an anarchist hacker group, got involved and fingered a Vancouver man as the culprit. The man turned out to be innocent and ended up accusing another man living in New York.

Now, 35-year-old Aydin Coban, who was living in Holland, has been arrested and charged with child pornography, extortion, criminal harassment and Internet luring.

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New Anti-Cyberbullying Bill: Will it Change How Bullies are Charged?

By Tim Woda on April 29, 2014 at 11:22 AM

Recently, the state of Florida is moving to extend and add some teeth to its anti-cyberbullying law. The new legislation is inspired by the suicide of a 12-year-old girl Rebecca Ann Sedwick after having been alleged to have been cyberbullies by two other girls, who remain unidentified because they are minors, in the town of Lakeland. The Florida state Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice has advanced the bill.

Currently cyberbullying is a crime in Florida, but there are no criminal penalties attached. The proposed legislation would align cyberbullying with the physical kind. It would make both cyberbullying and physical bullying a second degree misdemeanor and aggravated cyberbullying a first degree misdemeanor, subject to a jail term of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000.

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Cyberbullying More Strongly Related to Suicidal Thoughts

By Tim Woda on April 17, 2014 at 11:34 AM

Children who are bullied are twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts than children who are not bullied, and cyberbullying is more closely linked to suicidal thoughts than in-person harassment according to a new study published in JAMA pediatrics. 

Conducted by researchers in the Netherlands, the study analyzed data from 34 other studies involving almost 300,000 participants. Researchers found that students who were bullied were almost twice as likely to consider killing themselves and two and a half times more likely to actually attempt suicide. The higher risk was found among various age groups and affected both genders.

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Submit The Documentary: Education on The Reality of Cyberbullying

By Steven Woda on February 9, 2014 at 12:20 PM

“If what was going on online was happening in the real world, there would be people marching. There would be social change.” - Mary Kay Hoal, Submit The Documentary

Submit The Documentary is an honest and heartbreaking film that focuses on the raw reality of cyberbullying and the effects it has on America's youth. After watching a news story that reported on the suicide of an 11-year-old boy, director Les Ottolenghi saw the need to encourage parents and their children to stand tall and fight against this epidemic of online bullying.

Production on the film began in 2011 and focused on gathering the perspectives of experts, school administrators, children of various ages, and parents of the victims whose lives were cut short. Each interview supplies the documentary's audience with substantial insight on the truths that surround society's efforts to fight cyberbullying.

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Help End the Cyberbullying That Caused My Daughter to Take Her Life

By Steven Woda on February 1, 2014 at 4:23 PM

cyberbullyingThis article was originally published on The Huffington Post, United Kingdom and written by Gabbi Dix. 

Last week a news story sent a shiver down my spine. During the inquest into the death of 15-year-old Tallulah Wilson, her mum called for action against the "toxic digital world" that made the last months of her daughter's life hell. It's a feeling I share.

On the evening of Tuesday 17 September 2013, my 14-year-old daughter Izzy Dix took her own life. For a period of almost two years Izzy was bullied. She was tormented at school, in the local community and online. We spoke openly about this, I contacted the school on many occasions, and I was trying my best every day to help and support her through it. The worst of the online bullying took place on a website called Ask.fm.

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uKnowKids Has Released Another SlideShare! View Now!

By Steven Woda on November 18, 2013 at 11:18 AM

Check out the SlideShare on uKnowKids's newest eBook, "Bullycide: The Dark Side of Cyberbullying." This important SlideShare gives you the basics of one of the most dangerous trends in recent memory affecting our youth -- suicide linked to excessive bullying. The SlideShare gives you a condensed version of this troubling trend, but if you want the full text, download the eBook here.

This Slideshare will teach you basics about:

  • an introduction to bullycide

  • the disastrous consequences of cyberbullying

  • bullycide and the law

  • and more.

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Download uKnowKids' Newest eBook On This Dangerous New Trend

By Tim Woda on October 30, 2013 at 2:16 PM

If you have turned on the news lately than you have no doubt heard about the tragic trend known as bullycide. Bullycide is the unfortunate link between suicide and bullying, and the young teenagers' names associated with it are all too fresh in our minds.

Tragically, one thing we keep hearing over and over again is that the parent's had no idea what was happening to their children online. So these teens were dealing with merciless cyberbullying with seemingly no one to turn to. 

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Guest Interview: Tom Jacobs, Cyberbullying Prevention

By Tim Woda on October 18, 2013 at 11:26 AM

For the month of October, during National Bullying Prevention Month, we are posting interviews we conducted with some of the most influential people in the cyberbullying prevention space. The next in the series involves Tom Jacobs, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Pro Tem/Commissioner (Arizona) (1985 to 2008) and founder of askthejudge.info.

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Cyberbullying: When Parents Fail

By Steven Woda on September 20, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Check out this article and perspective from child and adolescent psychotherapist and parenting expert, Katie Hurley.

No one wants to judge another parent. Or a group of other parents, for that matter. No, the call to end judgment among parents has been loud and clear for quite some time now. You can lose days of your life reading posts and articles on this very topic, if you so choose.

All families are different. We all have our own challenges. We all face our own stressors.

True. True. And true, again.

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Girl, 12, Jumped to Death After 18 Months of Cyberbullying

By Tim Woda on September 12, 2013 at 4:40 PM

Read about this terrible story of a young tween that took her life after months of relentless cyberbullying. 

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Everything You Need to Know About Ask.fm

By Steven Woda on August 28, 2013 at 4:40 PM

Social media is a phenomenon that has swept over the youth of the world. With different ways to connect to each other, the appeal is large for these types of sites. The newest that has been on the upward trend is Ask.fm, and it has been for both positive and very negative reasons. Here are some things you need to know about the site overall and some tips on how to prevent bullying and cyberbullying through Ask.fm. 

The Site 

Ask.fm was founded in 2010 in the country of Latvia. It was created as a rival to Formspring and has a similar layout. Users create a profile in which they open themselves up for questions. Some of these questions can be fun and casual, such as “What is your favorite sports team?”

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The Connection Between Sexting and Suicide

By Steven Woda on August 8, 2013 at 3:50 PM

Here is a very interesting and shocking article in Psychology Today by Elizabeth Meyer, Ph.D about sexting and suicide.  Even though it is from 2009, most of the article still rings true, and unfortunately not much has been done to help victims of sexting cases that got out of hand and the bullying/cyberbullying that almost always follows.

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Don’t Give in to Sexting This Summer

By Steven Woda on June 17, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Our latest guest post for Internet Safety Month comes from Judge Tom Jacobs, the founder of AsktheJudge, an educational website for teenagers and the laws that affect them.  Here is his take on a big issue affecting teenagers both legally and socially today: sexting

As you know, it only takes a few seconds to pull up your shirt or drop your pants, snap a picture and send it to a love interest. Regardless of your reason for sexting, think twice before actually doing it. It’s an act that may change, or even end, your life.

Your state may have a sexting law. You may or may not know about it or what it says. If you Google the name of your state and “sexting laws” you can read about the consequences for sexting someone. The fact that your state doesn’t have such a law isn’t a green light for you to go ahead and send a sext message or photo to even your closest friend. This is the Internet we’re dealing with. Every post or image has the potential to enter cyberspace and go viral. You can’t take it back once you hit “send” no matter how many times you go back to hit delete or trash.

Consider the case of 13-year-old Hope Witsell. It started out as flirting, but quickly turned into a nightmare. Hope was in middle school when she sent a topless photo of herself by text to a boy she liked. However, it was intercepted by a girl who had borrowed the boy’s cell phone. The girl forwarded the photo to friends and it spread to several schools.

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"Bullycide" Making The Cyberbullying-Suicide Connection

By Tim Woda on August 27, 2012 at 10:35 AM

The media loves the phrase 'bullycide,' and the kids like Phoebe Prince who take their lives in the wake of cyberbullying are never far from the thoughts of parents. But are we doing our kids a disservice by stressing the link between cyberbullying and suicide. 

When I picked up my friend's 10-year-old daughter Gabby for art class last spring, I asked her how her day had gone. “Good,” she said. “A guy came to our school and told us about his son, who killed himself because he was bullied.”

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Sexting: Children Are Growing Up Too Quickly

By Steven Woda on July 27, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Children in today’s society have a lot of pressure on them and are having to grow up too quickly.  It’s unfortunate that they can’t enjoy their childhood without being pressured into doing things they normally wouldn’t do.  When I was growing up, I of course had peer pressure but a different kind than kids have today. 

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Cyberbullying: Front Page News for the Sioux City Journal

By Tim Woda on April 22, 2012 at 1:19 PM

 As reported by Yahoo! News, the The Sioux City Journal's Sunday, April 22, 2012, edition, features a full-page piece with a very clear anti-cyberbullying statement. This follows in the wake of a gay teen committed suicide after being bullied. The Sioux City Journal's calls out the community to stand up and stop bullying. Getting much attention in the past few weeks, the move "Bully" documents the story of 14-year-old Kenneth Weishuhn Jr. who committed suicide after  intense harassment, including threatening cellphone calls and nasty comments posted online, after coming out to family and friends about a month ago.

He died April 15 from what the local sheriff's office described only as a "self-inflicted injury."

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BULLY The Movie: New Documentary Zeroes in on Cyberbullying

By Tim Woda on April 4, 2012 at 4:38 PM

BullyThe recent buzz in the media is about the new movie BULLY. After failing to lower its rating from R to PG-13 the film is being released without a rating.

I have a weak stomach when it comes to watching kid-on-kid cruelty so I doubt I could make it through the film even if I wanted to see it, but BULLY is intensifying the ongoing national conversation on bullying and cyberbullying.

BULLY follows the lives of 5 kids throughout the 2009-2010 school year: 12-year old Alex, 16-year-old Kelby, 14-year-old Ja'meya, 17-year-old Tyler Long, and 11-year-old Ty Smalley. Both Tyler and Ty had committed suicide, so their stories are told by their parents.

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Sexting Linked to Depression, Psychological Distress, and Suicide

By Tim Woda on January 27, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Every parent knows that teen sexting is potentially really, really bad news. Sexting can spread around the school in minutes and humiliate the subject, or worse they can find their way online and become the common property of every pedophile with a broadband connection. But a recent research study also suggests that kids involved in sexting are twice as likely to experience psychological distress and even attempt suicide.

The Education Development Center in Newton, Massachusetts analyzed the results from a group of 23,000 high school students in the Boston area who were surveyed in 2010. The schools were situated in predominately upper-middle class white suburbs, so further research needs to be done on different demographics of teens.

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